Why a 56 Chevy Handyman?

Of all the basket case rust buckets I could have tried to salvage, why on earth would I pick a 1956 Chevrolet Handyman Wagon?

All 3 years (1955, ’56, and ’57), the Chevy was a beautiful car, but my favourite is certainly the ’56.

55 Hardtop, 56 Nomad, 57 Convertible

Granted, the 55 started the whole Classic Chevy Craze – shedding Chevy’s stodgy old image with the introduction of the all new “Motoramic” Styling and the Small Block V8 – justifiably announcing that…

The ‘HOT ONE’ Arrives


Ad for the new 1955 Motoramic Chevrolet.

The last of the “Tri-Fives” – the 57 is definitely the most iconic car that Chevy ever made – ask someone to give you an example of a “Classic Chevy” and most often they will tell you “it’s the 57 man!”

The 57 is “The Ultimate ‘Classic’ Chevy“.

GM understands the status that the 57 has risen to and decided to capitalize on the brand recognition and brand loyalty that the 57 has developed by prominently featuring the 57 in a recent Detroit billboard campaign.

57 Chevy Billboard_01

57 Chevy Billboard_02

57 Chevy Billboard_03

57 Chevy Billboard_04

57 Chevy Billboard_05

57 Chevy Billboard_06

57 Chevy Billboard_07

So why is the 56 my favourite?

It could be because it’s the underdog of the 3 years – often it’s nothing more than just the “ dash ” in the 1955 57 moniker.

The 56 is a quite underappreciated example of a fine automobile and is often overlooked and considered the ‘middle child’.

Regardless, you can’t overlook the fact that Chevy took what was great about the ’55 and made it even better in 1956….


The ’56 Chevy encompasses the best features of both the 55 and the 57. It’s got that cool symmetrical double hump / twin cowl dash that the 55 had.

55 Chevy Dash

56 Chevy Dash

The 56 has those semi-frenched headlights right from the factory:

56 Chevy Headlights

and a great pair of tail fins:

56 Chevy Tailfin

– However neither feature is as exaggerated on the 56 as you’ll find on the 57:

57 Front and Rear

56 Front and Rear

though both the headlight ‘eyebrows’ and tailfins on the 56 (above) are a lot “sportier” looking than on the 55 (below).

55 Front and Rear

Then there is also that one super-cool feature not found on either the 55 or 57… the fold-down taillight that hides the gas filler. Sure the 57 has a hidden fuel filler as well, but it isn’t nearly as cool as the 56 Tail Light setup.

56 Chevy Hidden Fuel Filler_01

56 Chevy Hidden Fuel Filler_02

I think the real reason the 56 is my favourite though has to be because it was my first love. You never forget your first love right?


Dad's Wagon