Fred Morrison’s ’55 Chevy Nomad Wagon was awarded “Car of the Year” at Cruisin’ New England’s Super Wheels Showdown XIV, held October 4, 2008, at Boston’s City Hall Plaza. The showdown showcased “Best of Show” and “Super Cruise Night” winners from all over the northeast region. Grundy Worldwide is the Official Insurance sponsor of Cruisin’ New England, and Jim Grundy, company President, was on-hand to congratulate Fred, a Grundy customer, on his win.
“I have not gone to a show with this car where it didn’t get the highest award,” says Fred.
And, this show was not any different.
Fred explains that the Cruisin’ New England outfit started with thousands of entries for “Car of the Year,” only to invite the 100 top cars to the showdown. And, only one car would win the highest title. He goes on to say that it was only a few years ago that he claimed this title with a ’37 Chevy. This year, his ’55 Nomad took the prize.
“I only want the best,” he says.
Fred says that his fascination with cars has been with him for life. When he was 24-years-old, he opened a gas station. Today, at 64-years-old, he is still a mechanic by trade. But, Fred says that somewhere along the line, running his business, raising kids, sending them to college and “growing up” took priority over his love for “playing with cars.”
He says that many of his friends also became more distanced from the world of hot rods. But, one of his buddies, Ed Nasson, never left the hot rod scene and approached Fred around 20 years ago with a proposition.
“One day, Eddie came to me and said ‘I’m going to a hot rod show. Come with me,’” he says. “Hot rods were now a part of my past. But, I couldn’t say no to Eddie. So, I begrudgingly went to this show, about 30 miles away from Boston.”
“And, when I walked through the parking lot… it was like I was doing drugs! I was fascinated. The quality-level had skyrocketed! It absolutely knocked me over,” exclaims Fred. “After going to that show, I was like a junkie.”
He was hooked.
Of all the cars he noticed throughout his car show experiences, 1955 Chevrolets stuck out as a favorite. Fred makes note that he had owned a couple ’55 Chevys when he had first started the gas station, many years ago; and, that love carried over to this new spark of interest in hot rods. With the kids out of college, and some time and money to invest into purchasing a special car, Fred purchased a ’55 Chevy 2-door Sedan that he would show for 15 years.
“That car won tons of awards,” says Fred. “I was going to own the best.”
He still owns the car today.
Fred also owned an award-winning ’37 Chevy, but later sold it because he had a certain car in mind. He says that his real love was in the 1955 Chevrolet and that his dream car would be a Nomad Wagon.
“Right now, station wagons are very hot,” says Fred. “And the colors I got from a Boyd Coddington car I saw at a show: charcoal and yellow. I thought it looked spectacular and said ‘Those are the colors.’”
Next, Fred found the builder for the project: Dan Wickett of Hot Rod Construction, based in South Carolina.
Fred bought the car in 2005 and waited one year for the project to start. He says that it was worth the wait, because Dan was the man he wanted building the car.
“I saw his work at Indianapolis six years ago,” he says. “I was very impressed. In Columbus, the next year, I saw the same car and asked ‘Who did that?’ I met Dan and was just very impressed by him. He’s very intelligent. And, the quality of his work is phenomenal. Plus, I was told he was easy to work with.”
“He steered me into the right direction, with where to go,” continues Fred. “I gave him ideas and he’d improve them ten-fold! His workmanship is impeccable.”
Fred says that with never having one disagreement with Dan—no arguments—the Nomad was completed in June 2008.
Since then, Fred says that he has driven the car all over, from show to show. Typically, he attends over 100 car shows, each year—many with his own vehicles, and some just to catch up on the upcoming trends. He states that he has already put 1500 miles on the Nomad.
“This is my life,” says Fred.
Story by: Becky McLaughlin
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