Many people will tell you that the 50s were the best era for car design. Either that or not, we could argue for days and months and not come to an agreement. But what we can all agree on is that these years have spawned the most station wagons ever.
Given the historical and cultural situation, this is not surprising. The big baby boom made the family look for a bigger vehicle to accommodate all the members. The auto industry complied. Station wagons arrive to save the day with multiple rows of passenger seating and a tailgate for the cargo area. They are indeed “family cars”.
Naturally, all the major automakers at the time had station wagons to offer. As the leading brand in rebellion, Chevrolet not left behind. For the 1955 model year, the leading American brand introduced the famous Chevrolet Nomad.
Now a vintage Chevy, this car achieved great popularity and saw a long production run. Today, we take a closer look at its three main models and explore why it achieved classic car status in modern times.
The development of the Chevrolet Nomad
Chevrolet used the Nomad nameplate throughout the ’50s and into the ’70s, mostly for station wagons. However, only three years of production earned this name as a separate model. From 1955 to 1957 (aka the “Tri-Fives”), the Chevy Nomad was a beautifully designed station wagon with two doors and a slanting rear window. For the rest of its existence, the Nomad is a neat package.
But how did the Chevrolet Nomad appear? In 1954, the well-known American brand introduced the first Nomad concept car as part of the General Motors Motorama line. It was an auto show that GM organized from 1949 to 1961 to increase interest and hopefully sales with luxury concept cars. The Nomad plays its part as a unique blend featuring the Corvette’s front fascia and two-door wagon body.
When the Chevrolet Nomad received positive feedback at the event, Chevrolet decided to push it into production. Thus, the real world model appeared in 1955.
Tri-Five: Three Most Successful Years Grand Chevrolet Nomad
The first almost intact Chevrolet Nomad from the Motorama show. It had the same roofline, and although the model was different, it was in line with the Bel Air badge. Interestingly enough, the Nomad is one of the most expensive Chevrolet models. Except for the Corvette, of course.
The 1955 Chevrolet Nomad had a 265 cubic-inch V8 engine with overhead valves, high compression and a short stroke design. Despite losing the sporty Corvette front end design, the 1955 Nomad retains the distinctive roof design, rear bench seats and unique two-piece tailgate.
As you can see from the photo above, the distinctive tailgate remains on the 1956 Chevrolet Nomad as well. However, that year saw a new front end with a wider grille, new taillights, and new side trim accents. The interior also gets some updates, such as a soft dashboard.
A more distinctive facelift came in 1957 as did more power available. Engine options now range from the inline six to the new family of 283 V8s, delivering up to 283 hp with 283 fuel injected, aka “Fuelie.” It was a stylish wagon with its highlighted tail fin, prominent headlights and a new shaped grille.
So here are the three Chevrolet Nomads produced between 1955 and 1957. They were named the Tri-Five generation and will remain the Nomad’s most famous line of nameplates.
Further Uses Of Nomad Signboards And Their Current Status
Unfortunately, sales of the Nomad station wagon began to decline in 1957. Over three years, about 22,000 Nomad models were made, but only 6,000 of them left the factory in 1957. Chevrolet did not hesitate to discontinue the entire lineup, despite saving the nameplate for several years.
After its glory days as a sporty wagon, the Nomad moniker was simply used as a trim level name for the more mundane station wagon. The Nomad name lasted until 1972, but did not receive special praise from customers. As previously mentioned, the three mid-1950s we describe were golden years, and will be remembered as the best times for the Chevrolet Nomad.
If you look at the auction, you will see that the Chevrolet Nomads from 1955, 1956, and 1957 were hot collector cars. Logically, they all also come with a hefty price tag due to their high historical value. So, if you want to make the Chevrolet Nomad a part of your vintage car collection, choose these years. It will cost you a lot of money, but you will have a fun classic to be proud of.