“This car was built to put your surfboard or your family in and go somewhere.” Jeff Zaccardi told me when I interviewed him about the Nomad. Jeff became a car guy in high school, his first car was a 1956 Chevrolet and he has been hooked since.
After his 1956, Jeff’s dad purchased a van to make business deliveries in and passed down his 1951 Sedan Delivery to Jeff. A Chevrolet devotion followed Jeff though most of his life, he now owns both a 1955 and a 1957 Nomad and says he is looking for the right deal to pick up a 1956 and make the set complete.
According to the “Auto Museum Online” The 1955 Chevrolet Nomad was considered a “Halo” vehicle and was created to focus attention on the brand. Many small touches It was only manufactured for 3 years as the original 2 door, 6 passenger wagon. Jeff told me he thought only about 20,000 of the 1955s were manufactured, he was very close, 25,750 to be exact. Chevrolet shared the body style with its sister company Pontiac, where it was marketed as the Pontiac Safari. Much to the dismay of General Motors, neither car brought in great sales, so manufacturing ceased in 1957 and 1958 revealed a transformed body type leaving the hardtop style design behind. Jeff feels it was a good progression for the model, but the original Nomads will always be his favorites.
Jeff’s 1955 Nomad underwent a complete overhaul. Bennyz Rod Shop did a generous amount of body work stripping the car down to the skeleton and building it back piece by piece. “This Nomad has new quarter panels, floor board, wheel wells, doors, you name it- we replaced it.” Benny says, admitting he and Jeff had no idea the damage they would reveal when they started the project. The metal work was a challenge, but the car is truly remarkable now. In the end, it has gorgeous two tone turquoise and white paint job. They ironed out the hardtop that in Jeff’s words “looked like some kids had jumped on it.”
The paint job is set off with 47 pieces of custom chrome, from Northwest Chrome in New Plymouth and lightly smoked glass. Ciadella Interiors in Tempe crafted the upholstery and recovered the bucket seats then worked with Jeff to ship everything North. Phil and Kevin Huff of Hailey did the engine work, upgrading the original 265 V-8 to a Chevy 502 and Jeff couldn’t be happier- “Well,” Jeff added, “it does only get about 8 miles to the gallon. Of course, I’d drive it if it got 3 and gas was $10 a gallon, I just love driving my cars.”
By: Krystal Swank