Custom Car Chronicle
Larry WatsonLarry Watson Personal Collection

Jack van Tassell’s Pontiac


Larry Watson’s part-time employee Jack van Tassell’s 1957 Pontiac is the perfect example of less is more. A style that became more and more important for Larry in the 1960’s.

Before Larry Watson would apply an amazing brilliant candy lime gold over a pearl base Jack’s Pontiac was cleaned up a bit.The emblems and handles where removed, the suspension lowered for the perfect slightly forward stance. A set of lake pipes as well as bellflower tips were added. And the finishing touch was a set of three bar lancer hubcaps on black wheels and dummy spotlights. Later Jack repainted the wheels dark red and added four bar lancer hubcaps that were detailed in red.

Jack’s Pontiac was created in late 1959- early 1960 while Larry had his most famous shop located at, 9012 Rosecrans blvd. in Bellflower. The parking lot in front of this shop was the perfect location for some very nice group shots. Larry’s wonderful shop wall was a perfect back drop and the parking lot was spacious.  James Potter shot some incredible photos there with a selection of Larry Watson painted Custom cars in different set ups. Larry took this opportunity and shot a lot of snapshots during these photo shoots himself as well. Perhaps not as bright and sharp as James Potter’s transparencies and negatives. But these snapshots are incredible beautiful anyway. Jack’s Pontiac took part in some of the most famous shots in the James Potter Series. We will show you a few of those in this article.

[box_light]The photos in this article 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-larry-watson-tassell-pointiac-11-W Jack’s 1957 Pontiac parked next to Larry Watson’s own 58 T-Bird, followed by Dave Kyte’s Chopped 1956 Mercury with super wild paint job, and another 58 T-bird painted in a similar way as Larry’s own custom.



CCC-larry-watson-tassell-pointiac-06-WJack’s wife poses with the car in front of Larry’s shop wall. An amazing pallet of colors. This car is really a perfect sample of the Custom Cars from the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. It shows that with minimal means a perfect looking custom could be created. Less is more…



CCC-larry-watson-tassell-pointiac-02-WFrom let to right; Jack Van Tassel’s 1957 Pontiac, unidentified candy red with light gold outlined 1957 Ford, Dave Kyte’s 1955 Mercury, Terry Holloway’s 1957 Plymouth, then an unidentified 1958 T-Bird with similar panels as Larry’s own car. It must have been fantastic to view this amazing colorful photo set. Can you imagine how these cars maneuvered on the parking lot for the next set up. 

CCC-larry-watson-tassell-pointiac-01-WJack’s Pontiac in the center.


CCC-larry-watson-tassell-pointiac-05-WJack now has changed the wheels and hubcaps on his car.  Red painted wheels with color detailed four bar spinner hubcaps on medium white wall tires.


CCC-larry-watson-tassell-pointiac-04-WWe love this low angle photo of the Jack’s Pontiac taken in front of Larry’s Rosecrans Blvd shop in 1959.


CCC-larry-watson-tassell-pointiac-07-WThis side view shows the color detailed hubcaps really well, and also shows the new paint details inside the Pontiac side trim. Larry added candy red accents. Carefully outlined and striped graphics add a little more detail to Jacks car.



CCC-larry-watson-tassell-pointiac-08-WJack’s Pontiac parked next to the Rosecrans Blvd Shop. Sitting in front of the Pontiac is a very nicely paneled candy green and white 1955 Mercury





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)

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