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1955 Chevy Nomad - Hooked On Nomads

The Robertsons Are True Tri-Five Chevrolet Enthusiasts And This '55 Is Their Latest.

By Bob McClung, Photography by Bob McClung

In 1972, Mississippi's Ed and Mary Robertson purchased their first Nomad, and joined the National Nomad Club. The following year, they drove their Tri-Five to the Nomad Nationals-the Robertsons are founding members of the Chevrolet Nomad Association-held in Reno, Nevada.

"We were hooked from the start," said Ed. "Every summer since we include the Nomad Nationals in our summer vacation plans. It has enabled us, our children and our grandchildren to 'see the USA in our Chevrolet' in many ways most people never get to."

The Roberstons are true classic Chevrolet enthusiasts, and have owned numerous Tri-Fives over the years. In 2003, the couple sold their '57 Nomad while attending the Nomad Nationals in Park City, Utah. "The guy just kept upping the money to the point where it would have been stupid not to have taken it," says Ed. "It was truly a road car, and had many, many miles on it from being driven to shows all across the country, but it was ours, and we really loved it."

The Robertsons mistakenly thought that they could find a Nomad replacement and have it ready to go cruising in no time at all. "Boy, were we ever wrong. For three straight years, we drove to the Nomad Nationals without a Nomad. We kept thinking 'maybe next year.' "

In truth, Ed and Mary were about to give up, thinking that they were never going to find another Nomad that would fit in their budget. Then in August of 2006, the couple found a '55 for sale in northern Mississippi. "It was about 160 miles from home. The seller explained that he had owned the '55 for about four years, but hadn't done anything to it. He also didn't know anything about the car's history."

The Robertsons really couldn't tell whether or not the car was truly "as advertised," but it looked decent enough, and the seller was willing to deliver the car to their home. After months of cleanup and straightening things out, they had the Nomad road-ready. Their first trip was to the Lone Star XXV Nomad event in Round Rock, Texas.

But first, Ed tuned and dressed up the '72 350. He also ditched the tired old TH350 in favor of a Meridian Transmission 700R4. He replaced the old exhaust system, added new front and rear Monroe shocks and a set of anti-sway bars for improved, safer handling. This got them on the road and back on the show scene.

Powering Ed and Mary's Nomad is a four-bolt-main 350 equipped with a Duntov cam, a pair of Street & Performance tall deck valve covers, a Durashine-finish Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, Edelbrock 600 cfm Performer carburetor, B&M air cleaner, ACCEL HEI, and Rodworks thermal-coated headers. Engine cooling is handled by a Griffin polished- aluminum radiator and charging comes from a Powermaster 100 amp chrome-plated alternator.

Since then, the retired couple has made a number of other improvements. The Torch Red '55 has since been updated with Heidt's Hot Rod Shop front and rear suspension, Coys 17-inch wheels (17x7 front, 17x8 rear) wrapped with Kuhmo high-performance radial tires (P225/55 front and P255/55 rear).

Inside, this classic ride features soft tan leather upholstery with a tweed headliner and door panels, a Custom Autosound audio system, leather-wrapped Billet Specialties steering wheel, and ididit six-way-tilt steering column. There's also an Auto Meter-equipped mini console.

By Bob McClung
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