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1957 Chevy Nomad - Madvette

It's What You Get When You Cross A Nomad And A Late-Model Corvette

By Barry Kluczyk

Those pros were Arnolds Auto Glass in Muskegon. But even during our photo shoot, the rear window wasn't cooperating. The tailgate window is powered with the mechanism from a late-model Blazer. It's a neat idea that fits, but the glass was "crashing" to the bottom of the tailgate. A stopper of some sort is necessary to halt the dropping glass.

As for the tilting front end, it's all steel and power operated. The motors that actuate the hood and fenders are leftover pieces from an industrial job Kowalski had years ago. Of course, the motors, which weren't designed for an automotive application, had to fit both the Corvette chassis and the Nomad "dog house." No small feat, for sure, but the finished product is a seamless integration. (Look closer and you'll notice shaved door handles, too.)

Once all the bodywork was finished, Kowalski donned his paint mask and sprayed the Nomad a pearl-purple color from Sherman Williams.

One area of the Madvette that Kowalski actually outsourced was the interior upholstery. After fitting the raised dash and seats, including driver and passenger-side airbags, he sent the car to Buckskinz Upholstery in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There, Joe Bukrey wove the black-and-purple leather seats and door panel inserts. Black tweed covers the headliner and cargo area.

When we asked Kowalski to fill out our standard tech sheet about the car, the lines for the engine and transmission and rearend were all left blank. They're all stock Corvette pieces, including the 300hp small-block. The suspension pieces are stock Corvette, the brakes are stock Corvette, the rear axle is... Well, you get the idea. The Madvette rolls on chromed ZR-1 wheels.

We first encountered Kowalski's Madvette at the soggy Martin, Michigan Super Chevy Show last June. Through the rain, the judges could clearly see the craftsmanship and attention to detail in the car, and it collected a couple of well-deserved awards. That's pretty much been the story at every car show Kowalski and his Madvette have attended.

And the only things madder than this custom Chevy are the owners of cars that have to compete in the same class as Joel Kowalski!

By Barry Kluczyk
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