13 June 2011

Larry Watson's Personal Photo Collection

In Kustoms Illustrated issue no. 28 Rik Hoving has started a new series of articles on the Larry Watson Photo Collection, a collection of absolutely amazing photos and snapshots.
Since there are so many photos in this collection there is no way these can all be printed in the magazine, or even in books. So he's started to share some of them on his daily post on his Facebook and also on his Custom Car Photo Archive site.

Larry Watson's legacy is tantamount in the history of customs. His body of work will endure the test of time. Good taste is timeless...Viva Larry Watson !!!

More from here and here. Words below by Rik Hoving.

Top: This is a really cool photo of the Shop from where Bill DeCarr worked.
In the photo we can see Larry's 1959 Caddy parked in front of the shop.
We can also see Terry Holloway's 1957 Plymouth, and that car is most likely in for a redo at Bill's shop. The car was first painted in this wonderful olive green with beige, and was later redone with new molded in with bumperete front- and rear-end. It is parked on the left side in this photo. There is another 59 Caddy, and what looks like a 1955? Buick and a 1959 Chevy, all crammed in in front of the Ed's Auto Service Shop. This is the Shop that Bill DeCarr took over from Ed Schelhaas, and Larry would rent a spray booth from Bill. Bill and Larry where very good friends... like brothers.

Larry's Firestone Blvd. Shop

This very clean 1953 Ford Convertible was painted by Larry in one of his trademark outline paneled paint jobs. This time in candy red over gold with - hard to see in this photo - white striping. The car had been mildly customized with de-chromed and shaved body. Custom hubcaps and an aftermarket tube grille. Larry's shop was is the perfect backdrop...

Larry Watson painted Ron Aguirre's Corvette the "X-Sonic" several times. This Platinum Pearl and Royal candy blue fogging version was done in 1963. Larry took this photo of the car and must have really liked it. Most likely it was hanging on his shop or office wall for a years hence the faded colors.

Here is another photo of the Bill DeCarr Shop (former Ed Schelhaas) where Larry rented a space to paint his Custom Cars. I now have been able to identify this as the shop located at 10116 Artesia Boulevard, Bellflower, CA. and this was around 1960. The car is a wonderful mild customized 1958 Chevy owned by Dave Roberson. Painted Cherry burgundy over platinum pearl. Front of the side trim is swapped with a rear fender piece. Nice sculptured front fender tops. The interior is done in wonderful white tuck&roll. And we can see the Johnny Zupan/Bettancourt Mercury sitting against the wall behind the car. The building which is actually next door to Bill and Larry's shop is still standing today, and so is the shop.

Here is a photo of bike that Larry painting. The paint almost looks like a semi gloss black, but in fact it is a pearl or platinum black. In the background we can see the 1955 Studebaker of Dick Gonzales....

This photo, taken at another Watson Shop shows the Watson painted Jaguar for H.O. MacLean. The paint job in Candy Gold cost a staggering $165.00... In the back ground we can see Jim Streets (Skonzakis) Golden Sahara truck. This was the truck Jim got to drive around the Golden Sahara. Bill DeCarr customized it with among other things a 1960 Mercury grille, and Larry Watson painted it. This is the first version of the truck, later on it was redone with more custom work, and a flake gold paint-job.

Another very interesting photo of the Artesia Blvd. shop is this one where Ed Roth is pushing his Rotar around. Perhaps pushing it into Larry's Paint booth with is at the end of this drive way...
We can see the Jeep again on the right side, and the hay trucks across the street.

This photo of Bill DeCarr working on a Model A Roadster for owner David C. Martin was taken at his Artesia Blvd. Shop. The Hot Rod had a Buick engine, sectioned 32 Ford grille, and a 1940 Ford Dash which was filled and had new round gauge pods grafted in. Bill can be seen here working on the rolled panel on the bottom of the body, perhaps there was a full belly pan. The 1959 El Camino sitting in the back is Jerry Preston's Custom that Bill worked on and that was later painted by Larry Watson.

Larry Watson was best known for his Custom Car paint jobs. But we have now seen he did some Hot Rods, quite a few bikes, and with this photo we can also see he did a couple of boats as well. Powerful speeds boats where very popular in the 1960's and you could see them all customized at any Custom Car show around the US. So it was only natural for Larry to show his talent on some of these. Nice SHop photo showing a Watson painted Corvair to the right. A Hemi powered wonderful painted and upholstered boat, and Corvette getting ready for a new paint job.

Just another day at the Bill DeCarr / Larry Watson Artesia Boulevard in Bellflower Shop... The "helpers" are prepping and/or buffing the cars in the drive way of the shop. A great view of the Louis Bettancourt/Johnny Zupan 1949 Mercury. Bill had added Studebaker pans to the car, both front and rear, and installed Quad headlights, and had just covered it in dark grey primer...

Larry Watson painted both cars in this photo. The 1961 Dodge - silver & purple flames - belongs to Walt Drews, and the 1957 Corvette red & black peper flames belongs to Pinky Richards. Walt Drews is the father of Mark Drews who now owns the Bob Creasman 1940 Ford coupe with fade away fenders.

Unidentified 1958 Pontiac mild custom with a slightly off white pearl paint job by Larry Watson. Not long after this Larry would add a thin blue turquoise outline around all the body edges. But this simple version looks so good already!

