Where the Nomad fell down was in the acoustic department with criticism thrown at it for loud mechanicals and wind noise – especially from the canvas roof. Testers were also not happy with the lack of heater and windscreen washer or the fact that the wipers didn’t self-park. We say drop the folding front windscreen and pack away the canvas roof and all these niggles won’t even be a factor. But having said that, the optional fibreglass hardtop did wonders for the look and weather-proofing so we’d maybe stick to that format as our choice of classic MPV format.
Between 1976 and ’81 the Chevrolet Nomads hit the roads, tracks, farms and leisure spots around South Africa earning cult status from the outset. Sales were initially good but slowed with numerous front suspension failures. By the time Chevrolet responded with a new beefed-up design it was too late to save the Nomad reputation and buyers looked elsewhere (like the Toyota Stout and Hilux, complete with heater) for a multi-purpose bit of kit.
As a testament to its ruggedness, finding a Nomad today is a possibility, with a number cropping up in the various classified publications. Their ability in the rough stuff has by nature meant that the majority have lived a somewhat heavy life, with some even sporting more powerful engine swaps, so choose your local cult classic wisely. Original is the key. Find one like this, then kick back, give a Nomad a home and explore every aspect of our land with the original, born in the RSA, MPV.
1976 THE TITLE FIGHT
0 – 100km/h: 17.2 seconds
Max speed: 129.1km/h
Price: R2 950 (Excl. R140 canvas roof)
0 – 100km/h: 23.8 seconds
Max speed: 127.4km/h
Price: R3 855