November's Feature Car
1955 Nomad
Robin & Patti Collord
Valley View, Texas


I had finished up with my other projects and had an inclination toward a ‘55 or ‘56 Nomad.  A friend referred me to another friend of his who was going to sell a ‘55 Nomad he had rescued from a long time garage sit.....since 1982. The friend had a good reputation and I had heard good things about his honesty and love of Nomads.  So, I did something I swore I would never do....I bought it, sight unseen, based on those reports.  All the photos I was shown had a real nice straight, rust free car. I paid too much for it, just to be sure I got it in its "Gem" status.  Not only was I to be the second owner of this Nomad...but the original owner was the Choir Director at the big Church in Wilmington, Delaware. Probably only driven on Sundays to church service.  I had to arrange shipping from the East Coast to Texas. That was another expense I should have avoided or handled differently.  A week later I had the Nomad delivered here in North Texas and the work started right away. 

I already knew I wanted professional paint and body work. However, I knew not to get involved with a body shop of any kind which captures you and the project falls into a line of other projects.  You all know those horror stories...months and even years of delays, excuses, expenses and frustrations.  So, I split the project work...lifted the body and delivered it to a friend’s shop...who only does one car at a time.  Total dedication to that job.  I had the chassis portion work done in another place and after having recent troubles with built motors and Muncie work, I decided on a GM Performance motor, a ZZ-6 and a 700 R-4 built transmission.  I searched all the recommended places to buy a motor at the best price...and much to my surprise the best price was from Classic Chevrolet right here.  In stock and no shipping, I had my motor in a day.  The transmission was from Phoenix Transmission in Weatherford.  A perfect match as far as I am concerned and both places are right there to help with any questions or support.

The frame was completely disassembled and sandblasted, back to my place for epoxy painting and assembly.  All systems and lines were replaced and a new fuel tank installed.  I did put in a rebuilt ‘57 Nomad rear end, gearing and brakes which I had on hand.  A shock relocation cross member bar was installed.  This proved to be a major problem later when I found it interfered with the exhaust, fuel tank and driveline.  I did not have that trouble when I installed the same bar in my ‘57 Nomad....I still have not figured out that difference.  I did end up removing that relocation bar and went with the original floor mounts.

The body work process now uncovered the reality of a sight unseen, rust free, purchase.  The front fenders and headlight areas were a disaster. The quarter panels were works of art in body repair camouflage.  The body mounts and rockers were all rusted through.  All this damage was amateurishly covered up with fresh undercoating and I knew immediately this was a bad sign....and it was.  The sandblasting uncovered it all.  It also showed me the techniques of using cardboard, chicken wire and massive amounts of body filler used in the past.  All this damage was repaired expertly and correctly.

A CPP 500 series steering box, Doug’s Headers and a complete aluminum cooling system went in and a Vintage Air system adapted to the GM Performance AC compressor.  A Magna Flow exhaust system tied it together.  A CPP 11 inch disc brake kit with 2 1/2 inch drop spindles set the stance.  With American Racing wheels and Coy Spinners, I was on the ground again.  

I called Gina Ciadella and told her that I had selected a dark green PPG, 2018 Mercedes paint and wanted an interior to compliment it.  I wanted a green and leather brown but original Chevy did not have that combo, I asked if she could get me something that would work.  I wanted to stay with a design exactly like the ‘55 Nomad. She came thru BIG TIME.  I love the interior.  

The Nomad was a fully optioned one as delivered to the original owner.  I kept it that way with all the bumper guards and trim, the power windows and the power seat, and Easy Eye glass all the way around.

Within 60 days the entire chassis was ready for the newly completed body, now to put everything together.  I always make it a practice to plan ahead and have all the parts needed pre-purchased and sitting right here in the shop, so you have all your parts on hand and ready. Does not sound like much, but when you are controlling the time process it matters big time.  Three weeks later the Nomad was done and I was running up and down the roads around here, putting test miles on my Nomad!