Another Larry Watson Pontiac paint job... But this time it is one from 1957, painted a lime gold candy over a shaved body. The car is lowered, four bar spinner hubcaps on medium white wall tires. Both lake- and Bellflower-pipes. The photo with the unknown owners girlfriend or wife was taken on the side of Larry's Rosecrans blvd. Bellflower Shop.

Larry Watson painted this unidentified mildly customized 1955 Pontiac in a dark Fuchsia with lavender flames. The photo taken at one of the indoor car shows in the early to mid 1960's shows Doug Vido's 1960 Pontiac - butterscotch pearl with red fades - in the back ground. Buick wire wheels and thin white walls where the best choice to run on your custom.

Fresh out of the paint booth is the 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix Larry painted with the first lace paint job for Doug Carney. Larry is doing some fine tune work on the paint. This car looks so good... but it must have been a sensation when it was first done and shown and driven around. 

Larry's 9012 Rosecrans blvd. Bellflower Shop has been a perfect location for some very nice group shots. James Potter shot some incredible photo there with a bunch of Larry Watson painted Custom cars in different set ups. Larry took the opportunity and shot a lot of photos himself as well. Perhaps not as bright and sharp as James Potter's transparencies and negatives. But they are incredible beautiful anyway. We can see the 1957 Pontiac I posted a few days ago, as well as Larry's own 58 T-Bird, the Chopped 1956 Mercury with super wild paint job, and another 58 T_bird painted in a similar way as Larry's own custom...

Here is a photo that Larry took in November 1959 of his own 1959 Cadillac in front of the Bill DeCarr shop.

Larry Watson and Pinky Richards stand next to Pinky's 1957 red & black peper flamed Corvette. Looks like everybody tried to looks like Larry.The car went thru several faces first in a lime yellow paint with pinstriped flames on the cove panel. Later Larry repainted it in red with the flames that can be seen here. And added some extra striping to the flames in the cove. Bill Hines gets credit for the body work on the car.

There are several photo of the 1957 Ford Thunderbird that was restyled by Barris Kustoms for Mitch Nagao, in the Watson Collection. It looks like this photo was taken at Bill's Artesia Blvd. shop. Perhaps Mitch was looking into further modifying his 1957 T-Bird by Bill, or perhaps for a new paint-job by Larry....

Ed Borgotte owned this just a little lower than stock 1957 Pontiac. The only customizing we can see are the hubcaps, and the wonderful Larry Watson paint job. Ed paid Larry $170.- for a complete pearl light green with candy green insert paint job. This was on May 13, 1960.

Larry Watson painted Willys coupe... I have to say that I don't really care much for Willys.... But this one with the Watson paint job and the wheels the thin line white wall tires and the stance does work for me. The Busonic in the shop looks to have soma damage repair work done to it.

Genes Muffler Shop was next to one of the Watson shops, and they also sold custom/hot rod wheels in their House of Rim's shop. Larry Watson painted this 1959 Chevy sedan delivery in a wonderful pale pearl yellow. Together with the custom wheels that changed a lot on this car this was a perfect rolling billboard for the shop...

Ricky Cooper had several cars painted by Larry Watson. And Ricky loved rainbows. So Larry painted the perfect candy rainbows over pearl paint on at least three of his cars. In this photo we can see two of them. In once of the bills from larry that he saved we can read that the total bill for one of these 16 coats Acrylic Lacquer candy over pearl paint jobs cost $650.- in 1971, and this included sand rub and wax! I wonder if one of these cars is still around.

Here is a great - black and white - photo from the Larry Watson Collection. Calvin Wiekamp 1955 Mercury mild custom which was nosed and decked, lowered and a Watson lavender pearl with silver and purple faded striped scalloped paint job. Larry outlined the oddly painted scallops in white striping. The car was called the Snake wagon... for obvious reasons. This great shot shows Larry's Grapevine in the back ground...

Here is a rare photo that Larry took of his Grapevine Chevy showing the gold wheels with the hubcaps and skirts off. Perhaps he took the photo with the car just being put together after Damon Richey had painted it with 1956 Olds Rose Mist metallic below the trip. And a dark metallic purple that Larry had custom mixed by Joe Sheline. Larry got inspired by the colors after seeing Jay Johnston's 1950 Shoebox. Jay's Shoebox was Purple with a lavender top before Jay painted it Coral and orange as it was on the Car Craft cover. Later on Larry learned how to paint from Jay.
This picture of Larrys car was taken at Bellflower High School, where Larry went to school, and which was close to his parents home. He didn't graduate though, he would park his car in the corner of teachers lot. The principal told him not to park there or he would be suspended, he said he had a business going and needed to advertise with his car. And he didn't need a diploma to make money.

Parked in front of the Bill DeCarr & Larry Watson shop at Artesia Blvd is this wonderful chopper painted by Larry. A very nice chopper with some really nice body work, and of coarse Larry's wonderful panel paint in Fuchsia over pearl white. And another feature I really like are the clear red plex, custom shaped pedals. Also notice the 1946-48 Ford bumpers on the 1940 Ford Coupe sitting in front of it.

1 comment:

  1. In Kustoms Illustrated issue no. 28 Rik Hoving has started a new series of articles on the Larry Watson Photo Collection, a collection of absolutely amazing photos and snapshots.Click Here