After an 18-month fabrication including countless greenbacks, body panels, paint colors, and interiors, Vinny Esposito finally finished his wonderful '56 Nomad. This flawless piece of artwork exemplifies the best that a restified Tri-Five could be. Perfectly straight, not a bubble in a sight, no waves to be found, and not a trim piece out of the place, this wagon belongs in a museum next to the Mona Lisa. Usually, though, you'll find it at a Super Chevy Show.
Snuggled deep in the swimming pool-sized engine bay sits a 350 cubic inch ZZ4 crate motor direct from GM Performance Parts pumping out 355 horsepower and 418 lb-ft of torque. The dual-quad Edelbrock Air Gap intake manifold supports a set of its 500-cfm Performer carburetors, both of which sport a thick layer of chrome. The engine bay is full of dress-up of both the polished aluminum and chrome persuasion. Vinny went to Billet Specialties for the air cleaner and valve covers. The four-row aluminum radiator is from Rodware.
A chromed March Pulley system mounts the Vintage Air A/C compressor, chromed alternator, and power steering pump. Ceramic-coated Street Performance 1 7/8-inch Block Huggers headers fume the small-block through a 2 1/2-inch stainless Flowmaster exhaust system (complete with X-pipe). Backing the small-block is a Tremec six-speed manual transmission, steel driveshaft and 12-bolt Posi-traction rear with 31-spline axles, 3.73 gears.
For the entire build, Vinny went to Norman Wisner of Hanover Auto Craft in Hanover, Pennsylvania. The custom-built front suspension consists of Heidt's 2-inch spindles and A-arms, QA1 shocks, and coil-over springs. Out back Norman installed 2-inch drop springs and 2-inch lowering blocks dropping the triple-nickel a total of 4-inch both front and back.
"The amount of parts Norman had to fabricate was astonishing, but when the car was done, I could not have been happier with the work he did. He had to fabricate floors, dash pieces, suspension components, and everything in between," Vinny gloated.
Billet Specialties SL64 wheels (18-inch front, 20-inch back) wrapped in Firestone Firehawk tires (225/40R18 front, 245/40R20 back) sit cleanly in the wheelwells and encase a tire valve on the inside of the rim to conceal the rubber stem from view. Trick components such as this run throughout the body and set this Nomad atop the rest of the pack.
The interior color combination on the seats, door panels, and carpets consists of German inspiration with the tan carpets in the form of a German Square weave and the leather bench seat and door panels being covered in tan hides of that of the Porsche Cayenne sports utility vehicle. Classic Instruments tan Bel-Era gauges were installed as well as a cut-down stock steering wheel, Hurst/Lokar custom made shifter, and an original front window from 1956. Bruce Devlin of Devlin Upholstery in Sayreville, New Jersey, installed all interior components.
Hanover Auto Craft spent countless hours tackling the exterior. PPG was used for the primer, clearcoat and 1958 Condor Yellow base. The color combination, along with chrome on every edge, takes you back to 1956.
"When I saw the Nomad at Norm's shop, it looked just like I thought it would. I ran to the first event I possibly could, which was the Classic Chevy Show in Hagerstown, Maryland, and scored a 995 out of 1,000 points," Vinny says. "I was so upset that I am now in the process of fixing the one ding and giving the lighter a power source."
Conquering all the Super Chevy Shows and everything else on the east coast, Vinny plans on collecting as many Best In Show trophies as they will allow him to walk off the premises with. Of Gold Class caliber, and near 1,000-point worthy, even the Ford guys drool when he comes to town. Look for the car in the winner's circle of any car show that gets graced with the presence of this stellar '56.