If you know anything about hot rod builders and anything about BMX bikes then there's a good chance you know the names Tucci and Alley. Dave Tucci Jr., of Tucci Hot Rods, has turned out, and continues to turn out, some awesome hot rods. Jim Alley is no stranger to race cars and hot rods but is now a force to be reckoned with in the manufacturing world of BMX components with his company Profile Racing.
So how did these two individuals who are worlds apart get together to build and own one of the definitive examples of a Tri-Five Nomad? Answer: Out of necessity for Jim, and "it's what we do" for Tucci.
A Flaming River steering column and wheel are used along with the modified Honda seating c
According to Tucci, "I was attending Fay Butler's sheetmetal class in Massachusetts, where Butler introduced me to a tool called a sweep; used for measuring curves on body panels. These sweeps were machined by Jim Alley,at Profile Racing in St. Petersburg, Florida."
From here Tucci contacted Jim with the idea of purchasing a set of sweeps. As is often the case, one conversation led to another, which included the purchase of said sweeps, but the conversation moved into what exactly is done at Tucci Hot Rods. In turn that sparked Jim to tell Tucci about his '55 Chevy Nomad. It wasn't long before Jim was shipping his prized possession off to Tucci's shop in Marcy, New York.
Another Floridian Brent Gill penned the renderings that Jim and Tucci would talk over and build from. The '55 represented Chevrolet's first significant body and engineering (i.e. the 265 V-8 and 12V electrics) changes to a car that substantively had been around since 1941. The '55 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad two-door station wagon (base price $2,472) saw 8,386 vehicles off the assembly line, making it the lowest production number of any '55 Chevy passenger car (excluding Corvette). Chevy specs for the '55 included a 115-inch wheelbase and most of the body styles had an overall length of 195.6 inches, while the Nomad, Beauville, Townsman, and Handyman were several inches longer at 197.1 inches. The station wagons tipped the scales around 3,200-3,300 pounds (other models were approximately 3,100 pounds).
An Alpine stereo with a Kicker amplifier and speakers is neatly tucked away in the rear ca
Tucci's first significant design change was the windshield, after he sized up a '64 Impala one he had in the shop. They found that the windshield wouldn't need to be cut at the top but would need to be pinched approximately 1 inch on either side to match the roof sides. By installing the Impala windshield there was about 8 inches of the front section of the roof skin that needed to be removed, this gave the windshield a leaned backed and more streamlined appearance. It didn't take long to realize "it would fit". From here it was "game on" and the gennie chassis would be parked (literally) as an Art Morrison GT Sport Tri-Five replacement chassis with air ride would be used.
After the body was mounted to a custom-made jig, Tucci Hot Rods went to a local salvage yard. From here they brought back the roof from a '64 Impala, which they cut in the middle of the roof about 10 inches from the windshield and also halfway through the firewall. The '55 then had its roof skin removed, along with the complete windshield surround on the Nomad, including the cowl area. Next up was the removal of approximately 2 inches from the height of the roof skin, which gives the appearance of a top chop without changing the side glass height. With the windshield change, they had to remove the vent windows from the doors and create a one-piece door glass. All moldings were retained on the '64 Impala windshield surround and the original moldings above the door glass from the '64 Impala were modified and fitted in the '55 Chevy door window opening. The stock molding on the side glass and the original slider window style on the '55 Chevy was not modified.