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History Larry Watson's Personal Photo Collection

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by Rikster, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. magoozi
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 1,721

    magoozi
    Member
    from san diego

    I have always felt that Watson was the pinical of the custom world's golden era, no one had a better eye for colors then him, I have always loved the pictures of cars in front of his shop sign, thanks Rikster for posting these pictures
     
  2. Once more....Thank you Rik.......The Watson years were the height of my passion as well......Centurion9
     
  3. You said it brotha!
    Now what color should I....ah never mind LOL:D
     
  4. Rik, the articles in Kustoms Illustrated are really cool though it makes me wish this mag was large format. I wonder will any of this be put in a large format book? I'd buy one if it happens.
     
  5. ChrisV
    Joined: May 12, 2008
    Posts: 17

    ChrisV
    Member
    from Denmark


    I feel the exact same way - These pictures are ideal for the ultimate coffee table book of custom cars!
     
  6. Ole_Red
    Joined: Jul 29, 2009
    Posts: 596

    Ole_Red
    Member
    from 206, WA

    This. Money pending. :cool:
     
  7. firemangordy
    Joined: Feb 28, 2007
    Posts: 350

    firemangordy
    Member

    At 1:13 into this video is the '41 Chevy called the Corvette Coupe. Does anyone have more pictures of this car? My buddy is building a modern version of it and would like to have more pictures of the original.
     
  8. jazzfidelity
    Joined: Sep 19, 2011
    Posts: 371

    jazzfidelity
    Member

    the small booklet magazine style format is a tradition, don't change a thing!
     
  9. Racewriter
    Joined: Nov 14, 2008
    Posts: 780

    Racewriter
    Member

    Hey, what are the painted wheels worth on my lowered '66 Valiant?
     
  10. Nads
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 11,631

    Nads
    Member
    from Hypocrisy

    amen, also the "look at how beautiful my stock 4 door slug is."
     
  11. Theo Douglas
    Joined: Nov 20, 2002
    Posts: 807

    Theo Douglas
    Member

    What he said.

     
  12. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,781

    Rikster
    Member

    A nearly bone stock car photo from the Rik Hoving | Custom Car Photo Archive?
    Well yes, but only because because this is a very special photo of a factory stock car, with a young - seventeen years old - Larry Watson behind the wheels of his first car. This photo was taken in 1955 and shows the 1950 Chevy sedan that would later become Larry's Grapevine Chevy Custom Car. The car is still nearly bone stock in this photo but only weeks after this photo was taken the passenger side front fender was damaged in an accident on Bellflower Blvd. This lead to the first customizing, removing some of the trim pieces, leading in the holes suggested by his new friend Gary McNaugth. Adding the first wild pinstriping, and later more body work by Ed Schelhaas, and paint by George Newton, Ed Schelhaas his painter.

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    This photo from the Larry Watson Collection shows Larry's Chevy after the accident at the Bellflower Clock Drive-In. The repair work was done at Artesia Auto Body and Gary McNaught who would become good friends with Larry told Larry he much better have the emblem holes filled than replace them with new emblems. This was the first custom work done to the car. And this was without Larry realizing it his introduction in his new life long career.

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    This blurry photo from after the accident shows that the passenger door was also dented a bit.

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    When Artesia Auto Body was done with the repair work on Larry's car its was time for Larry to lay down his first set of stripes. Gary McNaught has become a close friend after Larry's mishap with the Chevy. And Gary was a real Custom Car nut, he taught Larry everything he knew about them. Together they went out to Barris to see some Von Dutch stripes, but instead found Dean Jeffries, who was not to keen to show young Larry Watson his secrets at all. Eventually Larry bought his first striping brush in a Long Beach art supply store. With a copy of the March issue of Rod & Custom with the feature on Art Summers how to pinstripe, and moral support of Greg Larry put down his very first pin striping strokes on his own 1950 Chevy. Larry used copper metallic paint for this, and it took him a whole weekend of trial and error to get the first straight lines on his Chevy. Later the next week he would do the hood and trunk, in what was already his own unique style of striping.

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    A bit later Larry had the Lakewood Body Shop shave the trunk of his Chevy. ANd back home Larry added some wild pin striping to it. He was just experimenting, knowing it would be repainted in while anyway. In the meantime Larry's striping had been noticed at school and the drive-ins and Customers would line up to get Larry to stripe their cars. With the money eared with this Larry had the customizing done, and would continue doing so in the very near future.

