Larry Watson 56 Chevys

WATSON 56 CHEVYS

Larry Watson painted a lot of ’56 Chevy’s in his long career. Especially in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s these cars done as mild customs with an bright Watson paint job were very popular.

 
[dropcap]A[/dropcap] little while ago we did an showcase of the 1957 Chevy’s Larry Watson had painted. Now it is time to highlight some of the 1956 Chevy’s Larry Watson painted. Another classic car that is very popular among restorers. In the late 1950’s when these cars were still new the guys loved to mildly customize them, lower the suspension, shave the emblems and install chrome tubular grilles that the aftermarket companies offered. A nice set of white wall tires with fancy hubcaps and you had a state of the art custom car in those days. And to make your ’56 really special and you happen to live in SoCal, then the place to go to for your ultimate paint job was Larry Watson. Larry would ad unique colors from bright pearls to deep candies that would create stunning creations from your mildly customized ’56 Chevy.
Lets take a look at some of the ’56 Chevy’s larry Custom Painted.
 
[box_light]This article shows a selection of photos of 1956 Chevy’s painted by Larry Watson. All 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.[/box_light]

 

CCC-larry-watson-56-chevys-02Larry’s purple candy paint job is outstanding on the Chevy. The all white tuck&roll interior even enhances the paint by making it pop even more. The emblems where shaved, but that was as far as the customizing on the body went. The car was mildly lowerd and rides on chromed wheels with medium white wall tires and chrome plated Bellflower exhaust.
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CCC-larry-watson-56-chevys-16Same ’56 Chevy as above from a different angle gives us a better look at the amazing interior on the car. Wonderful very round and deep rolls. And just a hint of the purple fades Larry added on the most likely pearl white dash.
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CCC-larry-watson-56-chevys-13There was only one black and white photo in Larry’s Collection of this really great looking 1956 Chevy two door sedan Custom painted by Larry Watson. The photo was taken at Larry’s home, I think the one on California Ave. in April 1959. The car, unfortunately without an owners name looks really fantastic with the addition of the 1957 Pontiac side trim on the rear quarters, and the outline paint in a contrasting color with bold light colored pin striping following the contours. White interior with contrasting piping, spotlights and custom hubcaps are the trend for your mild custom in the late 1950’s. And this photo shows why… they looks so good.
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CCC-larry-watson-56-chevys-15As with most of the photos in Larry’s Collection this one also does not come with any info, no owners name or anything else. What we can see in this photo is that the front was most likely lowered with hydraulics to get the ultimate forward rake. Larry probably added the pearl baby blue and pearl white on this mildly shaved ’56 Chevy two door sedan.
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CCC-larry-watson-56-chevys-14Blurry black and white  snapshots of a dark painted ’56 Hardtop, with nicely shaped scallops outlined in white. The hood on this Chevy was nosed, but the rear fender still has its emblems. The photo was taken at the Bill Ortega Larry Watson Artesia Blvd shop in 1960.
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CCC-larry-watson-56-chevys-12Another black&white photo from the Larry Watson Collection is this again unidentified 1956 Chevy with a set of really good looking scallops. This photo was also taken in the early 1960’s just as the one above, but a little later  judging the work done on the shop expansion in the background. This Chevy was a little more customized than the sample above. It had al its emblems removed for that ultra smooth look. The grille was replaced with an aftermarket chrome tubular unit, and both lake pipes and bellflower tips where installed after the car was nicely lowered. The car looks fantastic in black&white, and it really makes me wonder how it would have looked in color!
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CCC-larry-watson-56-chevys-11Back in the 1950’s it was rather unusual to see a four door car customized. But that fact did not bother Jim Jackson when he decided to create a nice mild Custom out of his four door 1956 Chevy Bel Air Sport Sedan. Jim did most of the work on his car himself. He lowered the front and rear and added lake pipes to make the car look even lower. The hood and trunk where shaved and the holes filled. The door handles and trim on the side remained on the car. Then Larry Watson added a nice, subtile paint job in pale blue and white, with some very stylish gold/bronze scalops and outlines to the car. The thin outlines around the wheel openings make the body looks slimmer. The extension on the front fenders for the gold paint into a scallop on the hood peak is really nicely done. Larry outlined the gold in white and added some mild white pin triping on the blue paint and some light blue to the white panels. Jim installed spinners on the stock hubcaps which gave the car a nice custom look with the use of original parts. Jim added some dummy spots and a nice two tone interior. Larry also painted a weirdo figure on the front quarter panels.
