What is it?

  • Follow Life & style

Last week's photo showed the clean lines of the 1957 Chevrolet Nomad, a station wagon that had the look of a two-door hardtop. It featured a different roof from Chevy's other wagons and had a sloping tailgate with vertical metal strakes.

Back | Next
1957 Chevy Nomad  Special
Special
1957 Chevy Nomad

The Nomad debuted as a 1955 model and continued through 1957 with similar styling. It actually lasted for years after that, but in name only, being attached to various two- and four-door wagons that bore little resemblance to the cool sportiness of the mid-1950s models.

These responses show that a great many readers remember the car. Some readers failed to identify it as the Nomad, which was evident from the photo, and only a few guessed other years or even other makes.

Chosen randomly from the correct entries was Keith Campbell , of Aiken, who wrote:

"During the years 1955, 1956 and 1957, Chevrolet produced some of their best body style designs. The pointed side chrome insert in the picture made the car easily identifiable and set it aside from the '55 and '56 Nomads.

"Coming of age to drive in the '60s, I was always in search of a Chevy from one of these three years, but it didn't happen. With this picture in the paper and now being retired, I have had my desired to own one these ignited again. So I think that I will start my search for an unfulfilled desire."

Mr. Campbell wins a gift from The Augusta Chronicle. Other correct readers were:

AIKEN: Howard Jones; Charlie Staffa; Harold Slaven, who never owned a Nomad but does have a 1956 Chevrolet four-door wagon; and Raymond Richards, who wrote: "The greatest example of a station wagon ever made."

AUGUSTA: Carolyn Ogles; Randall Stephens; Billy Epps; Peggy Moss; Lloyd Malcom; Bob Hamrin said the Nomad "was a special trim edition of the two-door Chevy station wagon, available with 235-cubic-inch six-cylinder or a 283 V-8 ...; Powerglide (automatic transmission) was common, and power steering, brakes, and air conditioning were available but not very common. It was ignored by collector-car people until about 15 years ago, and people all of a sudden decided it was a great car and it got hot. It's worth quite a bit of money nowadays."

Gerald Byrd said, "A friend of mine in high school had a 1955 Nomad. The Nomad name was carried on all the way to 1970. ... Only the '55-57 were the nice, prettied-up cars that everyone remembers; the rest were just plain Jane wagons."

L.W. Helmly said, "The Nomad was a two-door station wag in the Bel Air series. It was a very low-production car. ... A number of clubs collect these cars. In fact, I have a fully restored one that is the color of the car top in the paper, Surf Green, with India Ivory on top. This car is nationally known and has won trophies and plaques all over the country."

Marc Wilson wrote: "With five children in the family and my mother's father being the Chevrolet dealer in Macon, we always had a Chevrolet station wagon. As I remember it, one of ours was a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad station wagon, and I believe is the model pictured in today's contest."

BEECH ISLAND: George Dunaway wrote: "It was a sporty version of the station wagon and the most pricey car in the Chevy lineup except the Corvette. There were only 6,103 of them built. There were seven engine options, but I doubt you would find one with a six-cylinder.

"The Nomad debuted as a one-off show Corvette in 1954 or 1955, but production was shifted to the Bel Air Nomad a few months later."

CANTON, GA.: David T. Anderson wrote: "Most folks refer to any two-door Chevy wagon of this era as a Nomad; however, they are wrong. Chevrolet also made two-door wagons in the 150 and 210 Bel Air series, and that is exactly what they are called. The Nomad is distinguished in appearance by its unique roof line. Only the Nomad has the ribs molded into the roof, and the pillar behind the door (the B-pillar) is slanted, resulting in the more stylish door treatment. The Nomad was introduced to the public in the heyday of the General Motors Motorama in 1954 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York."

CLARKS HILL, S.C.: Jerry Pittman

CUMMING, GA.: Chris Rhodes wrote: "The Nomad was a two-door wagon with full glass behind the doors and around the back gate. Chevrolet also produced a two-door Sedan Delivery model, which was basically a Nomad with sheet metal in place of all the aforementioned glass.

"The '57 Nomad is a highly sought collector's car, and restored models, which are occasionally seen at auctions such as Barrett-Jackson, can bring a pretty penny."

EVANS: Willie Von; Edward Fruchtl; P.J. Rodgers; Chris Sorrells; and Pete Schiffbauer called it the "highly sought-after 1957 Chevy Nomad."

