Photography: Courtesy of Overhaulin’
Reprint from OVERHAULIN’ The Magazine, July 2006
k, so it’s a clichÃ©. The cobbler’s kids have no shoes, and the mechanic who owns a repair shop and does some work with Jay Leno has no time to work on his own ’56 Chevy Nomad. Because Leno’s such a cool car guy, he helped set up David Killackey to be Overhauled, with serious help from his son David Jr.
The beauty of the Overhaulin’ show is that Chip Foose and the team aim to craft each car the way its owner has always wanted, but even better. In this case, David had dreamed of transforming his Nomad into a hot rodâ€”still pretty stock-looking but motivated by a stout 572ci big-block Chevy engine under the hood. In fact, Chip had more insight that normal into this mark’s wishes because David had just gone to Hot August Nights in Reno with this son, where he’d pointed out all the things he liked on various Nomads. David Jr. relayed the info, and Chip penned a design for this Nomad that retained much of its fabulous ’50s style but with a cleaner look.
You can feel the difference between a stock Nomad and this car right away. But if we didn’t point out the subtle changes that were made, you might spend hours poring over the before and after photos to spot them. For instance, the door locks have been shaved, as have most of the emblems, including the big bird and the Chevy emblem on the nose. The bumper bolt holes have been shaved and filled, the bumpers have been moved closer to the body, and rear Nomad bumper guards were used both front and rear (they’re smaller than the factory front bullets). Other subtle changes include the addition of air conditioning and a hidden custom audio system; the transformation of the firewall (to look pretty and to accommodate the bigger engine); and the absence of a battery under the hood.
Clearly, transforming this Tri-Five Chevy from rust bucket to red-hot beauty was no easy task. Co-Host A.J. literally filled up a cart at C.A.R.S. Inc. with practically one of everything to replace the car’s dama
sheetmetal. All that metalwork continued until nearly 9 p.m. on Day 4, when the body was finally ready to get ready for paint. It took two more days of applying body filler, blocking, and sanding before the car hit the paint boothâ€”with two team members squirting it simultaneously on the evening of Day 6.
The good news is other work could be done while the body was being beautified. A&M Auto Upholstery used that time to re-cover the original seats and get them ready for installation. Gemtech powdercoated the frame. The suspension, engine, trans, and custom exhaust all were put in their place. And the Golden Customs audio guys had the sound system prepped and ready to install for the final tweaking.
Even with all the multitasking, the build continued after midnight on Day 7â€”officially D-Day. But the end result is a clean, updated Nomad that not only looks unique and sounds great but also most definitely gets out of its own way.
> She’s a rusty old girl, but she’s got good bones. (The broken exhaust tip is a particularly nice touch.)
> The seats may look ugly, but al least the frames were salvageable. Absolutely everything else inside this car had to be replaced, including the window glass.
THE CAST OF CHARACTERS
> The happy mark, David Killackey St., enjoys his Overhauled Nomad with the show’s most famous insider, Jay Leno.
> Chip Foose, Co-Host A.J., David, Jay, and Co-Host Chris Jacobs pose in front of the Nomad with the car’s build team (from left): Dirk Binder (in white shirt), Ed Golden, Colm Derasmo, Dwayne Clark, Darryl Nance, Andrew Babish, Jerry Bermudez, Jeff Binder, Shane Boulay, Craig “Captain” Watts, Ben Bright, Jeff Van Klaveren, Project Manager Craig Chaffers, Shawn Hengstebeck, Ryan Ellis, Tony Ixcoy, David’s son and Overhaulin’s accomplice David Killackey Jr., Jake Bailey, Josh Franklin, David’s son Dean Killackey, Mike Hamm, and David’s son James Killackey. Other members of the build team include David Arroyo, Sal Arroyo, Chris Bassett, Dan Borunda, Ryan Borunda, Nick Cetrangolo, Rafael Devora, Alen Edwards, Jack Fields, Piti Martinez, Nick Nance, Pt Nance, Luciano Nunes, and Tom O’Donnell.
Chips Words of Wisdom
“I don’t like to build something that looks like it’s customized,” says Chip.
“I like to build something that looks like it came from the factory.”
> Deconstruction on Day 1 opened up the engine compartment to reveal the ugly, old 265ci V-8.