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    In the meantime Larry had installed a set of custom made hubcaps using 1955 and 1956 Oldsmobile Fiesta hubcaps. One day while driving the car with McNaught searching for parts at the loacl wrecking yards the hood flew open and damaged the front fenders, and more important cracked the windshield. Larry drove the car to Ed Schelhaas who would install a one piece 1950 Oldsmobile windshield, repair the damage, and install the 1953 Chevy grille with extra teeth. Ed also lowered the car by stepping the A-arms 5 inches, and also cutting the front coils for even more lowering. The frame was modified with cut out notches in the back, the floor tunnel was raised so that the drove shaft would clear. The springs where de-arched and with the 6 inch lowering blocks it would lower the back end 8 inches. The gas tank also had to be raised up into the trunk to make sure it would not hit the ground. A set of 1956 Buick side trims was installed along with the lake pipes which made the car even lower than it already was. George Newton painted the car in 1956 Oldsmobile Rosemist metallic with ivory white below the Buick trim. The car was upholstered in white vinyl and rose lavender heart shaped pleated inserts at Pacific Custom in Bellflower.

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    In November 1956 the front of Larry's Chevy was heavily damaged by a drunk driver. This damage of coarse led to a new round of Customizing.
    This time Jay Johnston was the person to work on the Chevy. Jay removed the ribbed lower end sections of a 1953 Chevy grille surround and molded it together with eh front splash pan smooth into the front fenders. The hood corners where left stock which give a nice sharp edge to the molded front end. But Jay did peak the hood with a nice subtile peak to break up the bulbous hood shape. Jay also installed the 1956 Oldsmobile headlights and peaked the front fenders to follow the peak on the headlights bezels. At the back Jay opened up the rear fenders at the front to create some nice scoops. Reworked quarter panels have a nice shape flowing into the new scoop. Jay also reworked the rear of the fenders to except turned upside down 1954 Mercury taillights. The door handles where also shaped and used the lower side trim pieces to motivate the electronic switches to pop the doors open. Larry wanted to see if he could fit some more 1953 Chevy grille teeth in the grille surround. The car had 13 teeth already, and everybody knew that was the max he could get in. But Larry cut a 1/4 inch of the sides of each teeth, smooth the sides and by doing so was able to get a much tighter looking grille, and with an additional 4 extra grille teeth in the molded in surround. Jay put some coats of black primer on the car, and a few weeks later Larry wanted Damon Richey to paint his custom in a 1956 Oldsmobile Rose Mist, just as Larry had before the accident. But Jay Johnstons once two tone purple shoebox Ford photos he had seen made him decided otherwise. Larry had some purple mixed up from different toners and metallic powders, and after a few nice but not perfect colors the mix resulted in this wonderful grape color that Larry was looking after. And even though Larry had not mixed the paint himself, this can be seen as the first custom mixed color by Larry Watson, he supervised the color. Damon Richey used many coats to get the rich effect. And according to Larry they used over 5 gallons of paint. The lavender metallic - which was also custom mixed - on the lower body part took far less, but also required multiple layers for the rich effect Larry was looking for. This photo here shows the car with a young Larry Watson in what is the best known and most popular version of Larry Watson's Grapevine.

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    Here is a nice black and white photo of the Grapevine in the purple and lavender version taken by Al Paloczy at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills cemetery.

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    Night photo of the interior of Larry Watson's grapevine when it was painted grape with lavender. The interior did not change much when the exterior changed. The laminated dash knobs - created by Gary Niemie - where done after a while as can be seen in this slightly fuzzy and overexposed photo. It does show that the interior on Larry's Chevy was very nicely done, with a lot of attention to details.

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    After another mishap with his Chevy, Larry Watson took his Chevy once more to Jay Johnston's shop. Jay sprayed on the first coats of the Rosemist metallic lacquer which Larry had chosen for the new updated Grapevine. The next day Larry would add several more coats of the same paint on his Chevy. After a week Larry and his friend McNaught color sanded the fresh paint, had it had rubbed and waxed. Larry wanted to try something new on his car and with Gary looking over his shoulder Larry laid out the wonderful shaped scallops, that would create a whole new look on this 1950 Chevy. Larry painted the scallops in silver metallic and outlined them with a nice fine black outline. The new version would also be without the skirts which gave the car a different looks again, and a Larry added a set of Appleton Spotlights. Larry had now painted at least part of his own car, added the scallops and striping. So now it was a real rolling ad for him. This night time photo was taken by Lowell Helms and this photo with the Watson logo exposed into it was probably a promotional item that Larry gave away as a sort of business card.

