Once all the glass and heavy body mods were completed, John towed the car to Bad Boy Customs in Idaho, which detailed the body, painting it in two-stage urethane '50 Cadillac Lake Placid Blue and '55 Chevy India Ivory. Then, finally, chrome trim from a '54 Vette was customized and added to the car to complete the body look.
As John wanted to stay true to the original with the car's exterior, he chose old-school stock steel wheels to roll on, clothed in skinny 225/70R15 whitewall tires and genuine Corvette wheel covers, which he picked up for the princely sum of one dollar many years ago. The wheels fit nice and snug into the Corvette guards due to drop spindles in the front, and re-arched leafs in the rear, all dampened by KYB shocks.
As for the powerplant, John felt he could take a little artistic license In the interests of reliability and power, he went for a late-model LS1, pulled from a '02 Camaro. The injected 5.7 has been left mostly to its own devices, and simply benefits from a new exhaust system. A custom alloy radiator, designed to barely clear the bonnet, has been fitted as the Camaro option simply was not compatible with the low-slung Vette front end.
That same donor Camaro was also relieved of its Tremec T56 six-speed gearbox, which found its way into the Nomad and pushes power out to a 10-bolt Chevy rear with 3.73 gearing via a custom driveshaft.
John took it upon himself to come up with something he felt fit the interior perfectly. Trimmed in blue material and white vinyl, the Nomad's living space is a mash-up of different bits and pieces with front seats from Toyota, rear seats from a Chevy Celebrity, a '58 Vette steering wheel, an '02 Camaro shifter-the list goes on. A set of Auto Meter gauges was also installed so John had a good, reliable eye on his engine.
Finished a over five years ago, John's Nomad tribute is a one-off that has received many accolades and trophies. Although it seems extremely doubtful that an original Corvette Nomad will ever be found, that's something we are prepared to accept if people like John keep the golden-era of American motoring alive with cars like this one.
This sport wagon does not get a lot of rest. Since its completion, John's car has clocked in excess of 153,000 miles thanks to his penchant for hot rod tours and car shows all over the States. If there was ever a better way to spend your time in retirement, we sure can't think of it.