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Larry Watson 55 Fords




Two nearly identical, yet totally different Larry Watson painted ’55 Fords from late 1959, early 1960.

[dropcap]L[/dropcap]arry watson is known for picking just the right color combinations or paint designs for the right cars. Larry had the skills to create a custom look with nothing but paint. Most of the times the customer handed over their car to Larry, and let the master do his magic. In this article we show you two¬†1955 Ford Crown Victoria’s¬†painted by Larry. Two similar styled Customs, one with a bit more custom restyling done than the other, but both with a similar simple but effective paint-job. One of these cars we know Larry did the complete opposite of what the owner wanted, with striking results. The other, the pearl pink and raspberry candy Victoria, remains unidentified as we write this.

[box_light]This article shows a selection of photos of 1955 Ford Crown Victoria¬†Customs painted by Larry Watson. Most of these¬†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. Special thanks to Roger O’Dell for scanning this amazing material and sharing them thru the Custom Car Chronicle.[/box_light]

CCC-larry-watson-55-fords-03Larry Quatrone 1955 Ford Crown Victoria freshly painted by Larry Watson at his Rosecrans Blvd shop in Bellflower Ca.

Larry Quatrone ’55 Ford

Before Larry Watson painted this 1955 Ford the car was owned by Bill Burnett. Bill had Ed Schelhaas do the body work on his Ford, which included the installation of the 1954 Chevy grille with extra teeth and 1956 Packard taillights in extended rear fenders. Ed also shaved the body emblems and the door handles. The stock headlight rings where molded to the front fenders for a smooth look. Then the car was painted bronze. Dean Jeffries was hired to add gold scallops outlined with a heavy white pin striping. This is how the car was featured in the September 1957 issue of Custom Cars magazine, and in the Custom Cars 1959 Annual. That same year Bill sold the car to Larry Quatrone who enjoyed it as it was for a while.

CCC-larry-watson-55-fords-01 Two page feature in the September 1957 issue of Custom Cars magazine showed the car when it was owned by Bill Burnett.

CCC-larry-watson-55-fords-02 Hod rod magazine photo shows the car with fake wire wheel hubcaps, and gives us a nice look at the Dean Jeffries scallops and pin-striping as well as the 54 Chevy grille with extra teeth.

Then in late 1959 Larry¬†took the car – after the car¬†got some minor damage in a small mishap at the stop lights – to Larry Watson for a new paint job. The body damage was first fixed and Larry ¬†Watson painted the car, against the owners advise in a wonderful candy root beer with a pearl lime green top. Larry Q. always loved bue’s and really wanted the car to be painted a two tone blue. But Larry thought differently, and decided the car really needed a rather¬†unique color combination. According to Larry Watson, Larry Q, as well as many other people did not care for the color combination at first, but slowely Larry as well as other people got to like the color combination, just because it was so special and unique. In this remake Larry Q decided to remove the customized fender skirts and raise the rear a few inches, to change the stance from slight tail-dragging to a slight forward rake.

CCC-larry-watson-55-fords-06 The Ford has been lowered moderately, 1956 Dodge hubcaps with four extra teeth and a gold painted center bullet are used on wide white wall tires. The interior was kept as Bill had customized it in white tuck & roll with black inserts.

CCC-larry-watson-55-fords-08 At the rear we can see the 1956 Packard taillights  in the extended and reshaped rear fenders. The bright and unusual color combination looks amazing from this view.

Dean Jeffries has also added white pin striping to the dash when Bill owned the car. Larry Q, did like the pinstriping. So Larry Watson only repainted the lower half of the dash. Larry used pearl white which he blended in with the body color.
The car sits just perfect with the right white wall hubcaps combination an no skirts for the theme perfectly. The exterior is very clean with no pin striping glittering the subtile body work and perfect paint. But this photo shows the heavy pin striped dash inside, which was a left over from the time that Bill Burnett still owned the car, and was done by Dean Jeffries.

CCC-larry-watson-55-fords-04The shaved door handles and Ford and Victoria emblems clean up the side of the car. This photo also shows the chrome plated garnish molding a little.

CCC-larry-watson-55-fords-07Enlarged section of the rear 3/4 photo shows the original Dean Jeffries pin-striping still in place on the top portion of the dashboard.

CCC-larry-watson-55-fords-05Close up of the front shows the dummy spotlights, the slightly reshaped grille opening with 1954 Chevy grille with extra teeth, and a gold painted bullet in the paring light center. The same gold painted bullets were also used on all found customized Dodge hubcaps.

Pearl Pink & Raspberry Victoria

The second car in this article is the unidentified mild 1955 Ford Crown Victoria done in pearl pink and raspberry candy. Sadly none of the two photos Larry Watson had in his Personal Collection have any name attached to the car. If somebody does recognize this car, and knows who was the owner back in late 1959, or early 1960, please let us know. This Ford is a bit less customized¬†than Larry Q’s version above. However what was done was a very nice addition and makes the bright paintwork look even better.

CCC-larry-watson-55-fords-09Photographed at the same location as Larry Q’s Ford in front of the Rosecrans Blvd shop.

The emblems on the hood, and most likely on the trunk where shaved. However the body side enblems and door handles remained on the car with the exception of the V8 emblem on the front fenders which was shaved. The stock grille was replaced with an aftermarket chrome tube version. I looks like the front suspension was dropped slightly for a slight forward rake. The car had medium wide white wall tires with color detailed 1959 Dodge Lancer hubcaps installed. The car was further dressed up with a set of spotlights which were scalloped in body color and a set of lake pipes. The color combination has a certain female touch, and perhaps the hanging cloth in the back might indicate this car was indeed for a woman. Perhaps the owner asked for this specific color combination, or perhaps Larry thought that these two colors just fitted the car of this owner the best.

CCC-larry-watson-55-fords-10Close up of the front shows the non-molded stock headlight rings, the chrome tubular grille, the scalloped dummy spots and painted hubcaps centers.

CCC-larry-watson-55-fords-11Close of of the interior shows that on both sides of the car  several shirts and or coats hang from the rear quarter garnish moldings.

CCC-larry-watson-55-fords-12Roger O’Dell made several scans of the photos of this car, and this one shows the color of the car really nice.

CCC-larry-watson-55-fords-13The dead on side view shows the slight forward rake of the car, which looks great with the forward angle of the B-pillar on the Crown vic. 







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)

One thought on “Larry Watson 55 Fords

  • In the first picture of the Larry Quattrone Ford, a light blue vehicle is seen to the left. That’s a Powell Sportwagon, either a station wagon or pickup; very rare today.

    Powell Manufacturing Company was previously a scooter and small motorcycle manufacturer. They produced the Sportwagon from 1954 to 1957 in nearby Glendale, California. Powell made about 1200 pickups and 300 station wagons, based on Plymouth chassis.

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