> Holy floorboards, Batman! Ben Bright had better watch his step. This thing had rust everywhere—except where there was no metal left.
This rusty ride received a boatload of replacement sheetmetal from C.A.R.S. Inc., including a complete floorpan (with braces), one full quarter-panel, a quarter patch panel,and replacement sections to go around each taillight. The Overhaulin’ team also swapped on a used tailgate that was in better shape, plus D&P Classic Chevy came through with a pair of used fenders.
This car is definitely shiny, thanks to quite a few replacement trim parts from C.A.R.S. Inc. Original pieces that were salvageable were polished by California Polishing or chromed by Artistic Silver Plating and Cal Bumper.
Overhaulin’ build-team members Shawn Hengsterbeck, Josh Franklin, and Tony Ixcoy squirted the Nomad with R-M Diamont Carizzma … From BASF two-stage paint in creamy white and a dark metallic red. Underneath, Gemtech powdercoated the frame black.
Baer provided a Track front system with 13-inch rotors and two-piston calipers; all components bolt on to the stock spindle without modification. The Sport system in the rear includes 12-inch rotors with single-piston calipers. Baer also supplied steel braided hoses, new parking-brake cables, the master cylinder required for the conversion, and an adjustable proportioning valve to balance the front and rear systems.
Heidi’s 2-inch dropped spindles for the front give the Nomad a nice rake. These are full-steel spindles, just like the factory pieces, and they work with the stock steering arms with no loss of turning radius.
Chip Foose designed a unique, polished, one-off wheel for the Nomad, custom-built at MHT Wheels in two sizes: 19×8 inches for the front and 20×10 for the rear.
The big wheels are wrapped in BFGoodrich g-Force T/A ultra-high-performance tire, 225/40-19s up front and 255/40-20s out back. They provide amazing traction, even in rain and snow, plus a smooth, quite ride.
> A trip to the media blaster on Day 1 revealed the full extent of the rust damage.
> Then the rust repair began, inside and out. By the time she was ready for paint, the body looked like a patchwork quilt. Aside from the roof and the hood, pretty much every panel had to be either patched or replaced.
David Killackey was away on a trip to New Zealand with his buddies. He got an early-morning wake-up call from our accomplice, son David Jr., with the bad news that the Nomad had been stolen. The son sai he and his brother had moved the car outside while they were cleaning their transmission shop and—surprise!—it disappeared. Once David got home, we sent over a not-so-competent volunteer police investigator to find out what had happened. And then for the reveal Jay Leno lured David over to his Big Dog Garage to meet with a secret Men In Black type of groupspecialized in finding stolen vehicles. Turned out they had found the Nomad, all right.
—Bethany Landing, Producer
> Dennis Rickless of DR Design Stripped the car and lettered it with 572 Air “badges.”
> The Deluxe version of the ZZ 572 crate engine includes an 850-cfm Demon Carburetor, an aluminum water pump, an HEI distributor, a single-plane intake manifold, a flexplate, and plug wires.
Guaranty Chevrolet provided the new ZZ 572 GM Performance Parts crate engine. The pump-gas-friendly Gen IV tall-deck big-block is good for 620 hp at 5,500 rpm and 650 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. The firewall took a beating to accommodate those massive rectangular-port aluminum heads.
D&P Classic Chevy kicked in plenty of parts to make this engine swap possible, including motor mounts and a special Milodon oil pan.
Mike Hamm spent two days custom-building a set of headers to fit these tight quarters without choking the engine. According to Chip Foose, they’re probably the most intricately fabricated parts on the car.
Magna Flow’s team built the stainless exhaust system on-
site, from the headers back through 3-inch collectors into a 3-inch Tru-X pipe, then on through two 5x8x14 offset-center stainless mufflers, exiting through 21/2-inch mandrel-bent dual exhaust pipes.
Summit Racing supplied a variety of performance parts to make this Nomad run like a champ, including the Powermater starter, air cleaner, Billet Specialties pulley setup, fuel pump, Be Cool radiator, and Currie-built Ford 9-inch rearend with 3.73:1 gears.
