Alisha Yocum

Bud Eyler’s love for cars began as a child, and he specifically became fond of the 1955 Chevy Bel Air Hardtop as a teenager. His brother-in-law, who was in the Navy, left his black 1955 Chevy at their family’s home during deployment. The family’s home was located close to Rt. 15, and he remembers many people stopping to ask his father if they could buy the car. 

“I knew when I got old enough that is what I wanted [to drive],” said Bud.

In 1968, at age 17, Bud fulfilled his dream and bought his own 1955 Chevy Bel Air. However, his mother was not pleased and refused to let him get his driver’s license, even giving him the silent treatment for nearly a month. Patiently, Bud waited until he turned 18 to obtain his license independently.

The Bel Air was part of Chevy’s lineup that featured a bold stylish design with smooth, clean lines and a distinctive front grille. The 1955 Bel Air quickly became an icon of the 1950s, celebrated for its combination of style, power, and affordability.

Soon, he would be driving “The Circuit” in Thurmont with his high school friends, who also owned ’55 Chevys. It was during this time that Bud would ask his friend’s sister if she would go on a date with him. Nena agreed and soon the two would start dating, later marrying in 1972. Nena’s family also had a passion for classic cars, sharing Bud’s enthusiasm.

In 1973, the Eylers sold the car. Nena knew how much the car meant to her husband, and a few years later, she tracked the car down. The new owner lived in Emmitsburg and was using the car on their farm. Nena worked out a deal and soon Bud would be reunited with his beloved first car. However, a lot of work needed to be done to it, and the couple had the car restored to what it is today.

After being reunited with his first car, there was another ’55 Chevy that Bud had his eye on—a Nomad. Inspired by a concept car from the 1954 General Motors Motorama, the Nomad features a sleek, sporty design with a sloped tailgate and unique roofline, differentiating it from other station wagons of the era. It was one of the iconic Tri-Five Chevrolets, known for their innovation and popularity.

Nena, once again, went on a search and found a rusted-up Nomad in nearby Lewistown. While the couple jokes that the Nomad is “her car,” it was together that they decided to have a full restoration done on the Nomad. Two-and-a-half years later, the car was fully restored and is one that turns heads at car shows. In fact, the car has won top awards like third place in the Timonium Indoor Eastern Nationals and was named a top ten builds in the Good Guys Car Show in York, Pennsylvania.

The Eylers continue to attend as many local car shows as possible, proudly showcasing their ’55 Chevys.

Bud and Nena Eyler with their 1955 Chevys.

The hardtop when Bud first purchased it in 1968.

The Nomad when the Eylers purchased it in 2013.

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