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    This great line up of cars photo from the Larry Watson Personal Collection was taken at the Merrymens Car Club show in Wilmington at the Catalina Steamship Terminal. And all cars in the photo belong to the Rennegades car club members from Long Beach. From left to right we can see; Jim Griepsma 1934 Ford, Larry's 1950 Chevy in its first version with the chrome 1953 grille surround, Ray Moore's 1952 Ford, Duane Steck's 1954 Chevy "Moonglow", Jim Hagen's 1954 Ford Sedan, and Bill Burnett's 1955 Ford Crown Victoria before the scallops, and before the later Larry Watson root-beer and lime paint job.

    http://images60.fotki.com/v224/photos/0/223020/9568399/LarryWatsonRennegadesLineUp-vi.jpg




    This version of the Jim Doss 1958 Chevy by Larry Watson is perhaps my most favorite of all the custom 1958 Chevies. The mild body modifications is really all these cars really need. Removal of the most of the trim pieces including the fake rear quarter scoops. And the best thing for all 1958 Chevy Impala's the front bulbous portion of the side trim replacing with the rear portion. This gives such an elegant feel to the side of the body that you really wonder why they had not thought about that at the factory. There is a small peek added to the leading edge of the roof scoop, a nice touch than can be spotted good in this photo. The six taillight where replaced with a single taillight unit from a 1959 Pontiac Catalina and looks like it came that way from the factory. The rocker panel trim was also removed and to help lowering the body a set of lake pipes was installed. The car also had a set of Bellflower pipes, but they where almost hidden out of sight. The car was lowered with cut coils for the perfect ride hight. Four bar lancers - the perfect hubcaps for this car - where installed as well as a set of dummy Spotlights. Walkers Body Shop from Bakersfield Ca. - the home town of Jimm Doss - was responsible for the body work on the 1958 Chevy. Larry Watson applied a fine metallic gold to the body and masked of a wonderfully styled outline and then covered the body with a wonderful shade of candy green. Then outlined everything in white striping with a small amount of elegant pin striping on the trunk. For the interior Jim had all the garnish molding plated and the rest was upholstered in a matching gold and white tuck&roll. Later Larry would add more panels to this car, but this first version is my all time favorite. And I have always wondered by nobody is cloning this version of this car. I would call this Custom Car perfection.

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    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012
  13. lukey
    Joined: May 27, 2009
    Posts: 668

    lukey
    Member

    Any info on the purple 57 in the shop?


    -LUKEY-
     

    Attached Files:

  14. JeffreyJames
    Joined: Jun 13, 2007
    Posts: 16,612

    JeffreyJames
    Member
    from SUGAR CITY

    Rikster thanks so much man for that Grapevine timeline. Incredible stuff for probably one of my top 3 customs of all time. I love that damn car especially the version with the scallops.
     
  15. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,781

    Rikster
    Member

    Only a name Chans but no other info. There is one other photo of this car in the collection... a side view.
     
  16. Kripfink
    Joined: Sep 30, 2008
    Posts: 2,040

    Kripfink
    Member Emeritus

    Yes, the scalloped version of the Grapevine is my favourite too. Did I read somewhere that this version was renamed the heartless? Was this down to Larry, or did someone else have it by then? I know Larry sold it on in this version and just wondered whether the renaming came before or after the sale.
    Paul
     
  17. "Ed also lowered the car by stepping the A-arms 5 inches, and also cutting the front coils for even more lowering."

    Has anybody ever seen a picture of what the A-arms looked like?
     
  18. I always come back to this thread.......its awsome!!
     
  19. Somebody correct me if I am wrong, but I believe it was named "Heartless" when Larry had the interior done with a heart theme. And I believe this was done during the first customized version. With the rosemist metallic on the top portion of the car and the ivory below the Buick trim. I've always been surprised I have not seen any clones of this version of the car.
     
