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Larry WatsonLarry Watson Personal Collection

Larry Watson 57 Chevys


Larry Watson painted many ’57 Chevy’s in his career, some mild, others wild. It sure shows that these “restorers cars” look amazing with a custom paint job and a nice forward rake.

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he ’57 Chevy has never really been a very popular canvas for the Custom Car builder. Only very few of them ever made it into a full Custom Car, perhaps a bit more were mildly customized. Especially back in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Today the ’57 Chevy is one of the top cars to restore to factory stock specs, you see them as street machines and only rarely as mild Custom Car. Which is rally a shame, since these photos show they make excellent mild customs.

Larry Watson painted dozens of ’57 Chevy’s in his career. All types, four-door, two door sedan’s, Hard -Tops and Nomads. His Personal Photo Collection shows a large amount of this years’ Chevy’s that were painted with his special paint, or detailed with scallops. Especially in the early years Larry painted a lot of them with all sorts of scallops, some to hide shaved handles, perhaps others to cover runs in the paint, or just to make the car look better. It is interesting to see the different paint styles Larry developed over the years. In the early years Larry would add different style of scallops, and later in the early 1960’s he would paint the whole car in one or two colors, usually pearls or candy’s with the top or side trim inserts in a different color. Later he added metal flake and cob webbing to his pallet.
Lets take a look at some of the ’57 Chevy’s larry Custom Painted.

[box_light]This article shows a selection of photos painted 1957 Chevy’s 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-57-chevy-16We are not sure if Larry painted this ’57 Chevy two-door sedan, but it is parked in front of Larry’s¬†1016 E Artesia Shop where he was from 1957 till 1957. Great looking mild custom with a slight forward rake, full lake pipes and three bar spinner hubcaps on medium white wall tires.

Two photos of an ’57 Hardtop, with some elegant Larry Watson scallop/flames. The body appears to be completely stock with all the handles and emblems still in place. The scallops were most likely added when the car was brand new, the scallops look to be very early scallop/flame combinations Watson was experimenting with. The hubcaps are ’57 Plymouth Fury¬†units.

CCC-larry-watson-57-chevy-12Another ’57 Hardtop shows completely different scallops with only a hint of flames in some of the scallops. Heavy outlined in white with dark faded point. Again a completely stock body with four bar lancer hubcaps a slight drop and accessory bumper guards. Photographed at the same location as above. Apparently this back alley location was close to where Watson worked at the time. There are several more photos taken at this location in his Collection.
CCC-larry-watson-57-chevy-13This time a light colored all stock Hardtop. The only customizing done to it is with the 1954 Chevy grille, lowering, four bar lancer hubcaps, lake pipes, spotlights and of course the dark to light tip Watson scallops.
CCC-larry-watson-57-chevy-08Here Larry is adding some dark red fades to silver scallops on a 1957 Chevy. Unfortunately there are no other photos of this car in the collection. So we are unable to show you how the end product looked like. [divider]
CCC-larry-watson-57-chevy-06Another early scallop job was done in gold with heavy white pin-striped outlines. The car has been nosed, and probably decked as well. And the emblems where shaved of the side of the car. It is amazing how many of these ’57 Chevy’s Larry painted with similar styled but all different scallops.

CCC-larry-watson-57-chevy-15This ’57 Chevy in pale yellow with¬†silver top and silver to dark red scallops has been in a few magazine, but none of them listed the owners name. This photo was most likely taken by Jim Potter and a print of it became part of the Watson Personal Collection. The four bar hubcaps with painted details create¬†a nice contrast with the pale yellow body.
CCC-larry-watson-57-chevy-02There are a few photos of this unidentified supper black 1957 Chevy with nice pale yellow (perhaps white) to orange scallops in the Larry Watson Collection. Its shows how nice the scallops on the side flow with the body and the trim. Judging the style of the scallops these where done in the early 1957-58 period when Larry scalloped a lot of cars with similar styled Scallops. The car is nicely lowered and optically even more with the use of the lake pipes. It has nice size white wall tires with Oldsmobile three bar hubcaps. Not visible in these photos is the Renegades club plaque in the rear window.


