Fresh Frame-Off: 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad – Sold?

by | Jul 2021 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Wagon Wednesday

August 17, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this Nomad “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

The “Tri-Five” Chevrolets (1955-1957) remain an iconic generation of cars preferred by many enthusiasts spanning multiple generations. Among the Tri-Five design, the stylish two-door Bel Air Nomad station wagon was the rarest and most desirable of all Chevy’s offerings those three years.  We just came across this freshly frame-off restored Baby Blue 1956 Bel Air Nomad originally listed in July 2021 on Craigslist in Ashford, Connecticut. Currently offered at $59,000, comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their Nomad priced between this guide’s #2 “Excellent” estimate of $54,800 and its #1 “Concours” appraisal of $78,800.  As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #2 “Very Good” estimate of $54,800 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $74,700 before factoring in price premiums for the Power Pack V8 and factory A/C.

Sharing its roofline design nearly intact from the 1954 Motorama “dream car”, the first version of the Nomad was produced as a “sport wagon” in a two-door body. While considered a distinct model line, Chevrolet stylists trimmed the Nomad with Bel Air badging and styling elements. The Chevrolet Nomad shared its body, chassis, and roofline with the Pontiac Safari; the Safari differed primarily in its powertrain, front fascia, and interior.

Priced at $2,571, the Nomad was among the most expensive 1955 Chevrolets excluding the Corvette. Nomads received Chevroletet’s new 265 cubic-inch V8 as standard equipment. While the Nomad received Bel Air fender badging, to emphasize its roofline, it only shared the more subdued chrome trim from the front fenders and doors.

In contrast to other Chevrolet station wagons, the Nomad shared its frameless door glass front doors with the Bel Air hardtop and convertible. Interior trim was similar to Bel Air sedan and four-door Beauville station wagon.  Marketed as a sport wagon, the Nomad was the sole two-door Chevrolet wagon fitted with interior carpeting and cloth seats. In line with other Chevrolet station wagons, the Nomad received a two-piece split tailgate and a flat-folding rear seat. For the 1956 model year, Nomads continued sharing the same front fascia and side trim update as other 1956 Chevrolets, the exterior of the Nomad adopted the revised side-panel trim of the Bel Air. Bel Air Nomads now came in two-tone exterior paint schemes.  Fun fact: For 1956, Ford introduced the Ford Parklane as a direct competitor of the Nomad that despite outselling the Nomad by nearly two-to-one, Ford discontinued the model line after a single model year.

While this Nomad presents very nicely as a freshly restored example that reportedly took seventeen years to complete, the fact the original factory air conditioning “is all there” but not working will likely detract from potential buyers who are not mechanically inclined. Additionally, we’re a bit perplexed as to why the restorer did not reinstall the factory-equipped power brake system.  Otherwise, this is a gorgeous and nicely equipped example of a Tri-Five Nomad you will enjoy adding to your garage. 

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Freshly frame-off restored 1956 Chevrolet Nomad Wagon. Very desirable, low production car. 1 of 8103 produced for 1956. Highly optioned (Factory Loaded) including: Factory Air Conditioning (Not Working but all there). It has manual brakes now, but originally had power brakes (all original power brake components included). Has power steering, power seat, power windows, tinted glass, signal-seeking radio (not working), working drivers side spotlight mirror. Had a 17 year off-frame rebuild, back to original. Painted Original Nassau Blue, India Ivory outside with Harbor Blue, Nassau Blue interior. Has original blue padded dash (very rare) with no rips or tears. This is a very nice car that runs good. V8 4-barrel power pack, power glide automatic. Currently registered in CT, was last registered in 1968. $59,000 CASH only. Call 86ZERO 477 ZERO442 Ask for John.
If you have any questions, please email first.”

Do you have a Tri-Five Chevy Nomad story to share?  If so, comment below and let us know!

  1. Fresh Frame-Off: 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad – Sold?

    Looks like the restoration was started 17 years ago, sat for a long time, then hurriedly put back together to sell. Still, a nice example that doesn’t need a lot to be very nice.

    • Fresh Frame-Off: 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad – Sold?

      Bruce, an interesting perspective we had not considered!


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