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Larry WatsonLarry Watson Personal Collection

Larry Watson Painted X-Sonic




Ron Aquirre hired Larry Watson multiple times for new paintjobs on his show winning 1957 Corvette the “X-Sonic” Lets take a look at the photos Larry saved form some of these versions.

The X-Sonic must have been an important car for Larry. He has reserved quite a few photo frames devoted to the X-Sonic hanging on the walls of his Museum. The X-Sonic must have been the one car that he redid the most times in his career. Fortunately Larry took many snapshot of the paint jobs he did. And possibly he received some photos from others that ended up in his collection as well.

Ron Aguirre from Rialto, close to San Bernardino built the 1957 Corvette at home, in the barn behind the house. Together with his father Ron started customizing the car only month after he had bought it. After a first rather mild version, Ron started with the real customizing. One of the first things he added, and which would stay on the car with all the versions was the Opel Grille fitted into a hand made opening. Ron did most of the fiberglass work on the car including creating of new molds needed for the restyled elements. Ron’s father did most of the metal work on the frame and of course the Hydraulic set up.


This photo shows only a few of the frames Larry devoted to the X-Sonic on his museum wall.

What is more important for this article are the many paint jobs Ron had on the car. The first painter that would ad custom paint to Ron’s Corvette was Ed Roth. Ed added flames and scallops over the factory stock Aztec bronze paint not to long after Ron had acquired the car. After the first round of customizing, when Ron added fins, roof scoops, quad headlights and the Opel grille among other things the car was painted white Murano pearl by Bill Brown. Ed Roth painted it pearl white and added panels in gold with red fogging. This paint job lated only a few days. Next step was up to Larry Watson who added a pearl base with fading rain-bow accents in candy colors. The car had still the original top at this stage as well as upholstered panels in the cove on the side of the car.

Larry Watson Painted X-Sonic

CCC-larry-watson-X-Sonic-09This photo shows the first Larry Watson paint job in” rainbow pearl”. The car still had its original, but already scooped top. The Tom Sterkel upholstery on the interior and the cove panels can be seen really well in this photo. Around 1960.

After that the upholstery panels were removed and the car was repainted a solid color. We are not sure if Larry did this version or not, but there are no photos of this version in Larry’s Personal Collection. Then Ron re-designed the front of the car, he removed the quad headlights and created pointy front fenders. The headlights were moved behind the Opel grille. Ron also modified the rear fenders. And the original top was replaced with the Bubble top that would make the car really famous. The interior was also changed for this version. Larry repainted the car in Metalflake mixed from gold, silver and coper. The two photos below show it in this version. But according the stories the paint did not come out as good as it looks in these photos. larry tried to ad candy, but they ended up stripping the paint and redo it. After this the basic car would remain the same and Larry would add several more custom paint jobs as the photos below illustrate.

CCC-larry-watson-X-Sonic-01NParked in front of the Bill DeCarr / Larry Watson Artesia Blvd shop (Ed Schelhaas his old shop) around 1960.

CCC-larry-watson-X-Sonic-02Ron behind the steering wheel and Calvin Wiekamp as passenger.

CCC-larry-watson-X-Sonic-03January 1963 issue of Custom Rodder


CCC-larry-watson-X-Sonic-05Light blue pearl and darker fogging around the edges around 1961.

CCC-larry-watson-X-Sonic-07Scallops at an Indiana show in 1962.

CCC-larry-watson-X-Sonic-04Pearl white with fogged outlines in yellows and burt orange around 1963.

CCC-larry-watson-X-Sonic-18Indianapolis car show 1963. The sign reads that the car is owned by Roth Showcars and that Ron Aguirre was the president.


CCC-larry-watson-X-Sonic-20Details of the quickly done, and taped on signs.


CCC-larry-watson-X-Sonic-12Pearl silver with candy blue fogging around 1963. The top had cracked on the lower edges in the front. So the lower section was removed to “fix” the problem.

CCC-larry-watson-X-Sonic-13With the Bubble top opened.

CCC-larry-watson-X-Sonic-14Larry hand painted the X-Sonic logo on the nose of the car.



CCC-larry-watson-X-Sonic-17Larry signed this version of the car on the rear fenders.

[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]

Sources and for more info:

    • Rodder’s Journal issue Number 50, Pat Ganahl
    • Custom Rodder magazine Winter 1992
    • Rod & Custom Magazine June 1996

(This article is made possible by)



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)

2 thoughts on “Larry Watson Painted X-Sonic

  • nice article an pohotos rik allways dug rons corvette i like it where ron is sitting on the vette with the pearl blue an light blue fogging an the one with the scallops very kool rik,

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