Jeffrey K.'s 1957 Chevy Nomad
(from Volume 26, Issue 318)

photos by Michael B. Kelly


The phrase “Put it in my Nomad” is what spawned the car you see pictured here, and it all started with an engine rebuild on Jeffrey K.’s 502 cubic inch equipped 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air car. Realistic Auto Restorations in St. Petersburg, Florida started servicing the 1957 Bel Air five years ago, and concluded the 502 engine was a little tired. Initially a Ram Jet 502 engine was purchased to get the Bel Air back up and running quickly. However, after the Ram Jet was purchased, the decision was made to go ahead and rebuild the 502 engine that was already in the Bel Air, in the process increasing the horsepower and torque, without changing the fuel injection system that was in place. When the Bel Air was delivered to Jeffrey, we asked him what we should do with the Ram Jet engine and he said “Put it in my Nomad”. And so the search began for a 1957 Nomad for Jeffrey’s next build.

Once a ‘57 Nomad was acquired, the frame off restoration began, starting with the 502 Ram Jet engine and a Tremec five speed transmission being installed, along with a John’s Industries 9-inch custom rear end. Keeping that big block engine cool is an AutoRad custom core support and radiator, while a Classic Chambered Exhaust system lets the spent gasses exit through the rear bumper. The suspension was redone using a Ridetech front coil over suspension, while out back you’ll now find a Heidts 4-link. Instead of a traditional power brake booster the car utilizes a Hydratech hydraulic brake assist and Wilwood calipers. Other items on the car now include a Carr Enterprises custom fuel tank, RainGear windshield wiper system, and an American Autowire Classic Update Series wiring harness.

The Nomad body was completely stripped to bare metal and painted PPG Hot Rod Red to match Jeffrey’s Bel Air, with the Nomad wearing a set of Schott Performance 18-inch Rail wheels. The stainless moldings were repaired and polished at Realistic Auto Restorations, while all the chrome was replaced or plated at Space Coast Plating. An original style 1957 Nomad interior wraps up this amazing build, and is joined by upgrades that include Classic Instruments gauges, Wonder Bar sound system, Budnik Saturn steering wheel, an air conditioning system from Vintage Air, and smoked glass.

When the Nomad build was complete, Jeffrey liked the Nomad’s new stock interior so much that he asked Realistic Auto Restorations to change the custom Bel Air interior to match the Nomad’s. They are also adding matching Classic Instrument gauges and Budnik steering wheel to the Bel Air as well.

Jeffrey is now looking for a 1957 Corvette to add to his collection. When asked why another 1957, Jeffrey said he considers it the best production year for Chevy’s. It is also the year he was born. CN