Traveler

We first met Joe Lutz, owner of HotRod Dynamics, on the 2013 Hot Rod Power Tour. His Trans Am-inspired Camaro was a Motor Market feature a while back, and we’ve stayed in touch ever since. There’s always something interesting happening in Joe’s shop, from scratch building suspension parts to tinkering with the 1,000+ hp ’54 Chevy shop truck, to working customer cars. Joe recently dropped us a line on a sweet ’55 Nomad he was finishing up, so we eagerly awaited photos; the following Dropbox link did not disappoint.

With a background in mechanical engineering, Joe isn’t one to let old cars be old; he recognizes their shortcomings and isn’t afraid to change them to meet a higher standard. As such, this ’55 sits (beautifully) on an Art Morrison chassis with independent front and rear suspension. Fourteen-inch Wilwood brakes with 6-piston calipers adorn each corner, as do 19” Boyd wheels. The detail work on the bottom of the Nomad is remarkable; there’s a place for everything and everything is in its place. The hand built exhaust snakes around the IRS system and past the stainless tank from Rick’s, while all brake and fuel lines are stainless; braided or hard.

Before setting the wagon body down, HotRod Dynamics bolted in a 6.2L L99 engine with a tough 6L80E on the backside. Both the transmission case and engine block were smoothed and painted body color; it was a shame to put the body on and block our view of the craftsmanship. The front of the engine wears a serpentine accessory drive from Concept 1 and is fired with a Hotwire EFI harness. HotRod Dynamics took care of the radiator and aforementioned stainless exhaust system.

The dash was smoothed and gained a billet trim panel with AC vents, while the stock cluster now features a VHX instrument system with carbon fiber face styling and blue LED backlighting. Since his initial VHX experience with the Camaro, Joe has been on the Dakota Digital bandwagon, citing the straightforward installation and easy LS-integration. Just next door is a full center console boasting twin cup holders, floor shifter, lighted switches and a large touchscreen entertainment system. Surprisingly, none of the modern bits look out of place in the classic cruiser. Extreme Performance handled the upholstery.

The body of the car is a thing of beauty; not a whole lot needed to be done, as the Chevy Nomad is one of the best looking cars ever made. A smooth firewall was built in house, which makes a big difference under the hood. From there, the bumpers were smoothed, tweaked and one-pieced and the fuel filler was moved behind the taillight. Joe knows when things need to change, and equally important, when they don’t. The gorgeous paint and bodywork were handled by David Day.

HotRod Dynamics sure can put together a good looking car. They’re not over the top, just-because-I-can type cars, rather sensible hot rods with break-neck good looks and performance to match. Joe himself is a soft-spoken Southern guy who would rather let the cars have the spotlight. Just our kinda guy.

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