1957 Chevrolet Nomad Custom - Award Winner/ Featured in Magazines

  • Price: Ask a price!
  • Condition: Used
  • Item location: Cornelius, Oregon, United States
  • Make: Chevrolet
  • Model: Nomad
  • Year: 1957
  • Mileage: 112,233
  • VIN: A57Ll170277
  • Color: Custom Blue
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Interior color: Gray
  • Vehicle Title: Clear

Chevrolet Nomad 1957 Description

This beautiful custom 1957 Chevrolet Nomad, built by Steve Contreras, a Barris and Ballion Award Winner, is for sale from the Papa’s Toys Car Collection in Cornelius, Oregon, a private family car collection. An incredible amount of work went into this custom. The Davis family has decided to downsize their private car collection and sell the Nomad.

  • Winner of the Oakland Roadster Show 1996
  • Winner of the Sacramento Autorama 1996
  • Cover of Custom Rodder Magazine 1996
  • Built by Steve Contreras, a Barris and Ballion Award Winner
  • For Sale From the Papa’s Toys Car Collection

Custom Rodder(Front Page Article)

“Cartoon Custom” by Rob Fortier and Dave Hill

July 1996, Volume 6, NO. 4

Steve Contreras’ Animated ’57 Wagon

As an automotive photojournalist (don’t worry, I wont ramble on about how “great” my job is), you get to encounter some cool cars throughout the country. One of the most interesting aspects is hearing what other people think, or how they feel about these cars. When initially subjected to Steve Contreras’ radical ’57 Chevy wagon, the first thought that came to mind was, “Geez, that must have taken one crazy imagination to come up with!” The common response from average folks looking at this amazing creation is along the same lines. I kept hearing the comment that it “looks like a cartoon car!” They’re absolutely right, it does look like a cartoonized custom rod—Steve must’ve spend untold hours watching old Warner Bros. and Hanna-Barbarra ‘toons. But that’s the great thing about it00 the wagon doesn’t look any other custom around (past, present, and probably future as well). Of course, there were a few comments from those who felt it was overdone, or that they’d have done something a bit differently, but those are the types who have never taken a torch or hacksaw to a car ‘cause they were afraid of screwing up!

It’s easy to see how Contreras pulled off such excellent craftsmanship in the building of his wagon, as he was schooled by Nor-Cal custom great Bill Reasoner, as well as putting in 20 years at a local Chevy dealership. Just look at the wagon—it’s a wonderful blend of Fifties roundess and Sixties squareness. It took quite a bit of pinching, chopping, stretching, and every other form of tweaking to get the wagon in the almost computerized form it’s in. Now, some of you may be wondering why someone would do this to a Nomad, but if you’ve been reading closely, you’ll notice that the word “Nomad” hasn’t been used once. That’s because Steve’s wagon, which he’s owned for the last 25 years, isn’t of Nomadian ethnicity, it started life as a simple wagon.

Some of the major exterior alterations performed on the ’57 include pulling the front fenders in closer together (narrowing the width) and slanting them forward, raising the upper rear quarters, or fins, up a few inches, reshaping the rear edge of the door profiles, and incorporating a ’67 Chevy wagon roof section with custom-made glass. The tailgate and rear section have been leaned forward (visually protruding the fins even further), as have the stock headlights, giving an almost Disney Character look. Even the paint has that ‘toonistic tone to it—aqua candy enamel, highlighted with a light pearl, topped off by violet candy fadeaway flames (by Marcos). The extra-large rolling stock (would you expect average-sized wheels on a car like this?) came from Budnick, while the skinny O-ring style tires are Yokohama low-profile radicals.

A tad bit more down to reality are the interior and engine. The team of Sid Chavers and Rich Santana exercised their skills inside the wagon, creating a subtle yet functional gray tweed inner-space atmosphere. Steve reshaped and smoothed out the dash structure, which is now filled with white-faced Classic Instruments gauges. As for the drivetrain components, Joe’s Engines (Concord, California) provided a worked-over small-block Chevy, Ed Terwilliger modified a Turbo 350 automatic with a B&M shift kit, and both connect to the stock rear end. While on the subject of mechanicals, Steve utilized a pair of dropped spindles to bring the front suspension down to earth, while the rear was lowered with a large notch and air shocks. Sherm’s Plating chromed both coil and leaf springs for that revitalized appearance.

