Custom Car Chronicle
Larry Watson

Outlined 54 Chevy


This nice mildly customized 1954 Chevy is credited with a Larry Watson outline paint job in candy red and white pearl.


A while ago I came across this very nice color slide on eBay. It was an late 1950’s, or perhaps early 1960’s color slide showing a nice model with lavender bikini posing in front of an 1954 Chevy Bel-Air. The photo was offered with no specific information about the model, the car, or where it was taken. The car had a nice red paint job with white outlines and scallops. In the back of my mind I knew that I had seen this car before. But at the moment I could not remember where. A couple of month later I came across another photo of this same car. The photo, or negative was again offered for sale on eBay and came with no info what so ever. I recognized the car and the model and filed it with the color slide image in my archives. I did not think about these two photos for some time, until I was looking for something else and was browsing my copy of Restyle Your Car by James E. Potter, Trend Book Booklet from 1961. On page 107 I found a photo of this very same 1954 Chevy Bel Air photographed at an indoor show.



Black and white negative is part of the Zeke Carrillo Collection.


The photo caption credited Larry Watson for the candy red paint with pearl white outlines. But it did not mention the owner now builder’s names. But it was great to finally have a little more information about this car. After I had read the paint was done by Larry Watson I of course searched the Larry Watson Personal Collection for more info, but nothing, no scans of photos from this car. I also searched for any signs of this car on the Larry Watson Museum walls… and again, nothing. So is this a Larry Watson painted car after all? or was the info given in the Restyle Your Car booklet perhaps incorrect. One thing that I noticed is that the white outline was not outlined with pin-striping. Something Larry usually did.



Does anybody have any more info on this great looking 1954 Chevy Bel Air Custom. Was it indeed a Larry Watson painted Custom? Or was somebody else responsible for this one. In any event, I think it is a really nice looking Custom with its modified grille opening, Mercury headlights, shaved trim and handles, white tuck & roll interior and Custom Bumpers. I would love to see some more photos of this one, to see how the rear of the car looked like. I hope somebody will recognize it, or perhaps have some more photos of it to share.

Update 1:
Howard Gribble shared his memories about this 1954 Chevy with us. “When I was in high school in the early ’60s we occasionally skipped classes and and headed out for a cruise of the famous custom shops. On one such expedition we stopped at the upholstery shop of Eddie Martinez. This car was in the shop and many years later I read somewhere that it was Mr. Martinez’s personal car. I might add that we were warmly received and our inquires were answered as if we were serious customers — which we were not, considering that we had pooled our quarters to buy the gas to get there!”





Kustom Kar Books Golden Sahara








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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