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Falling Into Place -- Super Chevy

Is The Story Of The Blanton's '55 Nomad

Damon Lee Feb 27, 2006

What is it with those people who just seem to easily fall into everything? Whether they're at home on the La-Z-Boy, in the garage, or just out and about, it's as if all these cool, random things just fall into their laps. On the other hand, there are some people who search for years for that one thing, and still sometimes never find it. Tom and Ron Blanton are a couple of those guys who are blessed with the showering of cool things.

The Blantons have had several rad rides throughout the years; D&D Specialty Cars, based in Van Buren, Arkansas, built a couple of them. On one random visit to D&D, the Blantons happened to walk right into their next project. Sitting in the shop was blue and white flamed '55 Nomad mid-throw of being restored. Tom and Ron decided they had to have it, so they whipped out the checkbook and bought the Nomad. Next step was to let D&D turn loose on the car.

The plan for the Nomad was to go big, letting nothing stop the final outcome. At the same time, however, they wanted to create a Nomad that was truly unique. D&D started from the ground up. First order of business was to ditch the vintage suspension setup. A Kugel Komponents frontend was mated to the '55 frame. Along with the new setup came Wilwood 13-inch brakes and Air Ride Technologies ShockWave air springs. Instead of using a Ford 9-inch or a GM 10- or 12-bolt, the Blantons dug deep to find a rearend just as unique as the Nomad. What they found was a 2004 polished Winters Quick Change to set the frame off. The back half of the frame was also outfitted with ShockWave air springs. For rolling stock, Boyd Coddington Classic II 19x8- and 20x10-inch rims with Dunlop rubber were thrown on the detailed chassis.

As for a powerplant, the Blanton's wanted something just as out there as the Winter's Quick Change. Straying from the standard Chevy small-block 350, they decided to go with an oddball 348 W-block. The 348 was bored 0.60-over by Bob's Machine Shop, and then decked out with a handful of performance products, such as the Offenhauser intake manifold and Edelbrock carburetor. The final product cranked out nearly 500 hp on the dyno. For the shock-and-awe factor, Lamar Waldon valve covers, and an assortment of Street & Performance parts were thrown into the mix. Behind the 348 sits a late-model Borge Warner six-speed.

Aside from the obvious smooth and sleek House Of Kolor Kosmos Red and Black paint job, there's more going on with the body. The inner fenders, firewall, and the rest of the engine compartment were reworked. Besides having to clear out some room for the new components up front the Blanton's wanted a clean and stylish engine compartment. On the exterior of the body, the bumpers were welded up and made one-piece. Underneath, the floors were flattened and the tunnel was custom-built to make room for the six-speed. Afterward, the body was sprayed from top to bottom, side to side, and underneath, then detailed to a mirror finish.

The interior was also given the custom touch. Tom and Ron ditched the original setup and went with a one-off interior that fits in with the Nomad's overall theme. Custom seats were built for the front and back, and then wrapped in lipstick red leather. D&D did a little restyling on the dash, but what really draws attention is the custom center console, which was worked up by D&D using Classic Instrument gauges, and then covered in leather. The Nomad was carpeted in Italian red wool. A flat screen TV and other various stereo components sit in the interior of the car. Not bad for a car that just fell into place.


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