1956 Chevy Nomad - A Perfect Fit

From Boxes to Completion, this Nomad Has it All

John Lee Oct 1, 2001 0 Comment(s)
Sucp_0110_01_z 1956_chevy_nomad Front_view 1/5

People may have individual ideas about what a classic is, i.e. timelessness, design. For Steve Edwards, both the '66 Corvette and '64 Avanti he owned qualify-so does the '56 Nomad, which he saw as "a low-production, high-cost, break-through design for Chevrolet," and he wanted to attempt a very "correct" restoration of this American classic.

Steve's opportunity came in an unusual way. The Californian from Oak Park found himself on business in Texas, where he ran across a newspaper ad for a rust-free '56 Nomad at a very reasonable price. "I didn't know it was all apart," he said. He made the call and set up an appointment to see the car. By chance, while passing through west Texas on the way to Waco he spotted The Car Connection from the interstate and stopped to check out the restoration shop. It turned out that The Car Connection had started restoring the very Nomad Steve was going to look at! They had done rust repair and panel replacement before the owner realized he was in over his head, cost-wise, and pulled the Nomad out.

That background was helpful when Steve met the owner and was shown the Nomad. What he saw was "a pile of pieces in a storage unit so crowded I couldn't tell if it was all there or not." After completing the deal, he hired the same tow truck driver who had hauled the Nomad to Waco a year earlier to haul it back to The Car Connection. Fortunately, the boxes and piles contained nearly everything to build a Nomad, although most of the parts would be exchanged for NOS or reproductions in order to make this the first-class restoration he wanted.

While the work went on in Texas, Steve did the research and chased parts from his home in California. "This was my way of being directly involved in the project and letting the shop know I had an active interest in it," said Steve. The Nomad Post (Chevrolet Nomad Assn.), Classic Chevy World (Classic Chevy International) and Hemmings Motor News were key sources of parts and assistance.

The Nomad came with an incorrect 283 engine. Steve located a 265 with the correct code numbers in Oklahoma and had it shipped to California for rebuilding at Wild Bill's in Thousand Oaks. When a correct four-barrel carb, manifold, and air cleaner were located, they were taken to Chuck Smith Performance Services in Calabasas for restoration. The liftgate was shipped to Jerry Cabunoc in Santa Ana for straightening, then back to Texas for installation

Rounding up the stainless steel trim for the cargo area was one of the hardest tasks, said Steve, explaining "It was hard to describe which pieces I needed." He finally made up a diagram of the 19 different pieces showing the ones he was missing and sent them out to people. "I finally got them all, from four different sources," he said. The C.A.R.S. reproduction interior in correct black and white was installed by The Car Connection. They completed the body work and applied the Dusk Plum and Ivory PPG paint job, polished the stainless trim, and completed the assembly. Final detailing was handled back in California by Paradise Body and Paint/Brownell's in Westlake Village.

Edwards said the Nomad has a very late production date. "The VIN is off some of the charts," he said. All the options coded on the cowl tag are on the car, and some accessories like front fender birds and complete bumper guard set were added for extra appeal.

On his way to winning Best of Show-Original at the '00 Nomad Convention, Steve said CNA members helped him by pointing out a few incorrect details, which he later corrected. All of which helped bring the Nomad to its latest triumph. "I had it judged at the CCI Western National in Albuquerque," said Steve, "and it scored 996 points!"

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