Car Show Classics: Chevy Nomad Stars In A SoCal Summer Evening Local Show


When I heard that it was going to be “Station Wagon Week” here at CC, I remembered these shots of a really nice ’57 Nomad that I took last summer. No. 1 Son came back from a run one Thursday evening and told me there was a car show at Old Poway Park, so I had to go check it out. For many years there was a monthly ’50s car show in front of the Chicken Pie Diner, a local restaurant that purported to be a fifties-style diner. (How it can be a real diner in an early-’80s strip mall, next to Famous Footwear and Target, escapes me…) When the restaurant closed, apparently the show continued a few miles away at the park.

I have always liked Nomads–the perfect Route 66 car if there are more than two of you. (With two, you need a Corvette.) I think this is a great color: period correct, but not the burnt orange cliché. The owner wasn’t around to show us what’s under the hood, but it certainly looks pretty original (except for possibly the gold badging? Yuck.)


Original black-on-yellow California plates.


I really like how the fins relate to the tailgate. It would look like a much smaller car without them.


The Nomad wasn’t the only cool Chevy wagon here. This less-finny Chevy II is also begging for a place in my garage.


I can see cruising down a (then) new Interstate rather than Route 66, perhaps on my way to a waterfront campsite under tall pines. Again, I like the color, though I must admit it is certainly a cliché for this generation. For some reason I didn’t take more pictures of it.

The Chevy is about 10 years after the Nomad, while the ’47 Ford next to it is 10 years before. It’s not quite as interesting to me, but would certainly be a cool way to drive the pre-Interstate blue highways.


This one seems to be quite definitely original – no resto-mod here. It even has regular license plates – not “historical vehicle” ones. According to the sign, 100 hp V8, and an, um, entertainingly useful big back seat.

There were other seemingly original cars here too:


A nice blue ’55 Chevy.


An Edsel, hiding an even uglier flamed PT Cruiser (I never decided if the PT was there strictly as transportation or as part of the show)


And a ’30 Ford, which at first seemed out of place…


…but there were a few similar cars there after all. This being Southern California, they were hot rods, of course. I really like the aesthetic of this old Ford. Nicely subtle. Beautiful workmanship, and attractive for what it is, not for the ‘flash’.


This old Ford was decidedly flashier, but still fun to see. Variations on a theme…


Here’s another shot. I like the powder-coat headers. In the background you can see the Poway-Midland railroad station I wrote about a couple months ago.


Speaking of cliché paint jobs…I like it anyway. But a bra for a hot rod? Really?

Note the 442 behind it. This was a month or two before the unfortunate butt-lift incident.


This is nicely done, but it’s a little too close to a Coddington-style rod for my taste. Maybe it’s the color?


Maybe it’s not the color–I’m not terribly fond of this either.


I like this better, and it’s more than just the color. Its gold cousin in the background is nice too.


I’d change the wheels, but otherwise I think this ’50 or so Chevy pickup would be a fun ride to the beach (20 minutes across the 56 freeway). It seems to be a daily driver, as it has a DoD base access decal on the driver’s side windshield.


Choices: Chopped Mercury or El Camino? I like El Caminos, but this is admittedly from one of their more boring years (’63?). But I’ll take either one over the Avalanche in the background.


A nice Goat, but I am going to grump about the wheels again.


Cougars were my favorite cars when I was a pre-teen. (Well, favorite American car–what I really wanted was a Lotus Europa. I always did march to a different drummer than my peers.) These wheels are ok – there’s actually some tire!


The Cougar was joined by some cousins, one very close and the other a couple years more distant. Is the porthole is the ’50s equivalent of the Cougar’s vinyl roof?


Here’s another cousin. When I first saw it, I assumed “Shelby”. But I didn’t see any Shelby logos, and the “CS” on the “intake” seems to mean “California Special”. Was this a dealer special package?


And now we’re back to the beginning–a bit of Mustang history, with the obligatory ’65, and at the end of our walk around the show as we return to the Nomad.


Thanks for sharing a summer evening!