Prepare to embark on a thrilling restoration journey as we delve into the captivating world of the 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad. Born from the inspiration of a groundbreaking Corvette-based concept car, this two-door station wagon emerged as the crown jewel of the revered “Tri-Five” Chevies. While facing initial sales struggles, the Nomad has since become the most sought-after gem among collectors. Now, located in Westland, Michigan, this mesmerizing project vehicle awaits its savior, listed on craigslist for $20,500. Brace yourself for an unforgettable vintage adventure, and a heartfelt thank you to T.J. for sharing this remarkable discovery!
As part of the esteemed Bel Air series, the Nomad represented the pinnacle of Chevrolet’s wagon lineup. To minimize tooling costs, Pontiac introduced a companion model called the Safari. Despite its exceptional craftsmanship and undeniable allure, the Nomad failed to dominate the market, possibly due to Chevy’s existing range of 2-door and 4-door wagons in the Bel Air trim. Only 22,375 Nomads and a mere 9,094 Safaris graced the roads in a span of three years, making these beauties a rarity in the automotive world.
The Nomad offered by the seller is one of the exclusive 7,886 units produced in 1956. Cloaked in its original black paint, although not necessarily its factory finish, this magnificent specimen carries the scars of time. Rust has taken its toll, with the floors and rocker panels requiring extensive attention or possible replacement. The interior reflects the passage of years, presenting a challenging restoration task. Additionally, the passenger/cargo area is filled with an assortment of parts and components, leaving the completeness of the car uncertain (even the front bumper resides among the collection).
This Nomad was originally equipped with Chevy’s groundbreaking V8 engine, the 265 cubic-inch powerhouse introduced in 1955. Sadly, the engine currently sits frozen, paired with what is likely the 2-speed Powerglide automatic transmission. Undoubtedly, a significant amount of mechanical and cosmetic work lies ahead. However, the potential rewards are immense, as pristine examples of these wagons command substantial prices in the collector’s market. While the special body of the Nomad was retired after 1957, Chevrolet would revive the name in subsequent years, albeit as trim variations of typical 4-door family haulers. Prepare to resurrect the timeless allure of this iconic 1956 Bel Air Nomad and restore it to its former glory!