Mysterious 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad Needs More Than TLC To Shine Again

1955 Chevrolet Nomad yard find 10 photos
Photo: nomad551/eBay
1955 Chevrolet Nomad yard find1955 Chevrolet Nomad yard find1955 Chevrolet Nomad yard find1955 Chevrolet Nomad yard find1955 Chevrolet Nomad yard find1955 Chevrolet Nomad yard find1955 Chevrolet Nomad yard find1955 Chevrolet Nomad yard find1955 Chevrolet Nomad yard find
Produced from 1955 to 1957, the Chevrolet Tri-Five was a big hit. Available in three different trim levels, 150, 210, and Bel Air, the Tri-Five moved nearly five million units over three model years.
The Tri-Five is among the most desirable classic cars nowadays, but it's far from rare overall. However, certain body styles and trim combinations were produced in relatively low numbers. The 150 Utility Sedan, 150 Delivery Sedan, and the Bel Air Nomad are arguably the rarest of the bunch.

While the 150s had limited appeal due to their stripped-down and delivery-related nature, the Bel Air Nomad proposed a luxurious two-door station wagon recipe that didn't go well with mid-1950s car buyers. Chevrolet sold 22,897 examples from 1955 to 1957, and the Nomad is the scarcest Tri-Five out there.

Unfortunately, while some Nomads spend their retirement years as restored or upgraded classics, most of these two-door grocery-getters are still waiting to be rescued in barns, backyards, and junkyards. The 1955 example you see here is one of the unlucky ones. Currently parked in a backyard in Elmhurst, Illinois, this Nomad is seeking a new owner willing to dig deep into his pockets for a restoration. Because it's the only option for this wagon to return to the road.

The ad provides very little information, and the photos aren't the best, so this Nomad is a bit of a mystery. The wagon's condition isn't terrible as far as rust goes, but the vehicle is a big mess overall. The front clip has been removed, the engine and transmission are missing, and the interior is packed with parts that may or may not belong to this Nomad.

There's not a lot of paint left on the body, but it seems this vehicle was repainted at least once. The most recent coating is a dark shade of red that looks a bit like the Dark Rose hue Chevrolet offered in 1955. However, certain areas suggest this Nomad was originally painted Coral. The pink color was available as a solid finish or part of a two-tone layout combined with either Shadow Gray or India Ivory.

The seats are no longer in the car, but they still exist, and the owner says they've been recovered in green and white vinyl. Perhaps there was a plan to restore this rig in Neptune Green and Shoreline Beige? The wagon also comes with all the stainless trim (and extra pieces), a new grill, and re-chromed bumpers. He also mentions "front-end parts" and "mounts for later model engines."

One photo showing the rear end reveals this Nomad had its fenders modified to accept different taillights. The owner says they're from a 1963 Chrysler Windsor, but they're actually 1960 units. Fortunately, another rear section with the correct lights is included in the sale.

There's no info on what was originally under the hood, but 1955 Chevrolet engines aren't hard to find, regardless of whether we're talking about inline-six or V8 mills. The Nomad came standard with the 235-cubic-inch (3.9-liter) "Blue Flame" straight-six, but Chevrolet also offered a 265-cubic-inch (4.3-liter) V8. The latter delivered up to 180 horsepower.

Auctioned off at no reserve, the Nomad attracted only two bids, and pricing sits at $5,400 with three days to go. Is this poor wagon worth saving, or should its parts go to other Tri-Five projects?
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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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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.
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