Member’s Feature - 1956 Chevrolet Nomad
Mac & Leanne Sayle, Member # 238
Stratford, Prince Edward Island

by Gary Porter
The Nomad is the rarest of body styles for 1956 at only 7,886 copies being produced. This particular example is owned by Mac & Leanne Sayle of Stratford, Prince Edward Island. While Mac and Leanne have only been club members since 2004, the Nomad has had a longer association with the club. Former member Alan Ross brought the mostly complete Nomad shell back to Nova Scotia from the southern U.S. in the early 1980's. It was later purchased by another former club member, Wayne McElmon.. Wayne then did a body-off-frame restoration, painting it Royal Blue and White with Chevrolet rally wheels. Some long time members may remember seeing it at one of our Classic Chevy Weekends in the mid to late 1980's.

In 1990, Mac and Leanne became the new owners of the Nomad. Mac and friends did a body on frame restoration about 6 years ago, at which time the colours were changed to Sundance Plum Pearl and Racing White. While most of the stock exterior trim was retained, Mac removed the hood bird for a slightly custom touch. The Chevrolet rally wheels were replaced with Outlaw II mags from American Racing. A P.E.I. personalized plate “SMRDAZE” completes the exterior.

The Nomad is powered by a 350 Chevy with a few mild performance mods such as a 650 cfm Holley double pumper carb, aluminum intake and Hooker headers. It has also been treated to a few chrome accessories. A Griffen cross flow radiator with electric fan keeps everything cool. Mac’s transmission of choice is the highway friendly 700R4 complete with column shift. The original 3.55 rear end still resides under the Nomad.
Inside, black leather bucket seats from a Chrysler 300 have replaced the original bench seat. A local upholstery shop redid the back seat and door panels to match. New black carpet has been installed throughout including the rear cargo area. A late 80's Pontiac tilt column topped with a late model Chevrolet steering wheel and a billet dash insert complete the interior.
Handling has been improved by the addition of power disc brakes up front. Steering has been converted to rack and pinion from a late ‘80's Celebrity. In the rear coil over shocks are employed and are connected to a custom shock crossmember rather than directly to the floor.

The Nomad has been to Ottawa, but in recent years has only seen about 500 miles per year.

Is this ‘56 a keeper? After 17 years, one may think so. However, Mac advises that he would be interested in replacing the ‘56 with a '55 Nomad. However, until that happens, like most of us Mac has a “wish list” which includes A/C and possibly fuel injection. While these things are sought after by many of us, Mac has a unique plan to convert the spare tire well to a beer cooler. That will certainly set his Nomad apart from the crowd.