Custom Car Chronicle
Larry WatsonLarry Watson Personal Collection

Calvin Wiekamp 55 Mercury




Painted by Larry Watson in late 1957, early 1958 is this mild customized 1955 Mercury with wild scallops in silver and dark purple. The ‘Snake Wagon”.

Calvin Wiekamp from Bellflower,California took his 1955 Mercury Hardtop to Larry for a scallop job. The car was mildly customized with lowered suspension, emblem removal from the fenders, trunk and hood. The grille teeth section as removed for a more aggressive look. Calvin had full length lake pipes and dummy spotlights installed and a set of three bar flipper hubcaps on medium white wall tires to fit the style of the era it was built. The interior in bright red and white tuck and roll with a bright red dash and steering wheel look brilliant in the lavender metallic paint.

Larry was aways looking for new ideas and something different to do on each car he worked on, especially in the early years. For  Calvin’s Mercury he designed flowing scallops and spade shaped elements for the fenders. And to make them really special he painted them in silver for the base. This was followed with a fading stripe pattern done in very dark purple. The completed scallops were outlined in white. The end result was a very wild paint job that made it into quite a few magazines. Because of the looks of the stripped scallops Larry nick named the car ‘ Snake Wagon”. Most likely this wild paint job on Calvin’s Mercury got Larry a lot of new customers. However this style of fogged scallops would not be repeated by Larry.

[box_light]This article shows a selection of photos of a car painted by Larry Watson. The photos come from the Larry Watson Personal Photo Collection. More on Larry’s personal collection can be found in the Larry Watson section on the CCC-Site. Or on the Custom Car Photo Archive.[/box_light]


CCC-calvin-wiecamp-55-merc-14-WFrom this birds eye point of view you can see the “movement” the shape and pattern of the scallops create. This photo was most likely taken by Jim Potter and a print given to Larry, for his own personal Collection.

CCC-calvin-wiecamp-55-merc-01-WA young Calvin Weikamp standing proud with his Larry watson scalloped 1955 Mercury.



CCC-calvin-wiecamp-55-merc-08-WIt looks like several of Larry Watson painted customs drove out to a park for a photo shoot. Possibly with James Potter as the photograver. In the background of this photo we can see Larry’s Grapevine 1950 Chevy, and possibly another car as well.

CCC-calvin-wiecamp-55-merc-05-WThe top of the front and rear fender were decorated with a spade shape, which was painted the same way as the scallops on the rest of the body.

CCC-calvin-wiecamp-55-merc-04-WA good view at the teeth less grille opening.

CCC-calvin-wiecamp-55-merc-12-WA close up of the chrome detailed engine also gives us a nice look at the pin-striping around the spades shaped section on the front fender.

CCC-calvin-wiecamp-55-merc-11-WThe trunk was also nicely upholstered just as the rest of the car. Most likely the red carpet used in the car was also used in the trunk. With the rest done in white pleated leatherette.

CCC-calvin-wiecamp-55-merc-10-WSadly we only have black and white photos showing the full interior in the Mercury. This must have been an spectacular sight in bright red with white.

CCC-calvin-wiecamp-55-merc-02-WThe side view shows how low the Mercury really is.

CCC-calvin-wiecamp-55-merc-15-WTwo photos (top and bottom) taken by Jim Potter show Larry watson fake painting Al Lazarus his 1955 Chevy. With Calvin’s ’55 Mercury in the background. the blue and baby blue scalloped Chevy is Gerald Twamley ’53 Chevy.



CCC-calvin-wiecamp-55-merc-18-WOne of the several magazines Calvin’s Mercury appeared in. The 1959 Custom Cars Annual spend a full page on the car.


Resources and more info

  • Motor Trend Magazine, February 1958
  • Custom Cars 1959 Annual, Trend Book 175
  • Custom Rodder magazine, November 1959
  • James Potter Kustomland, book by Thom Taylor (ISBN 978-0-7603-2259-8)



(this article is sponsored by)





Rik Hoving

Rik is the CCC editor in chief. As a custom car historian he is researching custom car history for many years. In 2004 he started the Custom Car Photo Archive that has become a place of joy for many custom car enthousiasts. Here at CCC Rik will bring you inspiring articles on the history of custom cars and builders. Like a true photo detective he will show us what's going on in all those amazing photos. He will write stories about everything you want to know in the realm of customizing. In daily life Rik is a Graphic Designer. He is married to the CCC webmaster and the father of a 10 year old son (they are both very happy with his excellent cooking skills)

2 thoughts on “Calvin Wiekamp 55 Mercury

  • I always thought this paint job was cool. Even for Larry Watson (who was ultra-creative) this one was pretty unusual. Off of the top of my head, I can’t really think of any other cars he did that looked quite like this. This one didn’t really receive the accolades it deserved, in my opinion.

  • If, this paint job by Larry didn’t receive the accolades that other Watson cars didit’s for good reason, it was just too bazar and it didn’t enhance the cool Merc lines at all. A good paint design enhances the car and flows with it’s lines, which this Merc didn’t.

Leave a Reply