Money has a way of changing people. We all hope to hit it big one day so we can buy the things we can only dream about now. When a $30-million Texas lottery winner wanted to get into the classic car scene, he located a fairly clean '57 Nomad and trucked it over to the father and son team of Mike and Jeff Cassidy of New Caney, Texas. The plan called for a complete makeover that would produce a classic that was as comfortable and reliable as a new car.
The Cassidys tore into the project as if it was their own. The Nomad was completely disassembled so that every piece could receive some needed attention. After the body was removed from the frame, the sheet metal was sent out to be acid-stripped to remove more than 40 years of paint and grime. While the body was away, the Cassidys were able to tackle the chassis. Staying true to the plan, they called up the folks at RB's Obsolete Automotive and ordered a new front frame clip that utilizes late-model GM components. The frame was sandblasted and thoroughly checked for cracks and flaws before the new clip was welded in place. For the rear a '79 Corvette rearend and suspension was located. Before it was hung in place, it was rebuilt and stuffed with a 3.73:1 Posi third member. The frame was then torn apart again, all the seams were welded and dressed, and the frame was sent out to be powdercoated.
A '91 Corvette tuned-port injected 350ci engine and 700R4 trans combo met the requirements of power, reliability, and economy and fit into the new front frame clip perfectly. An S-10 Blazer gas tank, replete with the factory-style, in-tank fuel pump, was mounted in place of the original and now safely handles the fuel storage and delivery. It was about this point that the project became more than just another job for the Cassidys; they had become attached to the Nomad. With this realization they started to negotiate with the owner and were fortunate enough to convince him to sell it to them.
The Cassidys then turned their attention to the body and worked it into shape, being careful to retain all the original character that makes the Nomad a classic. Mike left the painting to his son, Jeff, who coated the body in PPG Victory Red. All the original brightwork was rechromed and polished and reinstalled along with new glass and rubber. A set of 17x8 American Racing Torq-Thrust II's wrapped with Goodyear 255/45ZR17 tires add a modern yet classic finish to the exterior.
The interior received the same attention as the body. The original seats were retained and covered, along with the door panels, in dark and light gray tweed. A dark gray carpet protects the floor and cargo area. Dakota Digital gauges monitor the engine's vitals, and an ididit column topped with a Grant wheel keep everything pointed in the right direction. The Texas heat is battled by an Airtique A/C unit with underdash vents.
Now that the Nomad is finished, it has met its original plan and then some. Although the Cassidys may not have won the lottery, their Nomad has won several trophies for them.