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CCC-larry-watson-56-chevys-17A complete candy or pearl Larry Watson paint job would set you back $100 to $750.- max, in the early 1960. It depended on the amount of masking needed and if you wanted to have the interior components painted as well. This is one of the couple original invoices left in Larry’s Collection. Sadly there are no photos of the finished car to go with the invoice.
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CCC-larry-watson-56-chevys-10Unidentified 1956 Chevy Hardtop riding on chrome reverse wheels and thin line white wall tires. Larry painted this car in an pale, pearl yellow and candy dark yellow candy on the roof. 
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CCC-larry-watson-56-chevys-09Another yellow painted ’56 Chevy is this candy yellow with off white pearl Bel Air. The car had a slight forward rake and odd wire wheel hubcaps o thin line white wall tires.
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CCC-larry-watson-56-chevys-01John “Buzzy” Busman had Larry work on his mildly customized and lowered 1956 Chevy several times. This photo shows the second version Larry did. The first one was Candy purple with silver flames. Larry added the silver top and combination of outlines and flames when the purple started to crack and fade. Especially the combination of the two techniques works extremely well on this car. Larry had to re-tape the flames he had done on the previous version added some really nice outlines along the outside of the body contours and the side trim. He then added the silver and fogging the tips of the flames in pearl white. Larry also added a heavy pinstripe in gold around the flames and panels.
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CCC-larry-watson-56-chevys-08The third version of  John “Buzzy” Busman’s 1956 Chevy was a little less wild. Larry covered the car nce again in a wonderful candy purple, but this time no flames and the portion behind the side trim was covered in pearl pink. This photo was taken at the Larry Watson/Bill Ortega Artesia Blvd shop in the early 1960’s. The mild lowering and forward rake stance combined with color detailed Lancer four bar hubcaps on white wall’s, Bellflower pipes and an all white tuck&roll interior make an excellent mild custom.
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CCC-larry-watson-56-chevys-07John Drew’s ‘56 Chevy two-door sedan was painted lime-fire metallic with sea-weed flames in candy green with candy root-beer tips over a silver base and pinstriped in black. The car was lowered, a bit more than most other samples. A nice rake with wide whites and three bar spinner hubcaps, full length lake pipes combined with Bellflower top give this car a mean look.
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CCC-larry-watson-56-chevys-06Very nice outline/panel paint job on this rather high 1956 Chevy two-door sedan. Larry added the dark Sunburst Orange candy over gold with fine a white pin striped outline. The perfect paint job to make the heavy 1956 Chevy body look just a bit more elegant. The rake/stance – almost drag race like – is a perhaps a bit odd in combination with the paint scheme, but I guess its what the owner liked. This is the only photo of this car in the collection, and sadly we have no info as to who owned it.
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CCC-larry-watson-56-chevys-05Larry Watson painted this mild customized 1956 Chevy in a very deep candy purple over a pearl base. Unfortunately the colors of this early 1960’s photo has faded a bit. So its hard to tell the real color of the car. But it is looking great no matter what. Only some mild customizing as shaved trunk and hood, some mild lowering, white walls on chrome reverse wheels, bellflower pipes, and a wonderful white tuck&roll interior where enough for this unidentified owner to be one happy cruiser.
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CCC-larry-watson-56-chevys-04Larry Watson painted this 1956 Chevy in a wonderful candy dark raspberry color. The car was slightly smoothed with its emblems removed and the hood and trunk shaved. Reverse chrome wheels on nice size white wall tires, an all white interior, and bellflower exhaust tips… perfect!
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CCC-larry-watson-56-chevys-03Larry painted this near stock ’56 Chevy  in a pearl light blue and a candy medium blue. The front was lowered to get the so desired forward or California rake. I love photos like this with perfect cars, and so much neat stuff going on in the background.
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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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