Classic Car Articles
Classic Car Project Nomad #8
Six months have flowed under the bridge since I bought the Nomad and a lot has changed. The car has now left the premises and is awaiting the paint removal process. Based on the feedback Iíve received it would appear that you agree with me that this will be a good thing. The common question is ďyouíre not going to leave it purple are you?Ē The answer is no.
In the background on most evenings I can be found glued to the computer screen beavering away researching all the bits and pieces I will need for this project. I have looked at heaps of 55 through 57 Chevyís to understand what other owners have done to their cars, what may work with mine and to try and comprehend all the options available to me in building a restomod Chevrolet. It would be a lot easier to build this back to original as there are few, if any, options to ponder over. You just reproduce what the factory did. With a restomod however there are so many available options it quickly becomes overwhelming.
The after market for most classics is alive and well and with a Chevrolet there is a plethora of options available to you should you want to enhance and update your classic so it drives like a modern car. One of the many challenges with so many bolt on goodies is to ensure they work together to produce the desired result you are looking for. It is very easy to go crazy and find you have parted with your hard earned on a range of parts that donít work well together. There is also extensive modifications to make, understanding if it will fit, how you do it, what do others recommend and what do they say to steer clear from.
Thankfully most of this information is available online. The downside is it takes an enormous amount of time in research. I am still finding websites that provide gems of information and anyone who has ever been on a forum knows there is some great stuff available but if you blink three nights have passed before you come up for air. Some websites are OK, some good and others are outstanding. The sites that fall into the latter category all have expansive tech articles on installation, tips of how this product may work with others or a full install article with images. A good example of this is the under dash area on the Nomad. I want to install after market air conditioning and intermittent electric windscreen wipers in the right hand drive converted dashboard. For reasons I will explain in a later article the dash going into the 57 is a 56. There are clearance issues for the wipers and air conditioning, let alone the heater panel, ducts and issues raised by having a different dash. The answers are out there, but you need to know where to look and get a second or third opinion.
So why am I telling you this? At this point I need to get a budget together and understand what this build will cost. You only have to walk around a number of classic car shows and talk to the owners to know that over capitalising on a build is easy, if not the norm. I remember a Holden Brougham at Motorex that the owner had invested over $150K in and thought that was crazy. Passion overcomes common sense. I speculated building a car is similar to building a house Ė whatever your initial figure is in your mind double it and add twenty five percent. That may be under baked.......
Even with the paint still on the car I knew I had a lot of stuff to get for the build. There would be even more once I could see it in its bare metal glory. With the research ongoing there have been quite a few decisions made. The original specification was classic looks, handle, stop and go like a modern car. The exterior of the car, with the exception of the wheels, will remain factory. No shaved door handles, no minimalist strategy, flared fenders or lack of chrome. I probably will need to mortgage the house to get the bright work restored but it is an integral part of a fifties car and I love chrome and alloy. The colour is yet to be decided, but it will not be an original colour. This Nomad was originally black from the factory but in keeping with the ďno matching numbersĒ theme it is probably going to end up some shade of blue. Just not sure which shade.
The original seamless Californian chassis will be retained. Everything hanging off it is gone. Up front will be a right hand drive conversion, narrowed front A arms, coil overs, anti sway bar, power rack and pinion steering, power disk brakes, dropped spindles. Sitting between the chassis rails will be a LS2 Gen IV all aluminium small block V8 mated to a six speed manual gearbox. Fly by wire accelerator, custom exhaust and extractors, smoothed firewall.
Bringing up the rear will be a four link rear end with coil overs, disk brakes and a new diff centre with a posi unit. Iíve already been heckled about getting a Ford nine inch but as I donít intend to launch it down a strip or showcase my lack of driving skill around a course I will stick with GM. Final ratio will depend upon wheel size and a gamut of other factors but I envisage it will be around a 3:50:1. I am leaning towards period wheels in a larger size which will possibly end up being seventeen inch American Racing as I need at least that to clear the disk brakes. I donít mind the 200S style, nick named Daisy, but her indoors was totally unimpressed so it needs a re think or some time to overcome that objection.
The interior is still a bit up in the air. It will come down to where the gear lever is likely to come through the floor. My gut feel, based on research and checking out lots of options suggests the stick is going to come up in the middle of the front bench seat. If this holds true, bucket seats will be deployed and an original material interior will give way to a custom interior of some description. There goes the budget again. When the paint comes off I can roll up the numbers however it looks like heading into six figures. Until next time......
Words by Mark, proprietor of Classic Car Gurus