G3 Rods '56 Nomad
You'd be hard-pressed to find a panel that wasn't reworked on this '56
Our friends at G3 Rods in Rapid City have no fear when it comes to the cutoff wheel and body hammers. They’ve cut up some of Detroit’s best looking designs on multiple occasions, each time with staggering results. Most of us look at a ’56 Nomad and think, “Well, there it is. It’s not going to get any better than that.” Then Tyler, Jay and Ryan close the operating room doors and commence to slicing and dicing. There’s a saying, “it takes a real man to cut one up,” which is true, but it takes a true craftsman to put it back together correctly.
Had this Nomad been a show car in the late 1950s or early ‘60s, it’d be laying low on heated stock coils. Oh how things have changed since then; custom cars in 2017 need to be able to do it all; including navigate bumps in the road without knocking out your teeth and turn corners without scraping the door handles. An Art Morrision chassis wears a C6 Corvette-style front suspension with a four-link configuration in back. Brakes are not chrome plated drums, instead we find 13” Wilwood discs at each end. Another stark change from “back in the day” is the rolling stock; flipper hubcaps give way to 18” and 20” Billet Specialties Grinder Extremes wearing eat-your-heart-out-50s-tire-technology Pirelli PZero tires.
Under the hood, you’ll find something that may have been present 50 years ago, in spirit anyway. I’ll give you a few hints as to the powerplant in the Nomad: it’s all aluminum, is identified with a “letter” designation, and did not come stock in this car. Did you guess “LS engine”? The old school crowd will get a grin over the W-motor which kicks out over 600hp and nearly 650lb/ft with ease. Edelbrock heads in concert with a COMP Cams valvetrain make the 515-inch bruiser sing, and the Hogan crossram intake manifold give it that can’t miss style. A Gearstar 4L65E stands at the ready and gives the 3.70-geared differential the business.
The exterior of the Nomad has been changed 100 ways from Sunday, but is still very much a ’56 Nomad even at a glance; G3 took what was there and refined it without losing the original styling. The most notable changes were upfront, in the rework of the sheetmetal and revised brightwork. Gone is the visually heavy grille and marker lights, replaced with a floating spear. The engine is surrounded by an incredible engine compartment; it’s smooth and I’ll just let you soak it in. Both bumpers were given the full treatment to flow into the body. Out back there are hidden tailgate hinges, mini tubs that flow into a smooth belly pan, while the side trim is all one-off courtesy of Atomic machine. Ogden Chrome is responsible for the world-class chrome finish on all the brightwork.
Inside, you’ll find more changes, including a dash built in house at G3 Rods and filled with sparkly new HDX instruments. These beauties allow the user to change illumination color at will, making sure the instruments match any paint and upholstery combo, as well as the driver’s mood. This car has a dual-round gauge layout, and right next door is a Dakota Digital DCC climate controller for the embedded Vintage Air system. Finishing off the dash is a Pioneer head unit pushing Kicker speakers and subwoofer. Sure beats a record player and 13” tube TV flanked by angel hair, doesn’t it?
In the short time this Nomad has been done, it’s been to a handful of shows and won as many awards. Right away it became a Custom Rod of the Year finalist for Goodguys, and then garnered a Street Rodder Top 100 pick, followed by a top 5 trophy at Hot August Nights. G3 is definitely going places, helping put South Dakota on the map in the custom car world; a group of more talented, fun-loving and hard working guys you will not find.