Dale Tiroff wrote: "Great classic, I also believe Ford made a variation of the two-door wagon in 1955, and I can only recollect ever seeing but one of those."

Bill Harding wrote: "It started out as a dream car for the 1954 General Motors Motorama. Design and styling were based on the then-new Corvette.

"Chevrolet wanted to produce the Nomad as a version of the Corvette in order to get higher production numbers for that car, which was selling very slowly. GM's upper management overruled Chevy, knowing that the Nomad would be sold in greater numbers and at greater profits if it were based instead on the steel-bodied full-sized Bel Air rather than the Fiberglas-bodied Corvette. ...

"The 1957 Nomad was available with Chevy's 235-cubic-inch inline six as well as the 265- and 283-cubic-inch V-8s (even including the 283-horsepower fuel-injected version). Transmission choices included a three-speed manual and two automatics; Powerglide, and (with the V-8s only) Turboglide."

Glenn Frostholm wrote: "The two-tone paint colors are Larkspur Blue (top) and Harbor Blue. I guess I'm vintage, too, because I can identify the cars of my youth easier than the later models."

Wayne Wilke wrote: "I have a book entitled Cars of the '50's, which lists the price for a new '57 Nomad with a V-8 engine as $2,857. Today, some of the restored '57 Nomads are commanding $40,000 to $50,000 at classic car auctions."

Larry Heath wrote: "This is really a two-door station wagon that had a 'sport' roof line including the slanted rear glass. It also had a unique tailgate and interior slide rails on the floor for hauling.

"At the time, this design was both sporty and practical, and a modern version would be right at home in today's SUV and crossover world. Another great example of interesting and fun automobiles from a bygone era. Thanks for the memories."

GRANITEVILLE: Carrie Blackburn; Jim White ; and Bob Smith, who said: "It cost a little bit more, and the value today is a whole lot more, too."

GROVETOWN: Sandra Sheppard; Robert Martin said he had owned a 1957 Chevy sedan but never a Nomad. Jack Williams called it "a car that I've always wanted; maybe one day I'll get one." Wayne Haynes wrote: "The vehicle is a 1957 Chevy Nomad, a limited-production vehicle. Unique door design (no window frame) and lots of chrome inside as well as outside. All Nomads (only made in '55, '56 and '57) were two-door station wagons. A very sought-after collectible."

HEPHZIBAH: Leo Bennett and Martha Crump

LOUISVILLE, GA.: Rodney Raley

MCBEAN: Robert Lamb

MARTIN, S.C.: Gregory Simmons said the Nomad can be differentiated from other wagons by the body molding and big roof line, and it came with a six-cylinder or optional V-8s.

MARTINEZ: Ed Lake; Christopher March; Cheryl Cook; and Joe Bert said the "average working man would find it very difficult to afford them back then."

MIDLAND, GA.: David Thompson called the 1957 Chevrolet "one of the cars everybody wanted, especially the convertible."

NORTH AUGUSTA: Tim Davis; James Still; and Michael Futrell, who wrote: "Tim 'The Tool Man' Taylor's wife drove a '55 Nomad on (television's) Home Improvement ... only reason I was able to figure this one out."

WATKINSVILLE, GA.: Joe Arp

WRENS, GA.: Tony Wren

NO CITY LISTED: Larry Royal; Jim Williamson; Russell Fender; Al Hardy; Bob Scott; and Lowell Fritsche said: "Nomads were pretty distinctive. There's a pretty good size national Chevy Nomad group that meets all over."

John Gasko wrote: "A true classic. In 1970 I had a chance to buy one for $400, but at the time 400 bucks was more money than I knew existed all in one place, I was a sergeant in the Marine Corps and was supporting a family on E-5. If memory serves, I was getting around $250 every two weeks. I have the money now if you know someone who wants to make $400!"

THIS WEEK'S CONTEST

Thank you for all the responses to the Nomad. Now, can you tell us the make and model of the 2010 vehicle above?

Call (706) 823-3419 or send an e-mail to glynn.moore@augustachronicle.com.

We need your first and last names (please spell them clearly), telephone number, and city or community.

Pass along any comments about this vehicle. Please respond by noon Wednesday. A winner will be chosen randomly.


Top headlines

Many black colleges struggling

Although Paine has struggled with its own failures over the past several years, HBCUs across the nation are dealing with some of the same troubles that are threatening their missions and existence.
Search Augusta jobs