Plain but not simple, 1955 Chevy 150 business coupe resto-mod

The Pick of the Day has been modified from basic transportation to stylish showpiece

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The Chevy 150 retains the stark trim of the business/utility model

Just the other day, I had the opportunity to drive an awesomely beautiful, mostly original 1955 Chevy Nomad that belongs to a good buddy, who also has a few other drool-worthy classics. 

Like most car fans of a certain age, I consider the ’55 Nomad to be one of the great U.S. automotive designs of the 1950s, with a sporty hot rod look and an impressive amount of chrome trim, inside and out.  A great style, either factory stock like that Nomad, or tastefully transformed into a retro street rod. 

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From the opposite end of the model range that year comes the Pick of the Day, a 1955 Chevy 150 business coupe that was as stripped down as the Nomad was gussied up.  Usually sold as part of a fleet deal to governments and businesses, the 150s often found their way into the hands of traveling salesmen (very few traveling saleswomen in those days) and, eventually, hot rodders and customizers who found the clean, unadorned lines quite appealing.

“True to Chevrolet’s vision, the 150 was no-frills basic transportation,” notes the private seller in Ventura, California, advertising the car on ClassicCars.com. “It had limited options, stark trim, solid colors, plain heavy-duty upholstery and rubberized flooring.  Small things like ashtrays, cigarette lighters and even mirrors were extra cost options.”

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Chevy cars were all new and updated for 1955, with a new chassis, the launch of the small-block V8 and more expressive styling as the GM brand broke out of its image as a family economy car into something with a little more pizzazz.  But the 150 still focused on the utilitarian and economical end of the market.

This Chevy 150 looks to be a special example of resto-mod customization, which retains the look but with modernized drivetrain, steering, brakes and amenities for everyday drivability. My pal’s original Nomad looked sweet and ran great but it was something of a chore to drive, with its loose-goosey old-school steering and non-power drum brakes. 

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The seller describes the Chevy as “a true California car straight off the Chevy manufacturing plant in Van Nuys, California,” that was restored and modified in 1996, with just 4,800 miles showing on the odometer. 

While there’s a decent gallery of photos in the ad showing what modifications have been done to the car, details in the description are scant.  Potential buyers will need to ask.

Attesting to the high level of workmanship, though, the seller says the Chevy “has won many awards and has stunning style, quality, and runs and sounds incredible.”

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“It’s rare to find an original business coupe (no back seat/with platform); many are knockoffs due to their value,” the seller adds. “Most of these cars were destroyed in demolition derbies in the ‘50s & ‘60s.” 

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The asking price for this rarity in apparently great resto-mod condition is $58,000.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Well done. Price is always negotiable. If you don’t want, don’t haggle. Had a 1956 Chevy with a fancy engine with a blower. It sit up and walked if you wanted. Got my first ticket in it. Back in 1963.

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