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Larry Watson Flames part 4




In this fourth part of the story on Larry Watson’s flames, we take a look at the flames Larry created on Pinky Richard’s 1957 Corvette.

In our first two articles on the Larry Watson Flames, we showed how Larry quickly developed his own style of flames from 1957 up to the 1970’s. In part three we highlighted the “seaweed” flames Larry created on Al Lazarus his 1955 Chevy, and in this article we are highlighting the flames Larry created on the 1957 Corvette for Pinky Richards.

This unique series of photos show how Larry is adding black Metalflake “salt & pepper” with wildly pinstriped flames to Pinky Richards 1957 Custom Corvette. Pinky’s Corvette was customized by famous Custom Car builder Bill Hines. Bill stripped the body of all emblems, handles and even the bumpers. At the back Bill recessed 1960 Mercury taillights in tunnels at the top of the fenders. He created chrome plated nerf bars to replace the stock bumpers, and added Buick Riviera wire wheel hubcaps. The interior was done by Eddie Martinez in wonderful small size tuck & roll in black leather accentuated with black fur. The it was off to Larry Watson for an unique flame paint job.

Larry painted the body in candy red/orange over a metalflake base. Then he designed long licked seaweed style flames to cover most of the body. He would paint these in salt & pepper black metalflake paint and outline them in multi colored pin striping. This project is really unique since the whole process of Larry doing the flame job was captured in a series of photos.

The photo series show how Larry used a Stabilo Grease Pencils to draw the flames on one side of the car. Then tapes the flames on one his side, then he copies the design to the other side of the car. Then he ads tape and covers the rest of the car with newspapers. Next he adds the paint in several layers. Let the paint set, and carefully removes the paper and tape. The final step in the process for Larry is pin-striping the car with heavy lines in yellow, red and black outside in the front of his shop. Pinky Richards Corvette would be named “Watson’s Wildest”.


Go to part ONETWO or part THREE of the Larry Watson Flames articles to read more about Larry’s trend setting flame painted cars.


CCC-larry-watson-pinkys-wildest-21-WEarly version of Pinky’s 1957 Corvette. Before the Bill Hines body work, with a first pearl yellow paint job and subtile candy green accents.

CCC-larry-watson-pinkys-wildest-20-WA later version shows new paint and the start of the flame job inside the cove. This section of the body would remain like this in the later better known version, and Larry would add more striping to the flames he had finished for this version.

Step by Step Watson flames

CCC-larry-watson-pinkys-wildest-02-WThe design for the flames has been taped on the drivers side of the car. A portion of the outsides have already been taped off in this photo. In the background in the shop sits Lavonne Bremmers Watson painted Corvette.

CCC-larry-watson-pinkys-wildest-01-WOne side of the body already has been taped. The design is transferred to the other side to make sure both sides are identical. Here Larry is using a Stabilo grease pencil to better show the transferred design.

CCC-larry-watson-pinkys-wildest-03-WHere Larry carefully follows the flame design with the tape, on the passenger side of the trunk.


CCC-larry-watson-pinkys-wildest-04-WWith the design outlined in tape the team of “helpers” starts to fill in the outsides of the flames that need to remain body color.

CCC-larry-watson-pinkys-wildest-05-WOne the whole body is covered in tape and larger sections with newspapers Larry can start to paint the flames with his special mix salt & pepper black metalflake paint.

CCC-larry-watson-pinkys-wildest-06-WPaint on the front fenders.

CCC-larry-watson-pinkys-wildest-07-WPaint on the sides, notice Larry’s unique position that allows him to make long flowing movements to guarantee nice flowing paint.





CCC-larry-watson-pinkys-wildest-10-WWhen the paint it tack free Larry carefully starts to remove the tape.

CCC-larry-watson-pinkys-wildest-11-WMore hands are making the job go faster. Concentration!

CCC-larry-watson-pinkys-wildest-12-WThe top was painted off the body, but at the same time. The top can be seen in this photo sitting on an oil drum behind Larry.

CCC-larry-watson-pinkys-wildest-13-WAnd the last pieces of tape and news paper are removed.

CCC-larry-watson-pinkys-wildest-14-WLarry has taken the freshly painted car outside to start the multi color striping. This photo shows the black & Pepper color of the flames really well.

CCC-larry-watson-pinkys-wildest-15-WLarry starts with outlining the flames with an heavy yellow outline.

CCC-larry-watson-pinkys-wildest-16-WLarry sure changed into some better cloth for this outdoor photo shoot. But unlike several other photo shoots. This shoot is not fake, Larry is actually striping Richard’s Corvette in this series.

CCC-larry-watson-pinkys-wildest-17-WNotice that cove with its green gold metalflake and black outline flames from the earlier version is still there. 


CCC-larry-watson-pinkys-wildest-25-WLarry removed a small portions of the striping, not happy with the lines he put on there I guess.

CCC-larry-watson-pinkys-wildest-26-WOnce the flames were outlines in yellow Larry ads a little thinner dark colored line on the outside of the flames leaving a little bit of body color between the new striping and the yellow striping.

CCC-larry-watson-pinkys-wildest-27-WAnd a orange/red strip inside the flames leaving a small portion of black between the red and yellow striping.

CCC-larry-watson-pinkys-wildest-28-WThis photo shows nicely the early version of the cove, and we can also see that between the photo in the beginning of this article showing the new flames striping in the cove and when the body was flamed, Larry had added extra yellow flame striping to the cove.

CCC-larry-watson-pinkys-wildest-29-WAnd now Larry adds red to the cove flames as well. Notice that the bottom portion of the flames are not striped in this series. Possibly Larry did those later after changing clothes, so he could lay down on the dirty floor.

CCC-larry-watson-pinkys-wildest-19-WLarry on the left and Pinky Richards on the right with the finished car.



CCC-larry-watson-pinkys-wildest-24-WOn both sides of the car Larry added in rather bold letters the name of the car. “watson’s Wildest”.

[box_light]This article shows a selection of cars that were flame 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]

[box_light]Go to part ONETWO or part THREE of the Larry Watson Flames articles to read more about Larry’s trend setting flame painted cars.[/box_light]

Sources and for more info:

    • Custom Rodder magazine Winter 1992
    • Rod & Custom Magazine June 1996
    • Kustoms Illustrated magazine #27 to #34
    • Hot Rods & Customs of the 1960, Book by Andy Sauthard




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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