Classic CC Capsule: 1969 Chevelle Nomad Wagon – More Name Debasement, And Confusion

In 1955, the Nomad Wagon was the most expensive Chevrolet by a healthy margin, and marked the beginning of Chevy’s expansion into the mid-priced market. By 1968, that storied name was recycled on the lowest-trim Chevelle wagons. It’s a familiar cycle, that never seemed to end, until the name was pushed all the way off the bottom rung of the ladder.

The usual gravitational descent of former top-line models was all-too common, but Chevrolet was endlessly mucking around with its wagon nomenclature. One year, they corresponded to the cars, the next year it was Kingswood, or Yeoman, or whatever.

The Nomad stayed on as the top-line full-size Chevrolet wagon through 1961, before Chevy reverted back to the sedan-equivalent names, for a few year’s hiatus. By 1968, the wagon names were back, but now Nomad not only suddenly dropped a size, but a lot of prestige. It now denoted the lowest trim Chevelle wagons. Got to keep the GM Naming Department busy!

Having spent too much time researching this at oldcarbrochures, I’m actually more confused than ever, because the 1969 Chevelle brochure describes the Nomad as the bottom-level stripper, without any chrome trim. Our car looks like it is more of a Greenbrier level trim. Oh well.

The Interior looks less than strip-worthy either. Why am I spending time trying to figure this out?

What’s really ironic about the Nomad wagon showing up on the Chevelle line in 1968 is that in 1964 and 1965, there was a Chevelle two-door wagon with a decidedly Nomad-esque touch to it; obviously quite deliberately. And why wasn’t that called a Nomad?

Never mind; trying to unravel the deep thinking that came out of the GM Naming Department is futile. And whether this is a genuine Nomad or not, I will leave to others to unravel. I’m confused enough.