It’s a wonder the beautiful Bel Air Nomad, the top-of-the-line sporty station wagon, didn’t sell better. Just 7,886 of them were sold during the 1956 model year which was almost half the sales of the less glamorous Beauville 4-door wagon. It was a case of practicality winning over sheer good looks. Apart from the Corvette the Nomad was the lowest seller of any Chevrolet that year despite the fact Motor Trend considered it to be one of the most attractive automobiles of the year.
Add the fact that station wagons were far less likely to survive due to their often hard-working lives, you have rare and highly desirable car before you. Let’s face it, most look like they have led a hard life in a few short years.
All Nomads from the Tri-Chevy years had seven vertical trim pieces on the tailgate – affectionately known as “bananas”. So, unlike the other models that used a large “V” on the deck lid, the Nomad used small “V” emblems below each taillight to signify a V8 equipped car – just like all Chevrolet models from 1955.
The rear of the Nomad roof had horizontal ribs running across them and the rear windows were sliders. All the body trim matched that of the other Bel Air models. This was good news because, unlike the ’55 models with their unique trim, the Nomad was now able to enjoy two-tone finishes.
The driver’s side taillight is hinged, hiding the gas filler cap.
Inside, the Nomad is just as well appointed as the other Bel Air cars with the attractive instrument panel a carry-over from the previous year. Note the attractive fan shape cluster that mirrored the driver’s side mush like the Corvette. The clock that is mounted under the Bel Air script is actually quite difficult for the driver to see.
This interior has been changed at some point to a rather striking turquoise tuck and roll.
Full-size Chevrolets came with a six cylinder 235.5 cubic inch engine as standard with a 265 “Turbo-Fire” as the V8 $99 option. However, this Nomad has now been fitted with a more modern Chevy Vortech 350 V8 that is paired with a 700R4 automatic transmission.
Priced at $2,604, the 1956 Nomad was the most expensive full-size car Chevrolet had to offer that year.
This ’56 Chevy Nomad is currently for sale on eBay. (follow the link for even more photos)