  20. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,781

    Rikster
    Member

    One of Larry Watson wildest paint jobs must have been the multi colored scalloped chopped and sculptured 1955 Mercury for Dave Kyte. Larry used a pearl white as the base for a dramatic scallop/panel job in lime green, or light gold, candy burnt orange and candy purple fades. Dave's Mercury had wonderful sculptured rear fenders. DeSoto front bumper/grille, and great looking to to often seen chopped top on this type of car. Four bar lancer hubcaps and slight forward rake give it the perfect California style for the late 1950's early 1960's. The black and white photo as well as the color inset photo where taken at the Watson Rosecrans Blvd shop, while Larry was standing on the neighboring building roof top. The black and white photo also shows a small portion of Larry's own 1958 T-Bird in its last panel and fade version.

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    Great black&white photo of Dave Kyte's 1955 chopped Mercury in front of Larry's Rosecrans blvd shop wall. Int a way it is to bad this shot is not in color, since both Dave's Mercury and Larry's Shop wall are so extremely colorful. But perhaps it was done in black and white to be easier on our eyes. The colors of both combined might have been to much! nah... But anyway this is a really nice photo that shows that it has been pined to a wall for a long time gathering lots of dirt.

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    Color photo of Larry Lorenzo 1950 Mercury convertible from the Larry Watson Personal Collection.
    I have not been able to figure out where and when this photo was taken, but it was after the black and white photo I showed of this car some time ago. Since then the hubcaps where removed, and it was now for sale… can you imagine buying a chopped 1950 mercury convertible with padded top for $ 695.- I know its probably in the early 1960's but still even then it was not a bad price. It does say a lot about how un cool it must have been to drive a early 1950's styled Custom car, dispute the wild Dean Jeffries flames.

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    I have shows the 1957 Pontiac of Jack Van Tassel painted by Larry Watson before. And even of this same situation. But it was a different photo, taken more from behind. This photo from the Larry Watson Collection shows the car much better, and even gives us a bit better view of the unidentified panel painted 1955 Mercury parked in front of it. This photo and several others where taken at Larry's Rosecrans Blvd shop in 1959. Its to bad its so dark in the shop, would have been great to be able to take a look in there as well. Jack's Pontiac is an amazing mild custom that looks so great in the Lime/Gold larry chose for it. The car was just mildly customized with some trim removal and shaving of the door and trunk handles. But luckily they left the wonderful Pontiac side trim and taillights chrome in place. In this photo we can see some Burnt Orange panels and striping inside the side trim. That was a details that was added to the car after a while. At first it was just in a single color. The lake and bellflower pipes, four bar color-coded hubcaps and perfect stance make this car a really great looking custom. And apparently Larry liked it enough to take at least 8 photos of this one… and we are glad he did.

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  21. froghawk
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 852

    froghawk
    Member

    Such a contrast in vision between the cars in these two photos. The Kyte '55 Merc is just "too much" and not in a good way. It looks even crazier in the color photo. I have to wonder if what Larry did on this car was mostly dictated by a customer who didn't have a lot of taste.

    The Pontiac and the green/white '55 Merc Monterey ahead of it (and the first version of the Doss '58 Impala) represent what I love about Larry's best work. Beautiful colors, flawlessly applied, in relatively simple patterns that refine and enhance the car's original design.
     
  22. palat
    Joined: Oct 19, 2007
    Posts: 80

    palat
    Member

    Yes me too.
    Thanks Rik for so much American Automotive Custom History.
     
  23. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,781

    Rikster
    Member

    Todays photo from he Larry Watson Personal Collection is this very nicely done unidentified 1956 Mercury. I have asked around about this car for some time, and nobody seems to remember the owners name. So perhaps showing it here might give some more info on the history on this car. It happened before, so I hope it will happen again with this great looking mild Custom. The body was smoothed, and most of the trim, except for the characteristic side trim pieces was removed, even the door handles where replaced with electrical solenoids. Not visible in this photo are the removal of the vertical grille bars at the bottom which help clean up the front of the car. The suspension was reworked for a much lower stance and the lake pipes and Bellflower tips at the back make it look even lower. The Dodge four bar lancer hubcaps where painted root beer in the center to match the body, and mounted on gold painted wheels. Larry Painted the body in a wonderful candy root beer and outlined it in lime gold. Larry created a much larger outline around the body main character lines than he usually did, and around this heavy outline he created another outline in gold. Except the outlines around the corm trim below the side windows and on the top. Those where outlined in a double, heavy white tripping. A set of spotlights and a full white tuck&roll interior make this car a wonderful sample of late 1950's customizing. This photo was taken at a location that was used for a photo shoot of several Watson cars, together and each individual, not sure where this was, but it looks to be some sort of school, or a office building.

