We’ve built and restored a lot of cars over the last 12 years at Classic Car Studio. Like most of you, we have some we like better than others and this 1955 Chevrolet Nomad resto-mod build we nicknamed Gone Mad is the cream of the crop.
It started as basically a shell that was sitting in the front yard of an Arizona home. The owner was the son of a man who had planned to fix it up, but unfortunately got sick and passed away.
The Nomad was in rough shape but the body was decent and, most importantly, it had all the metal trim pieces. Buying those on the aftermarket is easy, but they cost a bundle of cash.
We’re not sinners, so we dropped a Chevrolet engine under the hood. It’s an all-aluminum Shafiroff Racing-built big block Chevrolet 509 V8, which is based on the classic 409 — this one makes more than 600 horsepower running dual quads and pump gas. It gets after it when you put your foot down.
The engine is paired with a Bowler 4L80-E automatic transmission which makes for a stout setup. The 9-inch John’s Industries rear end handles the power nicely and the big 15-inch rear tires offer loads of traction.
Based on the powertrain and overall design, we think of it as an over-the-top Nomad, hence the nickname Gone Mad.
The Nomad rides on a brand-new Roadster Shop REVO chassis. Although no one ever gets to see it — the full belly pan may not have been the best call — the undercarriage is a work of art.
The inside is full of Relicate leather with a cool diamond stitching, custom door panels, Classic Instruments gauges, a rocking Kicker sound system – the works. But what people really miss out on is the wood grain headliner that just looks so awesome when you’re actually sitting in the car. It’s like sitting inside the hull of a boat.
Interestingly, the customer we built this for wanted a red-over-black paint scheme. After talking with him, we decided there’s a lot of those out there (especially Tri-Five Chevys) and went with the earthy design. The green paint, brown leather, wood and matte gold accents are different but, man, they work.
It may have taken us more than a year to finish the build, but it was worth it. The Nomad is custom but still has those ‘50s looks that we all love – but this one’s gone a little mad.