Custom Car Builders

October 5, 2015

Watson Painted 49-52 Chevies




Larry Watson painted quite a few 1949-52 Chevies in his career, including of course his own person Grapevine Chevy. Its time to highlight some of these great looking Watson Painted Chevies.


This article shows a selection of photos of 1949-1952 Chevies painted by Larry Watson. All of 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. Special thanks to Roger O’Dell for scanning this amazing material and sharing them with us on the Custom Car Chronicle.

The 1949 to 1952Chevies are beautiful cars, and Larry knew this since his own personal car was a 1950 Chevy Sedan. Perhaps this has helped him getting more client wanting their 1949-51 Chevies being painted by Larry. For this article we have gathered some of the nice paint jobs Larry created on these Chevies. There are several more of these year Chevies in the Larry Watson Personal Collection, but we will highlight those in a few seperate articles, stay tuned…

CCC-watson-49-52-chevrolet-04Unidentified 1951 Chevy Sedan painted by larry in a brilliant shade of candy red. Very mildy customized with the nose shaved, and perhaps the same done to the trunk. Gold painted wheels with Dodge Lancer hubcaps and wide white wall tires and a slight California rake. The white interior looks absolutely gorgeous with the candy paint.



CCC-watson-49-52-chevrolet-03Front view of the 1951 Chevy shows the shaved hood. Very simple, yet stylish custom.



CCC-watson-49-52-chevrolet-02I really like this color photo of this 1950 Chevy Sedan painted by Larry. Larry painted it in such a wonderful color, and the way the car sits is just perfect with a nice slight speed boat stance, wide white wall tires and a set of aftermarket chrome flipper hubcaps, and a set of Appleton Spotlights. Sadly we have no idea who owned this beauty.



CCC-watson-49-52-chevrolet-05Jake Bultsma 1951 Bel Air photographed in front of Larry watson’s  1016 E Artesia Shop in North Long Beach. Jake’s Chevy was scalloped by Larry in silver metallic with root-beer tips in Larry’s parents driveway in 1956. Larry pin-striped the scallops in imitation gold. These photos of Jake’s Chevy were taken in 1957, when Jake brought the Chevy back to Larry for some more pin-striping on the car.



CCC-watson-49-52-chevrolet-06Nice design on the scallops on the smoothed trunk.



CCC-watson-49-52-chevrolet-07When this photo was taken the car had the extra pin striping added by Larry. For this photo Larry fakes adding the striping. 



CCC-watson-49-52-chevrolet-harold-johnson-01Harold Johnson’s 1949 Chevy Fleetline photographed in front of Larry’s Rosecrans Blvd shop wall. Sadly a bit out of focus, but still very interesting to see in color. The Chevy Fleetline was originally owned by Dick Ward who customized it with a Mercury grille surround molded in and a 1952 Oldsmobile floating grille. He created wonderful bumper guard taillights which are visible in this photo. When first finished the car had a nice speedboat stance with fender skirts. But by the time Harold Johnson of Long Beach owned it, the skirts had been removed, the rear raised a little and Harold repainted it in Mother of Pearl Nitro Lacquer. Larry Watson added the really great signature swirling scallops in candy green with candy root beer tips and pinstriped them in black.



CCC-watson-49-52-chevrolet-harold-johnson-02Here is the front of Harrold’s Chevy which shows the very nicely done Mercury grille surround and 1952 Oldsmobile floating grille bar. The interior was done by Gaylor’s in dark green and white tuck&roll upholstery in 1954. Like many of Larry’s customers Harold was a member of the Long Beach Renegades Car Club.



CCC-watson-49-52-chevrolet-01Jim “Bones” Noteboom was the owner of this really great looking Chevy Hard-Top that Larry Watson painted. Not much has been done to the body, perhaps the hood was nosed, but other than that the car is just lowered to the max, and the double lake pipes make it even look lower. The 1953 Cadillac Sombrero’s with body color painted centers never looked better. The mid century house in the background makes this such a wonderful photo.



