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Larry WatsonLarry Watson Personal Collection

Watsons Dave Robertson 58 Chevy


Larry Watson painted many 1958 Chevies in his career, some made it into the magazines, including this Cherry Burgundy Bel Air for Dave Robertson.

When Roger O’Dell, on behalf of Larry Watson shared most of the Larry Watson Personal Photo Collection with the Custom Car Chronicle and Custom Car Photo Archive I browsed thru the enormous amount of photos. Many of the cars in those photos were completely new to me. I had never seen them before, since they never made it into the magazine. Not that they were not nice enough to be featured… but I guess if every of Larry’s painted creations would have been featured, the magazines from the 1960-to 80’s should have at least double the pages.

There were also a large number of photos of cars that I did recognize from the magazine’s. One of them I recognized was this wonderful Cherry Burgundy 1958 Chevy Bel Air Larry painted for Dave Robertson from Hollydale, California. The first photo in the collection I saw was the birds-eye view… and I still like that photo the best of them all. The car was parked in front of the Bill DeCarr / Larry Watson 10116 Artesia Boulevard, Bellflower, CA shop, and I guess one of the guys, perhaps Larry himself, climbed on top of the shop and took the snapshot. I recognized Dave’s Chevy from the¬†Restyle your Car¬†Trend Book #205 by Jim Potter from¬†1961.

[box_light]This article shows a selection of photos of Dave Robertson’s 1958 Chevy¬†Bel Air Custom, painted by Larry Watson. Most 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.[/box_light]
CCC-larry-watson-dave-robertson-58-chevy-03Birds eye view of Dave sitting in his Watson Painted 1958 Chevy. What a fantastic photo. 
CCC-larry-watson-dave-roberts-58-chevy-02The car had a full two page spread in the Restyle your Car Trend Book #205 by Jim Potter in 1961.
Dave’s Chevy was mildly customized with all the right touches. One of the best restyling features done on the ’58 Chevy was to replace the bulbous front section of the side trim, the section that goes on the front fender, and replace it with a section of the rear fender side trim taken from a trim piece of the opposite side of the car. This new shape of the side trim makes the car look much more ellegant and streamlined. And its a relative easy modification.

Of course it was much easier to do back then when you could just go to a Chevy dealer and order a brand new ’58 Chevy side trim. The door handles were shaved, and so was the hood and trunk. Electrical openers were installed. The gas filler cap cover below the trunk was filled in and the gas filler relocated in the trunk. All the extra stainless trim was removed, but the nicely shaped trim around the tip of the rear fender remained… a wise choice since this gives the car the right balance between smoothed paint and crisp bright chrome and stainless.
CCC-larry-watson-dave-roberts-58-chevy-01Nice photo of Dave sitting in his Chevy in front of the Bill DeCarr / Larry Watson Artesia Blvd shop. Photos like this give us a great look how it was on the streets back then. Notice the fake scoops added to the top of the front fenders.
On top of both front fenders a nice double peaked fake scoop was added, and two smaller functional scoops were added on both sides of the top. The stock grille was removed to make place for a simple, but very effective chrome tubular insert. At the rear the stock taillights were removed and the body slightly reshaped to make a pair of 1959 Plymouth taillight look right at home.
CCC-larry-watson-dave-robertson-58-chevy-08A closer look at the nicely shaped fake scoops on the front fenders, the smoothed hood and the tubular grille. 
CCC-larry-watson-dave-robertson-58-chevy-07The black and white photos are from a photo shoot for the magazines in the early 1960’s. Two of them were used in the Restyle Your Car booklet.¬†
Then it was time for the Larry Watson paintjob. Larry painted the car first with a very brilliant platinum pearl base. On top of that he added many coats of candy Cherry Burgundy until the car had just the perfect color.¬†The dash and steering wheel were painter¬†the same color as the body, and the top section was painted pearl white to match the custom upholstery.¬†The full custom upholstery was done in pearl white tuck & roll vinyl with nice narrow pleats. The suspension was lowered to give the car a perfect slight forward rake, the so called California Rake. A¬†set of chrome reverse wheels was added to the medium size white wall tires, and a set of dummy spots added… and the car was done… and perfect.
CCC-larry-watson-dave-robertson-58-chevy-06The location was the famous Compton Drive-In theater. It is really sad these photo’s were not taken in color, the Cherry Burgundy must have looked stunning with the pastel green of the wall in the background.
CCC-larry-watson-dave-robertson-58-chevy-05In front of the Artesia Blvd shop with the Hobby shop in the background and Bill’s shop on the right. Behind Dave’s Chevy we can see the Johnny Zupan Ayala/Barris built 1949 Mercury that was being worked on by Bill DeCarr at the time.¬†
CCC-larry-watson-dave-robertson-58-chevy-04Wonderful low-angle photo shows the 1959 Plymouth taillights and the new double working scoops on the rear of the top.


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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)

One thought on “Watsons Dave Robertson 58 Chevy

  • One of my favourite customs of the era! Thanks for posting all the pictures, hadn’t seen some of them before. Currently seeking a bel air for a loose tribute/what I would have done in 59-61.

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