Introduced in 1959, the Chevrolet El Camino arrived two years late to the coupe utility party. That’s because Ford launched the Ranchero in 1957. But what if GM got a head start and built the El Camino before Ford decided to chop the roof off the Ranch Wagon?
The El Camino was also based on a station wagon. Specifically, it was derived from the Brookwood, the grocery getter that shared sheet metal and underpinnings with the more iconic Bel Air and Impala in the late 1950s and early 1961.
But the Brookwood didn’t arrive until 1958, so a 1956 El Camino would have been based on a different wagon. The Tri-Five was the only option at the time and the lineup included three different two-door versions. There was the base 150 Handyman, the mid-range 210 Handyman, and the fancy and expensive Bel Air Nomad.
Well, if you ever wondered what a Tri-Five-based El Camino would have looked like, this junky conversion provides the answer. Because what you’re looking at is not a factory-made ute, but a 1956 Nomad that had its roof chopped off behind the B-pillars.
I know, it’s a rather sacrilegious act given that the Nomad is the rarest and most desirable Tri-Five, but this specific example wasn’t exactly Concours-ready before the conversion. The Chevy looks like it spent a few good years in a barn or a junkyard.
Sure, restoring a derelict Nomad is probably a better option than turning it into a pickup, but I have a feeling the owner wanted a rat rod and not a fancy hauler. Because this would explain why the car had a 440-cubic-inch (7.2-liter) Chrysler V8 in it at some point. The mill is now gone, so this Nomad pickup requires new firepower.
Is it a good canvas for a unique project? Definitely! Does the Nomad make for a cool El Camino? Yes, it does! But is there any potential left in this carcass on wheels? Well, the car is rusty here and there, but someone clearly spent some time fixing some of the issues at some point.
It’s definitely salvageable, but it will require a lot of cash if the goal is to end up with a pristine and unique 1956 El Camino. The one that Chevrolet never built. On top of that, sourcing a period-correct V8 or opting for a modern LS engine will add more to the bill.
But if it’s something you’d work on, this “El Nomadino” (or is it an “El Belamino?”) is for sale via eBay’s “classiccarsofsc.” And if you’ve seen it before it’s because the owner has been struggling to sell it for a long time. I’ve already featured this contraption back in April 2022, when the seller was asking $10,000 for it. Now he’s dropped the price by 10% to $9,000. Is it still too expensive?