By John Gunnell
Chevy’s new-for-1957 models were in tune with their times. They had a hipper, more youthful, tail-finned look that was “radical” for America’s bread-and-butter “family” car. “’57 Chevrolet! Sweet, smooth and sassy,” said one ad. “Chevy goes ‘em all one better for ’57 with a daring new departure in design (looks longer and lower, and it is!), exclusive new Triple-Turbine Powerglide automatic drive, a new V-8 and a bumper crop of new ideas including fuel injection!” Revolutionary and sexy, the ’57 Chevy was “really built for the road” claimed one ad copywriter. Ads showed it on the road, passing the Santa Fe Railroad’s famous Super Chief and climbing a snow-covered mountain highway.
Extra rich in all ways, Bel Airs carried rocker sill, roof, window and tail fin outline moldings. Chevrolet scripts decorated the hood and trunk and gold Bel Air scripts and Chevrolet bow tie crests were on the rear fenders. Distinctive two-tone interiors were seen. The Nomad wagon with its two-door hardtop styling, ribbed roof and tailgate slats returned. It was only offered in the Bel Air line.
John and Mary Shea purchased the Nomad 23 years ago and they were definitely ahead of the curve as far as making a solid investment in a milestone collector car. They bought it right and the limited-production sport wagon has steadily gone up in value over their almost quarter century of ownership.
The Sheas bought the car from Valenti Classics, a collector car dealer in the Milwaukee, Wis., area. The car was there on consignment and was owned by a young car enthusiast who was in need of money and very anxious to sell it. They made him an offer that was fair, but under the asking price at that time. The young man had to sell the car and John and Mary came at the right time.
The car’s current odometer reading is 54,205 miles and is believed to be actual miles. The Sheas have put less than 3,000 miles on it in 23 years! John has regularly maintained the car with tune-ups, oil changes, new tires and new shock absorbers. All driving the car does is local travel and in fair weather.