GM buffs will know the name “Nomad” as Chevrolet has used the name in conjunction with models that it has massed produced in the past. However, what many don’t know is that the Nomad got its start with the Corvette as a concept car that thankfully never made it to production.
It is hard to think about a Corvette that is in the form of a station wagon, but in 1954 that is exactly what happed and many actually saw at the Motorama in New York. The 1954 Corvette Nomad concept car was designed by Harley Earl and his staff and was intended to go into full production moving forward. While the car was called a Corvette and did have many Corvette parts, it was actually built on a 1953 Chevy sedan chassis.
But from the windshield wipers forward, the Nomad was all Vette. The 1954 Corvette Nomad concept car featured:
- Silver, blue, and white paint exclusive to the concept car.
- The Corvette’s six cylinder 150 horsepower engine.
- Two speed Powerglide transmission that came from the Corvette.
- Electric powered glass on the rear windshield.
- Blue and white leather interior.
- Fold down seats.
- A ribbed headliner.
Though the car was indeed a grocery getter that was capable of seating six passengers it was only a two door so it held on to its sports status a little bit. But for whatever reason, the GM big wigs decided not to put the Corvette Nomad into production. The actual reason is not known but it is speculated that Earl had a change of heart. Others think that after the strong showing of public support for the 1953 Corvette prototype that the same was not felt with the Corvette Nomad concept car.
Recognizing that the “Nomad” design had promise, the Nomad did appear in the 1955 model year only instead of as a Corvette it appeared as the Bel Air Nomad Wagon which is the model that most associate with the Nomad name. While it did not look anything like the Corvette Nomad, it did get quite a few things from the concept car.
Just imagine how the direction of the Corvette could have changed if it were made into a station wagon back in 1954. This was also coupled with an attempt to make the Corvette a four door some years later but that didn’t pan out either.
Really when you think about it, the Corvette is meant to be just a two seater. The super sports car was never intended to be a “family car” and if it were made into such its entire integrity would be lost and the big boys at GM seemed to realize this even back in the car’s early years.
Today the Corvette tradition remains strong and the Corvette is still a two seater work of art that spits out incredible horsepower. Although the powers that be at GM are keeping many in the dark over what the next generation C7 Corvette will look like you can bet it won’t be a station wagon or a four door.