This past February, Steve was recognized for his maiden solo efforts by receiving the Sam Barris and Joe Bailon awards, as well as first in its ISCA class (Radical Wagon) at the Sacramento Autorama. Talk about your ultimate reassurance.

  • When Steve leaned the Nomad-Slatted tailgate inward, along with the rear roof section, it ended up throwing those sleek Fifties-icon fins right in your face! The ‘57’s roundness was perfectly offset by the inclusion of the ’67 Chevy wagon roof and custom glass. Budnick’s 18-inch Switchblade wheels and rubberband Yokohama radicals tuck into the reshaped wheel openings thanks to a C-notched rear and dropped-spindled front end.
  • The Chevy is, of course, Chevy powered, running a small-block 327, Turbo 350 transmission, and stock rear end. The V-8, built by Joe’s Engines in Concord, features Keith Black pistons, Pink rods, and Competition Cams camshaft and valve springs, topped off with Holey induction and Mallory ignition. The tranny was beefed up with a B&M shift kit by Ed Terwilliger.
  • Sid Chavers and Rich Santana paired up to create the stylish gray tweed interior of Steve’s wagon. Seating is custom-made, as are the door panels, headliner, and center console. The dash was shortened, molded, and painted to match the exterior then filled with Classic Instruments gauges. A Split-Grip Budnik, steering wheel is used in conjunction with painted GM tilt column.
  • You may notice that besides the headlights pointing downward ever so slightly, the stock grille is a little closer to the fenders than stock. A few inches sliced out of the car’s width took care of that. The winged “gunsights” were retained, but the traditional Chevy badge has been shaved from the center of the hood.
  • Stee’s first time out bulding custom cars on his own seemed to have worked out pretty well, as he as honored for his efforts at the Sacramento Autorama with the Sam Barris Award. Joe Bailon also recognized the ’57 by giving it his candy apple award.
  • The ‘57 wagon was in the Contreras family for 25 years before it was transformed into this amazing custom rod. The Shapely roof section, which Steve is measuring here for headroom, was donated by a ’67 Chevy Impala four-door wagon, simply chopped, slanted, and precisely fir to its new base.
  • It took quite a lot of work to get the new door profile so slick looking. But the end results speak for themselves.
  • The width of the front end was not only narrowed, but the fender tops were sliced and punched down. This shot shows how much Steve leaned the stock headlights forward.

A little more about our family collection:

This car is a part of the Papa's Toys Car Collection located in Cornelius, Oregon. Started by John and Susan Davis in the 1980s, it was once of the largest collections in the Pacific Northwest of 180 street rods, classics, customs, race cars, and special interest vehicles ranging from the years 1922-1982. The collection is open to the public once a year where 100% proceeds go to Doernbecher Children's Hospital. Our last show in May of 2016 raised $22,000 in a single day and over 700 other hot rods showed up to enjoy the day. Not a single car has ever been sold from the collection until March 2016 when Susan decided it was time to downsize the collection and to a more manageable number and let other people enjoy the cars. We decided to sell 124 cars from the collection and have sold 82 of that already to excited locals in the Portland area and around the United States. We are keeping about 50 cars and though we won't have our large show once a year, we are discussing having a few smaller shows throughout the summer.

More information on cars for sale:

All vehicles are priced as marked, sold “AS IS,” and all sales are final. Vehicles have been stored for many years in a warehouse, fuel has been drained, and batteries pulled. Many vehicles are in a “sleep” mode, which was done for preservation purpose, so you will need to bring them out of their “sleep.” When the Davis Family got a new “Toy” we would inspect, replace, and repair as needed. To anyone that ever purchases a classic car, you are urged to take the same care prior to driving your vehicle. We hope to be able to answer all your questions about the vehicle you are interested in. Vehicles will be cleared for release with title and “Bill of Sale” after all paperwork, Cashier’s checks, and cash clear. Buyer is in charge of transportation of vehicle after purchase.

Please contact Autumn Davis at autumnjeandavis@aol.com or (503)-758-2241 with any questions.

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