Custom Car Chronicle
Larry WatsonLarry Watson Personal Collection

Larry Watson’s ’59 Cadillac


One of Larry Watson’s personal cars was this trend setting 1959 Cadillac Series 62 Special. Candy Burgundy with outlines and scallops in Pearl white and a silver with chrome taped top.


Larry Watson started customizing his his 1959 Cadillac series 62 Special just a few days after he he bought it brand new. Larry took the Cadillac to the Bear Alignment shop, which was located close to Larry’s shop, to have it lowered about six inches. After that, he took it to his friend Bill DeCarr, and asked him to removed the emblems, shave the handles and round the door corners. Bill also installed the solenoid’s to open the doors and truck after the handles were shaved.

Its hard to see in the photos of the car with primer spots, but at that time, Larry had already painted the top in silver. This silver he had mixed himself using very fine metallic powder. Once the silver had dried Larry applied 1/4 inch chrome tape at 1/4 of an inch from each other from front to back. This was followed by many coats of clear to get the top smooth. After this photo was taken Larry and his helpers would prep the body and Larry would paint the car first in his brightest white pearl. One the pearl white had set Larry started taping the body lines and added small scallops, the main body was then painted in Candy burgundy.

This created what I think is one of his best ever subtle scallop, outlines paint jobs Larry ever created. The thin outline panel paint made the car look even longer and lower than it already was. Can you imagine how much impact this car must have had when Larry drove it on the streets or showed it at in and outdoor event. In 1960, Larry traded his 1959 Cadillac for a 1957 Cadillac Brougham at a Cadillac dealer. Benny Abacherli bought the car in early 1960 from a car lot in Long Beach. Its current whereabouts are unknown.
[box_light]This article shows a selection of photos from Watson’s ’59 Cadillac. 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]


CCC-Watson-59-Cadillac-09-WLarry’s Caddy getting ready for the pearl white paint. Fresh out of Bill Ortega’s shop. You can also see the bellflower pipes which were created from chrome plated 1936 Ford drive shafts… a common practice back then.


CCC-Watson-59-Cadillac-08-WThe black primer spots show where Bill deCarr removed emblems, handles and rounded corners.


CCC-Watson-59-Cadillac-07-WLarry’s Cadillac pushed out of the paint booth after Larry had painted it a bright pearl white. The location is Larry’s famous Rosecrans Blvd shop in Bellflower.


CCC-Watson-59-Cadillac-10-WOnce the car was finished Larry took it to his friend Bill DeCarr to show him the end result.


CCC-Watson-59-Cadillac-06-WThis is a really great photo taken in 1960, we can see Larry’s Caddy parked in front of the Shop from where Bill DeCarr worked. The shop is the former Ed Schelhaas Auto Service shop but was now owned by Bill DeCarr. Larry started renting the paint booth behind it after he left his Rosecrans Blvd shop. In this garage the two friends create Custom Car magic for the next year or so.


CCC-Watson-59-Cadillac-01-WOne of the most attractive photo angles of Larry Watson’s 1959 Cadillac. This photo was taken from ground level facing upwards to capture the perfect shape of the rear fenders wings and taillights and give the perfect look at Larry’s scalloped and outlined body which accentuate all the great lines of this Cadillac.




CCC-Watson-59-Cadillac-03-WLarry Watson’s personal transport in late 1959 parked in front oh his shop at Rosecrans Blvd. probably just another work day for Larry. The Peanut House was a bar located next door to Larry. Larry’s 1959 Cadillac is just so right. Perfect color, perfect width outline, perfect stance… Larry mentioned this shop – which he had from 1959 till early 1960 – was his most busy shop. He had at least 6 guys working for him to keep up with the demand of Custom Paint work. No wonder with a car like Larry’s 1959 Cadillac parked in front of the shop.




CCC-Watson-59-Cadillac-05-WLarry had a several of his cars photographed at night at this Long Beach Shopping center parking lot. The photos session on his ’59 Caddy was with well known photographer James Potter. Wonderful lighting effects from the longer exposure time. Some photos were taken with a model, others just the car. Above are two snapshot taken that night. They did not come out as perfect as the one James Potter made but still very interesting to look at.


CCC-Watson-59-Cadillac-11-WThis photo shows the color coded Dodge Lancer hubcaps which fit the car perfectly. Larry had parked his 1959 Cadillac in front of the former Ed Schelhaas Auto Service shop, now owned by Bill DeCarr. This snapshot by the photographer who was actually standing inside the shop.


CCC-Watson-59-Cadillac-end-WResources and more info

  • Watson’s Custom Car Confessions, by Thom Taylor and Larry Watson
  • Kustomland, The Custom Car Photography of James Potter by Thom Taylor
  • Grease Machines, by the editors of Consumer Guide






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’s ’59 Cadillac

  • Having owned a 59 Biarritz conv with factory air susp where you can raise the bum by pulling the air lift button ,I can tell you that getting out of almost any driveway without leaving those pipes behind would be a miracle. All part of a customiser’s daily GRIND I guess.

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