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    Mitch Nagao's 1957 T-Bird at the Bill DeCarr/Larry Watson Artesia Blvd. shop in the early 1960's. This T-Bird was customized by the Barris Shop. The car was for sale at the time this photo was taken. Inside the shop in the shadow sits Terry Hollaway 1957 Plymouth with fresh customizing work being done by Bill DeCarr.

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    A nice snapshot of the 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix Larry painted for Doug Carney. The photo it taken in front of Larry's 17412 Lakewood Blvd. shop and shows the great paint job that Larry created with pearls and candy paint and what is known as the very first lace painted Custom. Smooth body with most of the trim and handles removed, nice stance, and whire wheels on thin line white wall tires… One very cool ride.

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    This is a photo from the Larry Watson Collection that I always liked. The diagonal angle it was taken on in combination with the background and the slightly distorted flamed cars makes this photo look so cool. On the left we can see the Bill Hines customized and Larry Watson painted and flamed 1957 Corvette of Pinky Richards. The other car is Walt Drew's 1961 Dodge painted and flamed by Larry Watson.

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  24. Rocky Famoso
    Joined: Mar 30, 2008
    Posts: 3,000

    Rocky Famoso
    BANNED

    I have to agree. The Kyte '55 Merc. is certainly not representative of Larry Watson's sense of style, and color coordination.
    ...
     
  25. Lucky444
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 1,151

    Lucky444
    Member

    [​IMG]

    Unbelievable, the humble beginnings!

    Even the Grapevine was once a quiet old stockie before becoming a landmark Custom.
     
  26. froghawk
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 852

    froghawk
    Member

    Oh my god... I wouldn't have thought it possible that there'd be a car that would hit me harder than the first version of Larry's own T-bird or the Jack James '57 Buick, but this is it! Nothing we haven't seen before in his other work but this is just a flat-out masterpiece of the style. Would really like to see a front shot with those short bars out of the grill, sounds just right; a simple refinement of the factory design.

    Now I just have to scrape up the cash for the Modelhaus 1/25th resin '56 Merc kit!
     
  27. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,781

    Rikster
    Member

    Another great Larry Watson Photo of Jack van Tassel's 1957 Pontiac. What else do you want… fantatict candy lime gold with burnt orange accent Larry Watson paint on a mildly customized 1957 Pontiac photographed in front of one of the most popular shop walls of all time.

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    Nice situation photo taken at Larry's 17412 Lakewood Blvd. shop. Custom paint work on the Buick Riviera parked in front of the shop. Behind it a Customized mid 1950's T-Bird with extended front fenders and a Watson paintjob. Inside the shop we can see a Watson employee taping off another car to get ready for a Watson paint job. The employee wears a Koloring by "the animal" t-shirt the name Watson used for a while.

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    Close up of Larry Watson (left) and Gary Mc Nutt taping the complex scallops on Saint Vasquez his 1950 Chevy Convertible. Larry had previously added some striping, and some gold scallops to this car. But now it was time for the ultra scallops The scallops that would earn Saint a lot of awards. This photo shows the metalflake detailed hubcaps, and the old scallops on the hood that Larry did previously and which will be covered up with the new scallops. It is also amazing to see the size of Tape Larry is using to lay out the design of the scallops. This photo was taken in front of Larry's first shop at 1016 E Artesia in North Long Beach.

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  28. flyin-t
    Joined: Dec 29, 2004
    Posts: 1,354

    flyin-t
    Member

    Pretty amazing shirt Mc Nutt is wearing considering the time.

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  29. Kripfink
    Joined: Sep 30, 2008
    Posts: 2,040

    Kripfink
    Member Emeritus

    I've just checked Rik's website and the above photo had to have been taken some time in 58/59 at the latest. Anyone got any idea of how that metal flake hubcap would've been done that early? I've always been led to believe that metal flake wasn't available until 61, and that looks like a pretty big flake for way back too.
    Paul
     
  30. Looking at Larry's socks, it's not hard to figure out the inspiration for his shop sign :cool:
     

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