Chevrolet Nomad concept
With the Chevrolet Nomad concept, General Motors is presenting a unique study of a sports station wagon for the new millennium.
The Chevrolet Nomad concept fuses the performance and handling of a sports coupé with the practical advantages of a station wagon and pickup truck. The concept will appeal to motorists who value lifestyle and leisure, and has been designed for the family of the future. The young team who designed the Nomad see it as the precursor of a renaissance for the station wagon form in a U.S. market currently dominated by minivans and four-wheel drive leisure vehicles. And Nomad may offer an individual alternative in the traditionally strong European station wagon market.
Drive: Excellent Performance Thanks to V8 Power
The Chevrolet Nomad concept has already acquired an advance reputation as a sports station wagon so it was logical to equip it with the latest generation of the 5700 cc V8 „small block“ from the Chevrolet Corvette. The enormous power of this engine (253 kW/344 hp) is conveyed by a fully electronic, shift-by-wire transmission that has no need of a mechanical connection. The independent suspensions in the rear assure good traction and safe dynamics.
From Station Wagon to Pickup Truck: Functionality for Leisure
The Chevrolet Nomad concept is highly variable and functional, starting with the innovative lamellar technology employed in the rear. At the touch of a button, a long section of the roof (measuring over 90 cm length) retracts away from the rear hatch and disappears into the front part, turning it into pickup truck. The opened rear hatch can be employed as an extension of the cargo compartment floor, creating a fullsize loading area.
The interior is equally as flexible with flat-folding rear and front passenger seats. The side doors slide smoothly open along tracks, allowing easy access to the rear seating. Thus the Nomad poses no obstacles to the transport of large sports equipment such as surfboards, or even a motocross bike.
Design: A Convivial Synthesis of Fifties and Future
The exterior design is a harmonious mix of diverse forms, fulfilling the desire for an individual and distinctive appearance. Elements from the Fifties flow easily into the up-to-date styling. For example, the wing mirror attached to the a-pillar is a reference from the popular U.S. hot rod movement of that age, and the high center line, rising towards the rear, originated from sports car styling, but has also found its way into contemporary sedans. The broad Fifties-style wheel wells, add to the look.
At an overall length of 4.70 meters, the Nomad is notable for its short protrusions, large wheels, dramatically slanted b-pillar and sleek, flat sections. The last effect is enhanced by the complete absence of door handles. The technological and futuristic interior is a work of modern styling. The slanting rear from the original design, is the most striking Nomad visual trait.
A Tribute to the Forerunner
At the GM „Motorama“ show in 1954, Chevrolet presented a two-door station wagon study called Nomad, based on the Corvette. The new-fangled mix of a practical vehicle with sports car attributes went down well with the public. But like so many show cars in the Fifties, the only prototype of the original Nomad ended up in a metal crusher.
Just one year later, in 1955, the similarly revolutionary Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad was launched. With its fairly flat window line curving around into the rear, a strongly slanted b-pillar and chrome trim, the series Nomad had a flair that still retains its charm today. Inside the two-door station wagon, which could seat six people comfortably, it was possible to fold down the rear seat and create a long flat cargo floor. The rear windscreen could be lowered, allowing access to the rear compartment through the open (power!) window, a detail that was copied in many a future station wagon and cross-country vehicle.
The necessary power was generated by a then-new 4300 cc V8 with 162 hp. The Bel Air Nomad was one of the first Chevrolets with an optionally available overdrive feature. Despite these many advantages, it failed to take its market by storm. One possible cause was the high price. At 2,700 dollars, it was the most expensive Chevrolet of the period. A total of 7,886 Bel Air Nomads were produced through 1957. But today a well-maintained Bel Air Nomad is a coveted rarity among automotive cognoscenti.