CCC-larry-watson-57-chevy-14A sedan with shaved handles and emblems is prepped and ready for a Watson paintjob. As far as I can tell there are not finished photos of this particular Chevy in the collection. So we are unable to tell you which color Larry chose for this one.
CCC-larry-watson-57-chevy-07There are also several four door ’57 Chevy ‘s painted by Larry. This bright red one with Lancer four bar hubcaps was photographed at Bill Ortega’s shop at Artesia Blvd.
CCC-larry-watson-57-chevy-18Another four-door was painted in a dark cobalt/purple blue candy with a lavender pearl top. The car runs baby moon hubcaps on chrome wheel and has a nice slight forward rake.
This great looking lavender pearl and Candy grape ’57 Chevy painted by Larry is yet another proof that these cars look so good as mild Custom Car. This unidentified car is really mild, even all the trim is left on the car. Custom Hubcaps, thin white wall tires, a slight stance adjustment and a fantastic Larry Watson paint job is all this car needed.

Two late afternoon photos of this unidentified 1’57 Chevy at the Larry Watson Rosecrans Blvd shop in 1959. Larry painted this mildly customized (removed emblems) 1957 Chevy Sedan in pearl white and added light blue pear panels outlined in dark candy blue to highlight¬†the character lines of the Chevy. This created a really wild effect which must have turned a lot of heads at shows and on the road. The car has wide white walls with Custom three bar spinners and full lake pipes, dummy spotlights,¬†lowered stance and an all white interior.

CCC-larry-watson-57-chevy-10Bright candy yellow over pearl white sedan owned by Dallas Eichstadt, looks stunning. Larry outlined the top and around the windows in pearl white as well as some nice shaped scallop outlines around the wheel openings. Forward (California) rake stance and color detailed four bar lancer hubcaps of medium wide white wall tires. Larry painted this Chevy in April 1960 for $210.-
CCC-larry-watson-57-chevy-03Amazing looking ice blue green pearl pant job with a candy emerald green top on this forward raked sedan. The car belonged to CCC-Meber Steve (peawee1)
CCC-larry-watson-57-chevy-04This candy green with metal flake silver top and rear quarter side trim insert section was done in the mid 1960’s. Both cars on top have narrow white walls with chrome reverse wheels.
CCC-larry-watson-57-chevy-22Wild looking ’57 Chevy Nomad in medium candy teal blue with silver and blue cob-webbed below the side trim. The body is shaved of all its trim and handles and the car is set on an amazine rake with red and white narrow line tires with chrome reverse wheels with baby moon hubcaps.
CCC-larry-watson-57-chevy-21Bright candy red with pink roof inserts ’57 Nomad parked in front of the Larry Watson Firestone Blvd shop. Hydraulic front suspension gets the front really low. Before Larry painted this one the car was shaved of most of its trim and handles for an ultimate clean look. The Watson sign in the background is the best one ever.







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)

3 thoughts on “Larry Watson 57 Chevys

  • OMG that green pearl & emerald coupe is mine. I never thought I’d lay eye’s on that car again. Right after it was painted I blocked the rear to leveled the stance, threw a complete 63 Impala black bucket seat interior in it along with a green 60 Old’s steering wheel that I picked up at a bone yard. I eventually traded the car off as part of a deal for a 56 Nomad. The guy that got it had in a minor wreck, repaired the damage and painted it flat black
    Thanks Ric you’ve made my day!

    • Thats really great Steve. I always hope that things like that happen. That old owners of these customs see their ride they have not seen in decades. Hope you enjoyed seeing here back again.
      I have one more photo of your car.. basically the same photo, but just taken from a lower angle.

  • These photos, (especially of the scalloped versions) show Larry Watson at his best. The 2-dr post that is black (license plate # NLM 925) is genius. I’d sure like to know who owned that one. I wish people still did stuff like this. Many of the scallops we see these days are a far cry from Watson’s work.

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