1954 Corvette Nomad, Fuel Curve

1954 Corvette Nomad – Recreating a Crushed Classic

We just about stopped in our tracks when we saw this 1954 Corvette Nomad wagon last summer at Hot August Nights. This is one of very, very few Corvette Nomad recreations; there is perhaps only one other in existence today. The original prototype was built by Chevrolet for the 1954 GM Motorama and was crushed after the show, a disappointing fate that many concept cars from that era met.

1954 Corvette Nomad, Fuel Curve

But that didn’t stop Ray Camacho out of San Francisco, California from owning one for himself. And while most custom bodies, including the other Nomad we found floating around the internet, use an extensive amount of fiberglass this one is all metal. The amount of fabrication work and dedication required to pull this off is truly mind-boggling.

1954 Corvette Nomad, Fuel Curve1954 Corvette Nomad, Fuel CurveThe car was pieced together from the ground up, starting with a 1955 Nomad frame. From the firewall forward, the frame was hand-built while the rear of the chassis was modified to match late model Corvette dimensions. To make the ’54 Corvette Nomad, bodies from a ’55 Nomad and a ’54 Corvette were seamlessly blended then widened three inches.

1954 Corvette Nomad, Fuel CurveBest of all, Ray’s wagon rests on suspension from a 1995 C4 Corvette, as well as rack and pinion steering from the same car. This means disc brakes all around and independent rear suspension which is seriously an impressive feat for a wagon like this. Ray says with the resto-modded suspension the car feels and drives great, and we certainly believe him.

1954 Corvette Nomad, Fuel CurvePowered by a Ram Jet 350 Chevy with the help of an EFI setup the engine is a good match for the extra weight. It’s not insanely powerful, but plenty to haul the wagon around and cruise. Power is fed through a 700R4 overdrive auto trans and then out back to the glorious IRS setup. While it was sitting pretty at the show, we really would have loved to take it for a spin.

1954 Corvette Nomad, Fuel Curve

With the exterior shaping up how he wanted it, Ray didn’t see any sense in stopping there. The interior is beautifully crafted and very fitting for this car; while not entirely true to the original it’s all very well-done with a factory-like fit and finish. It’s a great place to be and an excellent modernization of a one-off classic.

1954 Corvette Nomad, Fuel CurveThe car also features automatic door locks, tailgate, windows, and an alarm system — a few things that weren’t in widespread use until later in the fifties, when they were considered luxury items. All of these power options can be controlled via a remote control, too.

1954 Corvette Nomad, Fuel CurveWith period-correct details like the mesh headlight covers and the chrome door trim (which at first we thought were upside-down Corvette trim pieces, but are actually one-off recreations) coupled with the immaculate interior, and the modern suspension, we really wish Chevrolet would produce this exact car.

1954 Corvette Nomad, Fuel CurveWhile the CTS-V wagon comes close, it’s just not quite the same. First of all, it’s just not as practical; Ray’s Corvette Nomad is far roomier in the seating and storage areas. And of course, the styling of these classics is something we’ll never get back. At least Ray and Santana, who brought the car all the way out from the coast, get to enjoy it on the open roads whenever they want.

1954 Corvette Nomad Photo Extra!

Trevor Ryan is a track day photographer from Northern California. He has experience in many different areas of photography but always comes back to automotive work in the end. To him, nothing is more rewarding than creating an amazing image of a car. Having purchased a ’66 Mustang almost six years ago, he had no choice but to end up immersed in car culture sooner or later. He also owns a ’99 Miata that he takes to the track. He has love for every part of car culture and besides track days often makes it to drift events, Cars and Coffee, tuner shows, and anything else he can find.