The two-door Chevrolet Nomad has never been short on style. Its looks quickly won over Warren Johnson, who's long been smitten with the ultra-attractive model.
In 2003, the Inverness resident realized he had to have one parked in his garage.
"They're extremely popular vehicles and I knew from the start I was preselecting something that was very rare and desirable," he said.
A thorough search located a 1955 example in Texas, though it was far from trophy-winning condition.
"It had a good rust-free body -- solid and simple -- with no chrome on it. Underwood was an old beat up Corvette engine and the interior was from an old Cadillac. It was a hodgepodge of parts; really just a shell," Johnson said.
The lack of numbers-matching condition didn't deter Johnson, who had big plans in mind for the wagon. "As soon as I got it home, I knew I was going to customize it and replace everything."
It's no secret Chevrolet engineers under General Motor's head designer Harley Earl poured countless hours into making the Nomad one sleek hauler. Johnson's aim wasn't to waste their hard work.
"Incorporating the purity of the design was crucial. I didn't want to make any changes that would detract from the original design, which is simply flawless. I just wanted to accessorize or enhance what was already there," Johnson said.
Johnson subjected his old Nomad to three rounds of restorations. The first occurred in 2005, then 2007 and finally 2010. One of the biggest alterations was with the Nomad's stance. An air suspension setup was installed, giving the Chevy a lower travel height than stock.
What is more unique is the storage of the necessary equipment for its up and down movement. Most owners will store the suspension's air compressor, control boxes, pressure tanks and other components in the trunk area, but Johnson wanted "everything cleaned up." He opted to locate it all in the factory spare tire well, located between the rear wheels.
A custom rear suspension was fabricated by Nostalgic Autobody in Island Lake in order to have the Chevy drop close to the pavement. "Once you slam it to the ground it makes the proportions impeccable!"
Other changes to the exterior include Intro V-Rod 19-inch front and 22-inch rear wheels and Indigo Blue paint.
"The bodywork and color are usually the first things spectators comment on," Johnson said.
Power comes by way of a 383-cubic-inch V-8 mated to a 700R4 automatic transmission. Baer brakes bring the cool machine to a halt. The drivetrain combination makes long distance cruising a breeze.
"I wanted an attention getter but in a very reliable daily-driver type of car."
With this stunning final product, one would think there couldn't possibly be room for further modifications. Assume that and you'd be wrong.
"I'm an architect by trade and normally I design things from the ground up. Here, I already had a great design but the opportunity to modify it several times," Johnson said. "I'm going to take it to the next level until its perfect."