Hagerty.com

Why the 1955–57 Chevrolet Nomad is bucking the fading ’50s trend


#1

If the rush of recent interest in 1980s- and ’90s-era “Radwood” cars confirms anything, it’s that people pine after the cars from their youth. And the reality of the market is that there are fewer and fewer people still active in the scene that fondly remember the rockin’ cars of the 1950s from their youth. Younger buyers are into what you’d call traditional classics, but that interest doesn’t extend to much before the ’60s. But as 1950s American metal slowly dwindles in popularity, there is a bright spot, a fantastic vehicle that at least for now appears to be holding its position and at least staying flat: the 1955–57 Chevy Nomad.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/01/24/chevy-nomad-bucking-50s-trend

#2

Not a surprise given smallish production numbers, unique style and the apparent growing interest in wagons.


#3

“Nomads were cool then, and they’re cool now.” really sums it up. Some cars just have that “it” where they will always bring a smile and be desired. Perhaps the current strength gets some help from the children of these cars’ original owners being in 50’s-70’s and having the buying power to purchase the cherished daily/vacation car of their youth.


#4

I’ll share an interesting and somewhat “sad” story with you all. Way, way back when I first married my wife (1970 and still married) we use to visit her grandmother who lived in Latrobe, PA; actually lived in an original log cabin that was added on throughout the years, but I digress. To continue: even at my young age 20 I was into cars. On my first trip to Grandmas’ house there is was; a 1956 Chevrolet Nomad, just like the one in this article; Grandma bought it new and just drove it around Latrobe. I would go out look at the car, sit in the car and did take it to get some smokes, coffee and milk for grandma every once in a while. I told my wife; man if she ever gets rid of that car, I’d love to have it. Well, years went by, Grandma got old and couldn’t drive or take care of herself all alone in the log cabin; so my wives’ brother moved in; he was just out of high-school and thought he would help out for a while. He drove the car like it was a normal, everyday car; being young, new driver; well you guessed it, the car was not taken care of and eventually wrecked and salvaged. Now before you say or you are thinking…“Hey, you should have stepped in, took the Nomad and got him another car”…believe me I did, but that was Grandmas’ car and decision. I think of that Nomad all the time and this article just reminded me of it again. I’m going to look at some of our old picture albums and see if I can find a picture of that Nomad; I’m sure we have one somewhere. Take care.


#5

I see Way too many Chevrolets of the 1955 to 1957 variety at car shows.Like 1955,'56’57 Ford T-Bird’s,they are everywhere.You could actually own one for $10k 25 yrs. ago.
Then,there is the Nomad.It was called the car with,“It”,earlier here, and I agree.The Ford wagon is cool, but close,no cigar, cool.
I’m not going to run out and buy a nice Nomad after reading this article, but if YOU happen to own one,congratulations.
BK


#6

The one in the pictures is a 57 not 56.


#7

I have owned two nice 56 nomads since 2012 They are neat cars. The only complaint I have is that GM in the design could not get the tail gate to open completely flat . This makes it hard to put anything back there and you can’t put the tail gate down far or flat enough to sit on it. Now the regular tri 5 wagons this is not a problem. I think it was because of the way the tail gate angles so far forward at the top on the nomad that it don’t sit far enough away from the bumper when it come down ? Not sure ? Does any one know ?


#8

I had a ‘56 Nomad and I wish I had never sold it. Took it to a RM auction and they bought it ,made some additions to it and took it to Barrett Jackson in January and sold it there.
I still think the 56 was the classy one of the three.


#9

No mention of the safari in this article? Significantly lower numbers and much higher levels of comfort. Would have thought it would be in front of the nomad?


#10

Everyone keeps talking about how interest in the 40s and 50s-era cars is dying off (with the old-timers), and how the younger generation isn’t interested in these cars. SO! When is this gonna translate into a flooded market, and thus lower prices?? From what I’m observing, classic car prices from every era are very firm, and even plain-Jane 4-doors are asking strong money. Hell, base VW Beetles are asking 12K minimum. What gives?


#11

My first car was a 55 Chief. I like the Safari’s better also.


#12

I realize the article picture is a 57 and my story was associated with a 56; the “look a like” was more reference to the color…


#13

There is something elegant about a two door station wagon. I had a vw squareback, and it seemed to be an echo of the body styling somewhat.


#14

One, asking and then getting are two very different things. From my vantage point 50s prices are static at best for the desirable and declining for the ordinary and there is way more ordinary out there. Sixties are next up. Two, who cares what the cars are bid to at the auctions. Those auctions are for the blankety blank to be polite in public.


#15

Back in the early 70’s I was in high school and drove a 1957 T-Bird. A good friend of mine drove a 1956 Nomad. We each had an eye for each others car and helped the other work on our cars together, which was often. I said we drove these cars but in reality they stayed broken down more than running, as they were already old at the time we owned them. I was always partial to the elegant lines of my T-Bird, however as time slips away from us all, I would much rather now have the 56 Nomad. Maybe due to my age or maybe it is something about a wagon, perhaps both I find the Nomad to be more appealing now. It’s good to hear that the Nomad is holding up so well and I hope just maybe that I might own one some day soon for weekend outings to the local hamburger stand or soda shop! Good to hear from you all. I’ll be keeping in between the lines. Drive on.


#16

In 1964 I was 16 working construction. More money than possibly brains. I bought a black 57 Bel Air 2 dr HT 283 3 so OD. I had 4 speeding tickets before I was 18. 66 I joined the Navy parked the 57 and bought 66 comet 390 4 speed. Came out of Navy. Went through 57. 4 speed bored 301 solid letters 30/30 cam etc. 1972 I tried selling I wanted motor and transmission I was asking 250 for car could not even get an offer. Fast forward we’ve driven the car to hot August nights. At the time one of the guys in 55,56,57 car club said it was the cleanest unrestored 57 he had ever seen. It ended up in a garage in Chico. This past summer pulled it out while I was loading it on to my car trailer a guy came up and offered me 30,000. I could not sell it after almost 55 years. 2021 I will have owned it for 57 years


#17

Presently working on a 62 Corvair Wagon. This is one of the lowest production numbers as it was only made for 3 months.


#18

We purchased our Canyon Coral and Ivory 57 Nomad from my parents in 1988 and it’s one of my wife’s favorites of the classics we have and drive regularly. It’s full of options; Power Pack, Autronic Eye, Vacuum Ashtray, Compass, Wonder Bar, Tissue Dispenser, Power Steering/Brakes, etc… At about 2 years old, our granddaughter called it the “Big Pink Cheffy” and now she is nearly driving age and we look forward to the days when all our grandchildren can get behind the wheel. There is no better feeling than all of us piling in the Nomad and heading out for ice cream or a cruise night. We’ve given it a lot of TLC over the years and it looks/drives great. It’s amazing how many people recognize it as a Nomad and know about them. We honestly do not obsess about the value. The real value is in the family fun and that value will always go up. That same granddaughter describes herself as “Old School”. The classic cars she has enjoyed being around has quite a bit to do with that and we hope always will.


#19

i had a 56 nomad in 1989/90. sold it because it had too much rust. BIG mistake. now one is out of my reach unless i sell two of my other cars and i do not want to do that.