CCC-watson-49-52-chevrolet-08We have no info on this convertible with custom made interior cover. The club plaque reads “Creators Lakewood”



CCC-watson-49-52-chevrolet-09Another black&white photo show this great looking 1950 Chevy Convertible. Only very mildly customized with some emblem removal and addition of a one piece windshield. The stance is really low, and even lower due to the lake pipes. Lancer four bar hubcaps and a set of real Appleton Spotlights. Larry Watson added the great looking scallops which look really great. I especially like the way they wrap around the front fenders coming from the hood. The photo was taken at the Bill DeCarr/Watson Artesia Blvd shop in the early 1960’s. 



CCC-watson-49-52-chevrolet-11Not all the cars where lowered in the late 1950/early 1960’s. This 1952 Chevy sitting on chrome reverse wheels looks to be stock height on the front but raised at the back for this almost street race look. Larry Watson painted the stock body in a great looking banana peal pearl peachy yellow. Photo was taken at the Artesia Blvd shop.



CCC-watson-49-52-chevrolet-10Great color combination of light pearl grayish blue on the main body and lavender small metalflake on the top. Forward rake with chrome reverse wheels with thin line white wall tires, and a set of real Appleton spots.



CCC-watson-49-52-chevrolet-jerry-cohn-01Jerry Cohn’s 1950 Chevy Hard-Top painted by Larry Watson. This black&white photo from the Watson Personal Collection shows the car before Larry added the scallops. In this black and white photo the car was already painted a wonderful metalflake and pearl two tone teal. It is great to be able to see all the details in the interior with the tuck&roll panels and the fuzzy carpet including the pedal covers by Paul’s Custom Upholstery. Paul’s shop was next to Larry’s at the time this car was done.



CCC-watson-49-52-chevrolet-jerry-cohn-02Rear 3/4 view of Jerry Cohn’s 1950 Chevy Hard Top with the very attractive Watson scallops. I really like this car with its great outline and scallop paint job. Larry painted the car in metalflake and pearl teal shades with a combination of outlines and scallops pinstriped in white. The single long teardrop on the truck around the truck lock is just so perfect for this car. The Chevy is running a set of chrome wire wheels and what look like Hydraulics on the front to get it low for the perfect California rake.



CCC-watson-49-52-chevrolet-jerry-cohn-03Here is a photo showing the front 3/4 of Jerry Cohn’s 1950 Chevy. It shows the great outlining around the headlights, side trim, hood edges and grille. The Dummy Spotlight were also detailed with teal and pinstriped in white.



CCC-watson-49-52-chevrolet-jerry-cohn-04Jerry Cohn’s Chevy at an indoor Car Show in the early 1960’s. Notice that the car runs wire wheels on the back and mags on the front.



CCC-watson-49-52-chevrolet-15Bill Haddad’s 1951 Chevy. The white and ivory pearl with paneling fogged with candy blue look really amazing on this car. This front 3/4 photo shows a the 1952 Chevy engine with all the chrome accessories, as well as the use of the 1954 Chevy grille bar in the 1951 Chevy grille surround. We can also see the white tuck&roll interior with blue piping. Bill named his Chevy the “Blue Ribbon”.



CCC-watson-49-52-chevrolet-16Bill Haddad’s 1951 Chevy was painted in white pearl with ivory pearl paneling which were fogged with candy blue. The body was smoothed but Bill kept the door handles. Matching all white tuck&roll interior with blue painted details. The car comes with a hood but that was taken off when these photos was taken.



CCC-watson-49-52-chevrolet-131950 Chevy Sedan painted by Larry in the mid – later part of the 1960’s. Larry used a really unusual and beautiful color on this clean Sedan that was cleaned up a little, has a nice rake, custom wheels and a set of thin line white wall tires. 



CCC-watson-49-52-chevrolet-12The same unidentified Chevy from the front, shows that it was updated with a one piece windshield. 



CCC-watson-49-52-chevrolet-14This snapshot from the same Sedan shows a bit of the nice black interior (appears to be pirated from an early 1960’s Chevy Impala) with the late 1950’s Oldsmobile Steering wheel. The Larry Watson sticker in the vent window shows the car was painted at Larry’s Firestone Blvd shop. The sticker is the same design as his most famous outdoor sign he had at any of this shops.





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About the Author

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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