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Employee Rides: 1956 Chevy Nomad - Kurt Bonner


Like many car people, I grew up around cars and racing. My dad and uncle were drag racing locally when I was a toddler. Dad with a 1965 Impala SS and my Uncle with a 1964 Olds Holiday Coupe. They then graduated to a 1956 Chevy. When they were finished racing, dad purchased a 1955 Chevy Nomad, I believe in 1969. That car has been a member of the family ever since. My love of Tri-Fives and especially the Nomad were cemented over my youth.

Each year we would go on our annual family vacation to a new location in the U.S. These locations were picked for us by the leaders of our national clubs, first the National Nomad Club and then the Chevrolet Nomad Association. Thanks to these “clubs” I have been to almost every state in the U.S. I swam in the Atlantic Ocean at 16 and the Pacific Ocean the next year. I have been fortunate to have met and made friends with people from all over the country and around the world. So much so that our national conventions are almost like a family reunion.

My first car was my 57 Hardtop which I still have and if it could talk, I would be in a lot of trouble. But this is the story of my 56 Nomad which I purchased from Dale and Sallie Pfeifer, members of our local “family” the Midland Nomad Club. They had owned the car since 1964 and actually bought it from the dad of one of my high school classmates. After owning it for 40 years and knowing that I was looking for a good driver quality Nomad, they offered to sell me their family Nomad.

The Nomad is still basically the way I bought it from them and is really what I was looking for, a good quality driver. It has a 1974 Nova subframe with a 400 SBC and TH-400 with a later model 10 bolt rear. On top of the engine is a tune port injection from a late 80’s Z-28. All the work was done by Dale before there were really any kits. Covering the engine is the part that probably gets the most attention, the 224 holes in the hood. I cannot imagine the time and effort it took to put that many louvers in a 1956 Chevy hood.

Some of my friends have dubbed it the “Speedway Nomad” because it seems to pop up on most of the Cars and Coffee videos that have been done here at Speedway Motors. Others have asked me when I’ll finally show it as my Nomad, but until I make some major changes, it will always be Dale’s Nomad to me. I do have plans for updates and changes but no real timeline for those changes. Down the road, I plan to change the interior to something a little more modern and get a two-tone paint job on it, but for now I just enjoy driving it and being the caretaker of Dale’s Nomad.

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