The automobile featured in this article is the 1955 Chevrolet Nomad Station Wagon. The Chevrolet Nomad was a Station Wagon model produced by the Chevrolet Division of General Motors. Among car enthusiasts, the Nomad model is best remembered in its two-door 1955-57 styling and was considered a Halo vehicle during its three-year production as a two-door, six passenger station wagon. A "Halo Vehicle" is considered an automobile that shouldl bring attention to the brand name.
Part of the Tri-Five From Chevy
The very popular Tri-Five Chevys, produced from 1955-1957, probably represented Chevrolet's best success after World War Two. Tri-Five refers to the 1955, 1956 and 1957 Chevrolet automobiles. The Tri-Five Chevys were availalble in several body styles and were available with the first version of Chevrolet’s famous small-block V-8. The two-door Nomad wagon was considered a sporty automobile..not something usually associated with station wagons, and was thought by some to be as sporty as the convertible. Could be considered the "coolest" station wagon.
The Chevrolet Nomad was the concept of designer Carl Renner, working under Harley Earl. This was a station wagon considered a cross between a sports car and a station wagon. The Nomad was unlike any wagon seen before. The first Nomad concept car was essentially a combination of a Corvette front and a station-wagon rear. The Chevy Nomad was probably the best of the Tri-Five Chevys.
The 1954 Motorama
The 1954 Motorama along with the 1953 event is considered by many as being the venue where the American sports car was born. This was the period where Chevrolet introduced their fiberglass body Corvette to the public.
The experimental Corvette Nomad made its debut along with the 1954 Corvette Hardtop and 1954 Corvette Corvair at the 1954 Motorama. The 1954 Chevrolet Nomad Sport Station Wagon was received so well at the 54 Motorama that Chevrolet's Harley Earl went ahead and ordered the Chevrolet Design Studio to apply the name and appearance to a 1955 Chevrolet Station Wagon. The name Nomad would become classic over the next 50 years as thousands would be restored by old car buffs that grew up in the 1950s and 1960s.
Since top GM brass felt they would sell more units if their design were attached to the popular Bel Air rather than the Corvette, their much talked about prototype was reportedly destroyed and the Bel Air Nomad we know today was born.
The Difference with the Chevrolet Nomad Station Wagon
The two-door Nomad differed from other station wagons of the era by having unique styling looking more like a hardtop than a standard station wagon. Chevrolet shared this body with its sister Pontiac, which marketed their version of this style as the Pontiac Safari.
Chevy Nomad Production
There were 25,750 1955 Chevrolet Nomads produced. Even though the Nomad was considered to be a milestone vehicle, General Motors discontinued the original Nomad at the end of the 1957 model year due to relatively low sales and the introduction of an entirely new body for 1958.
The Nomad wagon returned in 1964 and 1965 as a two-door mid-sized Chevelle station wagon, and then again between 1968 and 1972 on the base station wagon model in the series. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the name returned yet again on a trim package for the full size Chevrolet Van.
1955 Chevrolet Nomad Specifications
The 1955 Chevrolet Nomad was introduced with a 265 cubic inch overhead valve V-8 engine, The engine delivered 162 HP. Also in 1955 was 235 inline six that put out 123 and 136 HP. In 1956 the engine had a dual four-barrel option and in ’57 with a fuel-injected version.
Transmissions choices range from manual three-on-the tree to a 2-speed Powerglide with Turboglide coming out in 1957.
Brakes were four-wheel power drum.
Suspension included independent front coil springs and rear live axle with leaf springs.
Wheelbase was 115.0 inches and curb weight averaged about 3,350 lbs.
All of the bodies were made at the Chevrolet Cleveland plant and shipped to the Flint, Baltimore, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Janesville, Tarrytown, Atlanta, Kansas City, Oakland, Willow Run, and Norwood plants to be assembled.
All Tri-Five Chevrolet automobiles have the model number stamped on a stainless steel plate that is mounted on the firewall in the engine compartment. Serial Numbers were stamped on a plate on the left front door hinge pillar.
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The 1955-57 Chevrolet Nomad Collector Cars
Based on current price guides, the 1955 Chevy Nomad Station Wagon is valued on the higher end at about $55,000 to $80,000. These are top condition, restored vehicles that are not daily drivers. These appear to be the highest valued vehicles from the iconic Tri-Five era.
( Article and photos copyright 2016 Auto Museum Online )