Just the Facts
Owner: Gary Miller
State: North Carolina
Scott and Gary Miller are brothers who live in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. They are longtime car guys and operate a shop called Miller Brothers Hot Rod Barn, which is located inside an old factory building in downtown North Wilkesboro. It's a cool place, and one of the first machines to roll out of the "Barn" was Gary's own 1955 Chevy Nomad—a superclean car that gets driven on a regular basis, so we couldn't resist getting a closer look.
The Miller brothers have similar tastes when it comes to building vintage iron. They also have a thing for 1955 Chevys, and Gary's Nomad is a prime example of their expertise. Gary bought the car in the mid 1990s, but wasn't in a hurry to restore it. The Nomad wore a coat of house paint, so it didn't rank highly in the looks department, but a thorough inspection revealed a very solid body. The project was pushed to the side for a while, but he held onto it, knowing the value of a rust-free Nomad. Fast forward a few years, and Scott is starting his hot rod shop, while Gary's Nomad is still sitting, ready for some much-needed attention. From there, it was an "off the clock" job and everyone at the Barn pitched in to put the Nomad on the highway, where it belongs.
Under the louvered hood is a 1996 LT1 engine, which is basically stock, aside from the Str
The first year after its completion, Gary traveled the show circuit, showing off the newly finished Nomad, but the urge to slide behind the wheel was simply too much to bear. Quickly becoming a driver, the '55 didn't lose any of its elegance and still retains the look of a freshly built show car after a few years on the road. The build started with the frame, which is a stock GM unit, powdercoated black by Diversified Finishers in Statesville, North Carolina. Two-inch drop spindles, combined with 2-inch drop springs gives the Nomad a wicked stance, and the rear suspension is lowered a total of 4 inches to match. The car's rake is created with the rolling stock, which consists of 16x8 and 18x9.5 Billet Specialties Legacy wheels, wrapped in BFGoodrich g-Force radials. Sized at 245/50R16 up front and 275/40R18 out back, the tires are just the right size to fill the wheelwells.
Braking consists of GM discs on all four corners, while the steering system features a CCI rack-and-pinion to keep the 1955 stable on the highway and easy to negotiate in low-speed situations as well. Another step to keeping this car on the road is a dependable small-block, a 1996 LT1 more specifically. It's all stock, but these engines came from the factory with 300 hp, so it offers plenty of pep for the classic Bow Tie. The engine has a 10.4:1 compression ratio, thanks to a set of hypereutectic flat-top pistons but retains the stock displacement of 350 ci.
The Nomad rolls on a set of BFGoodrich g-Force radials, which come in at 245/50R16 up fron
The fuel-injection system is original GM equipment, so the Nomad is fuel efficient and very reliable, compared to the cold-natured small-blocks of the past. It's dressed in all sorts of Street & Performance attire, and a custom accessory drive system finishes off the clean engine bay. Spent exhaust gases flow through a stainless steel exhaust system, while a Griffin aluminum radiator keeps coolant temperatures from climbing too high. Behind the LT1 is a stock 4L60E automatic transmission, which provides low-rpm highway cruising in combination with a 3.50 gear set inside the '79 Trans Am rearend.
When Gary bought the Nomad, it didn't have much going for it, but after stripping several layers of paint from the original steel, he was very pleased. The car hadn't suffered any major damage over the years, and there was very little rust to combat. Every piece of steel underneath the slick coating of PPG straight mixing black paint is original. The Miller brothers handled most of the bodywork, and called upon help from Donald Perry when it came time to apply the paint. The crew then color-sanded and buffed every square inch of the Nomad until it was a perfectly slick finish. Reassembly is always a time-consuming process with Tri-Five Chevys, but the guys picked away at it in their spare time and sent it off to the upholstery shop for the ultimate complement to a black paintjob—a bright red interior.
The right team for the job was father and son upholsterers James and Todd Kirk from Corryton, Tennessee. Known as Kirk's Kustom Upholstery, the shop turns out some of the finest stitchwork in the Southeast, and did a number on Gary's Nomad. Using bright red vinyl, the Kirks wrapped everything in sight, including a pair of Toyota Avalon bucket seats, custom door panels, and a custom back seat. The dash is stock but features a custom gauge cluster and billet aluminum panels from end to end. Creature comforts are easy to access, as the original heater controls manage the Vintage Air system, the gauge pod is filled with a built-to-fit Classic Instruments gauge pack, while the Sony CD player rides in the console, which was also fabricated and covered at Kirk's Kustom Upholstery. You'll also find custom vents for the A/C, a Lokar shifter, and two cup holders in the console.
When the car came home to North Carolina, it was time to button up the loose ends and put it on the show circuit. Countless awards and compliments gave the Miller brothers a nice pat on the back for their hard work, but the real payoff started with the Nomad becoming Gary's regular driver. Thanks to everyone at the Miller Brothers Hot Rod Barn and Kirk's Kustom Upholstery, Gary and his wife, Phyllis, can hop in the Nomad and take off anywhere. A cool car, built in an old-school shop by a great bunch of guys—it doesn't get any better than that.
Other interior appointments include Vintage Air A/C and a Classic Instruments cluster. Hot
The custom console holds the Sony CD player, a Lokar shifter, and switches for the power w
Gary sent the ’19to Kirk’s Kustom Upholstery when it came time for the interior, and the r