The year 2007 marked a major milestone in the history of one of Chevrolet's most coveted cars. This was the 50th anniversary of the legendary '57 Chevrolet. To celebrate a car with elegance and style that sets it apart half a century since its debut, Super Chevy teamed up with Danchuk for a season-long competition called the Best of the Best. After each Super Chevy Show, pictures of every '57 at the event were posted to the superchevy.com website. Online voting selected that event's Best of the Best winner, with each winner vying for the overall crown following fan voting.
Spread across these next few pages are pictures of the champion, Keith Jenicek's ultra-sanitary Nomad. Keith has always loved the lines of the '57 Chevy, and his first attempt at building a shoebox worthy of the show circuit resulted in a '57 two-door hardtop that was featured in Super Chevy back in the day. Having always wanted a Nomad, Keith found this example languishing away in a field in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. "The car was basically totaled out," Keith explains about the Nomad's humble beginnings. "There really was nothing left of it. It was pretty much a frame and a body shell. The passenger-side quarter-panel was caved in, and the doorjamb was damaged. The best part of the find was that it was nearly rust free and had a good title."
The outside of the Nomad saw not only a resurrection to its former glory, but also a dismissal of some noticeable (as well as overlooked) parts and pieces. Once a new quarter-panel and rear tailgate were procured and installed, Keith proceeded to shave the door handles and locks, as well as the front fender vents, body trim emblems, and hood. The body seams were filled in, the firewall was smoothed, and the inner fenderwells were molded. Before a spot of paint was laid upon the sheetmetal, Keith performed a modification that at first glance would slip past most onlookers. Take a close look at the doors, folks. They look nice, don't they? Bet you didn't realize Keith axed the vent windows, did ya?
The car was then shot in PPG Delstar Yellow acrylic enamel and clear. Once the color was on the car, Keith removed the grille bar, relocated the front turn signals to the front bumper, custom-fabricated and hand-polished an aluminum grille made to match the original pattern, and more.
Keith then made his way inside, where the interior appointments were given a major overhaul. Chris Beauchamp of Superior Interior in Oklahoma City finished the interior in a two-tone black and yellow leather scheme. In addition to the color contrast, Keith also threw in an ididit tilt column, Billet Specialties wheel, custom-fabricated polished aluminum dash panel, handbuilt floor console, and more. Honestly, listing all the interior modifications and custom bits would take an entire year's worth of magazine issues. Suffice to say, though, Keith and his wife, Linda, ride in comfort thanks to the Southern Air HVAC unit and full-on Clarion sound system. A Dakota Digital dash stocked with a bevy of instruments keeps Keith informed as to the happenings under the customized hood.
Under the bright yellow bonnet is a Buddy Rice Racing Engines-built 383 stroker. Based around a four-bolt main block, the Mouse showcases a forged crank, forged 4340 H-beam 6-inch rods, and 8.5:1 Diamond forged pistons. Rounding out the powerplant is a Comp Cams custom-ground hydraulic roller bumpstick, ported and polished Dart 215cc aluminum heads featuring 2.05-inch intake and 1.60-inch exhaust valves, and a custom-made intake manifold.
The one-off intake is needed to accept the twin T03 turbochargers custom-built by BBS Designs that blow 10 psi of boost through a custom-built, blow-through Holley HP4150 750-cfm carb courtesy of Ty Lofstrom of TPC Racing. "I went with the turbocharger setup simply because you don't see it everyday," Keith explains of his endeavor. "There is nothing wrong with a blower, but I didn't want to have something come through the hood. I just wanted something different."
According to Keith, "Setting up the turbos took a lot of time and effort. Banks makes a twin-turbo kit for the small-block Chevy, but it wouldn't fit under the hood of the Nomad. That's why I had to fabricate it myself. From inception to completion, it took me four months to get the turbos in place, hooked up, and everything looking the way I wanted it to."
Evacuating the spent fossil fuel is a pair of custom-fabricated ceramic-coated headers that dump into dual downpipes and a custom 2 1/2-inch exhaust. Lighting the fire is a Vertex "Magneto-Style" electronic distributor and ACCEL 8mm wires. A Snow Performance water/methanol kit keeps things cool under fire, while the go-juice is supplied via an Aeromotive A1000 pump and a boost-referenced regulator. As if the 650 horsepower from the turbocharged mill wasn't enough, Keith plumbed in a Nitrous Oxide Systems plate kit worth an extra 200 hp, along with a secondary fuel system for the nitrous consisting of a Holley Blue electric pump and a two-port fuel regulator.
Backing the boosted powerplant is a 700R4 extreme duty overdrive tranny courtesy of Max Baker of American Transmissions. A B&M 2,500-stall converter lies in wait behind the B&M flywheel, while a GM 10-bolt stuffed with 3.70 gears and a Posi unit gets the power to the tarmac.
The front end is enhanced with Heidts tubular upper and lower control arms, along with a pair of QA1 adjustable shocks, Superior 2-inch drop spindles, and a 7/8-inch sway bar. Out back, Posies Super Slide reverse-eye five-leaf springs can be found along with Bilstein shocks.
The Nomad is brought to a halt quickly thanks to Wilwood four-piston forged Dynalite calipers front and rear with drilled and slotted 12.19-inch rotors. The whole shebang rolls along on Boyd Coddington Billet wheels sized 18x7 front and 20x8.5 rear. The shiny shoes are shod in Falken HR4 hoops measuring 225/40/18 fore and 255/35/20 aft.
"Winning the Best of the Best is the one single award I am most proud of," says Keith. "It's great, and to win something like that with a car that was built myself in my garage was awesome. I would do it again if I could."