Bowler Performance Transmissions stepped up with a Turbo 3400 with premium clutches, heavy-duty bands, all-new bearings, an upgraded heavy-duty 34-element intermediate sprag, Teflon sealing rings, a new Low roller sprag, and a shift-improver kit. It’s fitted with a 2,000-stall-speed converter, plus Bowler smoothed and custom-painted the transmission case.
Gear Vendors Overdrive! Installed after the show.
> The nose looks far cleaner without the bird hood ornament and the Chevy badge. Chip Foose smoothed the hood and continued the factory ridgeline down the center—all by hand. Plus, he and Captain Watts filled the bolt holes on the bumpers and installed a set of rear Nomad bumper guards up front.
WHY THIS CAR?
Jay Leno as the insider here seemed like a no-brainer. Then when we started looking into David Killackey as a mark, it really became a great story. This guy is almost a saint, he is so genuine and giving and a great family man with incredible values and a wonderful sense of humor. The Nomad was also a unique car that we had never done before and a real design challenge for Chip Foose.
—Bethany Landing, Producer
C.A.R.S. Inc. provided new door panels, kick panels, sunvisors, carpet, gauges, door handles, and window cranksâ€”basically, everything needed to make this interior look new againâ€”and A&M Auto Upholstery installed it all.
A&M covered the original Nomad seat frames with new foam and new seat covers from C.A.R.S. Inc. The black and ivory vinyl/cloth combo provides some serious ’50s style.
Ididit’s ’55-’57 Chevy tilt column shift steering column works with the original in-dash gear indicator, and it includes knobs and handles, self-canceling turn signals, fur-way flashers, and its own wiring harness. It works with either a three- or four-speed automatic.
Under all the factory-look interior components is a layer of Dynamax Xtreme sound- and temperature-reducing material, making this Nomad far more comfortable than it was in 1956.
Golden Customs’ team hid the head unit inside the glovebox to retain the stocklook of this stunning dash. The rear seat folds flat for cargo space, just as it did from the factory, so the guys couldn’t build a typical amp/speaker box to go behind it; instead, they tucked two Kicker amps inside the spare-tire well and stashed speakers behind the back seat and in the front kick panels.
Vintage Air’s Tri-Five Chevy Sure Fit air conditioning, heater, and defroster system is mounted completely behind the dash, and it ensures David Killackey feels as coolâ€”and as hotâ€”as he looks while driving his Nomad.
Protek Resources wired up the alarm, which includes a shock sensor and a motion sensor, as well as a remote key-less-entry system and power door locks.
An Optima YellowTop SpiralCell battery provides extra performance and deep-cycling capacity. It’s hidden away inside a door in one of the quarter-panels.
A&M AUTO UPHOSTERY
ARTISTIC SILVER PLATING
Signal Hill, CA
BAER BRAKE SYSTEMS
BOWLER PERFORMANCE TRANSMISSIONS
Grinders and polishers
Long Beach, CA
Huntington Beach, CA
Hunting Beach, CA
CARIZZMA … FROM BASF
Rohester Hills, MI
West Hills, CA
CLASSIC AUTO APPRAISER
Mission Viejo, CA
D&P CLASSIC CHEVY
Huntington Beach, CA
Automotive service covers
FIVE STAR GAS AND GEAR
Los Nietos, CA
Huntington Beach, CA
El Cajon, CA
GEMTECH POWDER COATING
Huntington Beach, CA
GM PERFORMANCE PARTS
GOLDEN CUSTOMS PRO AUDIO ACCESSORIES
Santa Ana, CA
HEIDI’S HOT ROD SHOP
IRON CLAD GLOVES
El Segundo, CA
MAGNAFLOW PERFORMANCE EXHAUST
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
La Palma, CA
MITTLER BROS. MACHINE & TOOL CO.
Wright City, MO
MOTHERS POLISHES â€¢ WAXES â€¢ CLEANERS
Huntington Beach, CA
Huntington Beach, CA
Foothill Ranch, CA
The Beast energy drink
PERFORMANCE STAINLESS STEEL
Scotts Valley, CA
Stainless steel fittings
SAL’S BODY & PAINT SHOP
Spring Valley, MN
Spray equipment (primer and paint guns)
3M AUTOMOTIVE DIVISION
St. Paul, MN
Body supplies (tape, masking paper, sandpaper)
San Antonio, TX