Looking to Restore a Chevy Bel Air or Nomad? This Guy Has a Big Stash of Them

1955 Chevrolet Tri-Five yard finds 1 photo
Photo: Mr. Goodpliers/YouTube
Built in around five million units from 1955 to 1957, the Tri-Five Chevy isn't exactly rare. However, these models have become design icons of the 1950s, and they're quite valuable nowadays, especially those that feature Bel Air and Nomad badges. These cars can fetch over $50,000 if properly restored or transformed into mint-condition restomods.
If you're looking to start on a Tri-Five Chevy project, a guy in Utica, Nebraska, has more than 50 of them, and he's looking to sell a few. According to YouTube's Mr. Goodpliers, who spends a great deal of his free time hunting classic project cars, Bill Rost has about 800 cars in total stored in barns and a big yard. They've been locked up in there for around 30 years, and Bill now wants to let the majority of them go.

About 56 of them are Tri-Five Chevrolet models, with examples from all three model years (1955 to 1957). The overwhelming majority of them is in bad shape. Not only they've been forgotten for decades to rust away, but many of them no longer have engines and front clips. However, Bill also has a wide selection of parts and pieces, and you could probably find a couple of fenders and a bumper to put together a front end.

The variety of Tri-Five models is impressive. You can pretty much get any existing version, from 150 and 210 coupes and sedans to four-door station wagons. Of course, I also spotted authentic Bel Air models and a couple of Nomads, both of which are the most valuable nameplates of the Tri-Five lineup.

It's obviously not the time and place to document all of them, but two cars are worth mentioning, especially if you're not into very expensive restorations. There's a silver 1956 hard-top at the four-minute mark that seems to be in solid condition.

It features a great interior with custom upholstery and minor rust issues. It could become a great patina car, but it can be brought back to life with a mild restoration. Assuming it still has an engine under the hood, that is.

Arguably the most valuable car shown here is the 1956 Bel Air two-door hard-top at the 20-minute mark. The two-tone, cream and red example features a mint-condition interior with plastic wraps over the seats. The exterior appears to be in good condition, too, beyond a thick layer of dust. The odometer shows 30,000 miles (48,280 km), so it's a true survivor that's been sitting for a long time.

If you're into weird builds, there a Tri-Five body cut in half that could make for a great shorty build. If you need inspiration, someone already did it.

Granted, many of these Tri-Five are in really poor condition and might not be worth saving. But some of them are rare and valuable enough to deserve a proper restoration and a new life.

If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea profile photo

Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories