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Keith Ward's 1957 Chevy Nomad
(from Volume 15, Issue 171)

Keith Ward has always been partial to Tri-Five Chevys, including 2-Door Wagons, Sedan Deliveries and Nomads. He had owned a ‘55 2-Door Wagon for many years, and it took the whole family to many car shows over the years. However, he was always keeping an eye out for a Nomad, because that is what he really wanted to build.

While Keith was redoing a ‘40 Ford Sedan he had purchased, he took a trip to the shop that had previously painted his ‘55 Chevy, and low and behold there sat the ‘57 Nomad of his dreams. Of course it was a basket case and not for sale, but Keith just had to have it. So he told his buddy that if he was ever ready to let it go, to give him a call. Several years went by, with Keith calling and stopping by harassing him about the car, always with the same results - no sale.

In 1999, out of the blue his friend called. It seemed another friend was selling a ‘33 Ford Coupe, and the owner of the ‘57 Nomad knew he could get some quick cash to buy it by selling the Nomad to Keith. They struck a deal, and soon Keith was on his way to retrieve his new project. When unloading the car off the Texas rollback trailer disaster nearly stuck, as the front straps came loose and the ‘57 nearly went through the back of his shop. Luckily his buddies Bill and Mark were there to save the day, stopping the car just short of destruction.

Keith started working on disassembling the body, drivetrain, and various other parts of the car, while at the same time collecting parts that would find their way onto his new ride. Jeff Parlow and Doug Coral were employed to do the custom metal work, including body mods and paint. A special thank you also goes out to Tracy Wood for all his help on body alignment, and Classic Chevy for their help and products. When the Nomad came out of the paint booth it was now wearing super smooth Cadillac STS Dark Carmine Red paint, which would soon be accented by a set of Billet Specialties 17-inch rims wrapped in BFG rubber.

Under the hood now resides a GM Performance Parts ZZ3 crate engine fitted with lots of polished and plated parts, with fuel coming from a custom gas tank by Ron Hess. Shifting duties are handled by a 700R4 overdrive automatic transmission, and a 9-inch Ford rear end finished out the driveline. A Myers front clip found its way onto the Nomad, though Keith told us it was a hard decision to cut and clip the rust-free California frame. ShockWave bags and struts from Air Ride Technologies were located at all four corners for an easily adjustable height, allowing the car to sit super low at the shows, yet rise up to a comfortable height for driving.

When the attention turned to the interior, Keith knew his love for listening to music dictated there was one thing he had to have - a kick butt stereo system. With quality components, lots of speakers, and some big bass enclosures in the back, he got what he wanted. As for the upholstery, he scheduled his friend Bobby Mann to do the work, as he had done for Keith’s ‘53 truck, ‘55 Chevy, and ‘40 Ford. Unfortunately Bobby passed away before starting, so his long time employee Scott said he was up for the task. He installed the ten Rosewood colored leather hides, for a complete leather interior including the headliner, which is sewn just like the original, bows included. Dakota Digital gauges now occupy the stock opening, air conditioning keeps the cabin cool, and a tasteful amount of billet accessories dress things up.

Keith wanted to be sure and give a “Thank You” to everyone who helped him make a body and a pile of parts into his “REAL MAD”, a name that is reflected on the personalized Florida license plate. Keith had always wanted a Nomad, and as many people around Florida would agree, he certainly has a great one now! CN