Monday, March 22, 2010

1955 Bel Air Nomad: Authentic or faux patina?

Is that patina real? Does is matter? 1955 Chevy afficionado, Paul Jones of Trussville, Alabama wanted a vintage patina look applied to his frame-off restored 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad. Jones likes ‘old stuff to look old.’ He bought this rare 1955 Bel Air Nomad out of Arizona. The car had been in storage for 15 years. It endured another 4 years in Alabama before Jones got ready ‘to do something with it.’ That something became a modern interpretation of a daily driven Bel Air Nomad. Now that’s something you don’t see everyday at WalMart. His patina perfect Nomad looks convincing enough to fool the “old school” hot rod crowd of its authenticity.
All the chrome and stainless steel pieces are almost perfect. 


‘Old’ is new
Red oxide primer peeks through the Nomad’s carefully-crafted worn paint. Faux patina is evident on the rounded edge of the bulging hood and along the top of the quarterpanels and tailgate door. These high traffic spots where hands would have rubbed in years of love and slowly erased the Sea-Mist Green paint surround the car. Call it junkyard chic. Maybe it was Gray Baskerville of ‘Hot Rod’ magazine fame and his 1932 Ford Roadster that first made primer look so fine. There was a time when battered, scarred paint was sanded down, smoothed, masked off and covered with a new coat of paint. Shudder the thought. Jones’ Nomad wears the faux worn paint as a badge of honor. A tribute to all the road warriors who eat, sleep and breathe cars.


Been there, done that 
Jones is not a late comer to the hot rod scene. He put the miles in banging gears and turning wrenches years ago. Jones built the Nomad in memory of two of his old racing buddies, Jerry “Bud” Vann and Dwight Schultz. Their likenesses adorn the mock ‘Salt Flats Garage’ sign painted on each door. Also pictured on the sign is whiskey-maker, Grandpa Jones. The rust and patina aging effects were created by artist Tommy Brock of Wild Side Paint & Airbrush of Albertville, Alabama. Street Scene Automotive in Trussville, Alabama did the heavy lifting of building Jones’ frame-off Nomad.


How rare are these?
The 1955 Bel Air Nomad with a total of at 8,386 built, had the lowest total production of any Chevrolet passenger vehicle in 1955. That is less that half of one percent of the total 1,736,723 Chevrolets built in 1955, as reported by 55classicchevy.com. Chevrolet built the two door station wagons in more plentiful and cheaper models – Two-Ten and One-Ten Handyman models.

Drives it, might sell it

Jones is not afraid to take his Nomad on the road. Road trips to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and Georgia have allowed Jones to stretch the legs of the Nomad’s high performance small-block engine. Paint chips and on-road battle scars are not noticed or frowned upon. Jones’ Bel Air Nomad draws a crowd wherever it goes. That’s not a bad thing. Considering he recently decided to sell it. But don’t let the faux rust fool you. Jones doesn’t plan to sell it for a project car price. A stack of bills totaling $61,000 will get this old Nomad into your garage.


Patina Perfect 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad specs
ZZ4 crate engine, 355-horsepower V8TH400 transmissionFord 9-inch rear end4-wheel disc brakesTubular control arms2-inch dropped spindlesBillet Specialties Vintec wheels









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