Custom Car Chronicle
Bill DeCarrLarry WatsonLarry Watson Personal Collection

Watsons – Terry Holloway Plymouth




The paint job Larry Watson created on Terry’s 1957 Plymouth in the late 1950’s is one of the his finest and most recognizable.

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e have mentioned before that Larry Watson had a eye for what a car needed when it came to color, and color design. The outline-paint-job he created on¬†Terry Holloway’s 1957 Plymouth is a perfect example of this EYE. By using nothing but paint Larry was able to create a much sleeker car out of this Plymouth. The car looked longer, lower and so much more interesting¬†than how it came from the factory. The color choice, olive green with cream is a rather unusual down to earth choice, but it really suits¬†very¬†well for this car. It looks perfect in place, gives it perhaps even a sort of factory classic look.

Before Larry would apply his magic to Terry’s Plymouth Belvedere, an unknown body man performed some mild customizing to the cars body. All the emblems from the body were shaved, the holes filled and the body ¬†smoothed.¬†The door handles and trunk lock remained¬†in place. The lower front pan, below the front bumper, of a Plymouth Fury, which looked better with the smoothed body, was used. The car was lowered all around, and a set of Dodge Lancer four bar hubcaps were used on medium wide white wall tires.¬†The hubcaps were color detailed in the center. A full length set of lake pipes was added to the bottom of the rocker panels.


CCC-terry-holloway-57-plym-07-wThis photo must have been taken shortly after the car was finished. Several of Larry’s creations were photographed on this location (most likely all at the same day). Other photos from this photoshoot appeared in several magazines. Terry had not installed the Dummy Spotlights on his car yet. Most other photos show the car with the paint detailed¬†spotlights.

The photo you can see here, shows the car from a great angle. It shows very well what can be done with color on a Custom Car. And Larry picked just the right colors for Terry’s Plymouth. The rear fenders look taller, the body slimmer.

Then Larry painted the whole body in a soft cream color. Next Larry¬†laid¬†out the perfect size outlines around the body contours and side trim. The main¬†body was then painted with a wonderful pearl olive color. After the taped of sections were cleaned Larry outlined the new sections with dark green. Unique on Terry’s Plymouth are the partly painted bumpers. Larry used Candy green outlined in white for this special effect.

CCC-terry-holloway-57-plym-01-wInteresting snapshot from a Jim Potter photo shoot shows Terry’s Plymouth with Jim Parker’s 1957 T-Bird, LaVonne Bathke’s 1958 Corvette, and Larry’s Personal 1958 T-Bird in the background. This photo shows the Fury front pan really good. Besides painting the bumpers Larry also paint detailed the dummy spotlights, which can be clearly seen in this snapshot.


CCC-terry-holloway-57-plym-22-wTerry’s Plymouth was also part of the famous Jim Potter parking at Watson’s color photo shoot.

CCC-terry-holloway-57-plym-21-wTerry’s Plymouth appeared in several early 1960’s magazine, but the car never had its own full magazine feature.

CCC-terry-holloway-57-plym-20-wA¬†6 page article on Larry Watson in the July 1959 issue of Car Speed and Style magazine was credited to James Richards¬†(Jim Potter nick-named¬†himself¬≠ with that name, when he wrote for the East Coast magazines). Terry’s Plymouth is included with two photos.



This color photo of Terry’s car appeared on the cover of July 1960 issue of Motor Life magazine as part of their “The Best CUSTOM of the Year” competition, which was won by Darryl Starbird’s “Predicta”. Terry’s Plymouth ended on the 18th place, out of 30 pre-selected customs. These photos show the car with no spotlights taken at the same location as the openings photo.

The Update in early 1960.

Two of the photos from Terry’s Plymouth from the Larry Watson Personal Collection are dated. One of the photos showing the car at Bill DeCarr’s body shop for a remake is dated April 1960. And the last photo in this article showing the car in dark gray primer,¬†is dated October 1962. So we know that Terry decided to update his car in early 1960’s perhaps a year or so after the first version of the car was finished. And before the car appeared on the cover of Motor Fife magazine.

The in progress photos of the Terry’s Plymouth are all taken at the Bill DeCarr body shop on Artesia blvd. The shop were Larry hired the paint booth during the early 1960’s.¬†Perhaps Terry wanted something new for the upcoming new car show season.¬†Bill DeCarr was hired to do the updated customizing on the car which included reworked front and rear with new canted bumper surounds, shaved door handles and reshaped fins

CCC-terry-holloway-57-plym-13-wOne of the photos from the second phase of Terry’s Custom Plymouth is dates April 1960. The others do not have a date on it, but are all taken at the Bill DeCarr Artesia Blvd shop.

CCC-terry-holloway-57-plym-08-wThe second phase starts with the removal of the front and rear bumpers. The plan is to create rolled bumpers with sculptured sections, most likely to hold custom made split bumpers.

CCC-terry-holloway-57-plym-10-wThe original front pan was cut off to make place for the new unit.

CCC-terry-holloway-57-plym-09-wNew shapes for the front end were created using bend tubing welded together, positioned at an angle, and molded into the front using shaped sheet metal. 

CCC-terry-holloway-57-plym-11-wAt the rear similar shaped openings were created from bend tubing, and welded to the stock splash pan. At the rear these new units were mounted horizontal.

CCC-terry-holloway-57-plym-12-wThe section in between the tubular openings was filled in with a shaped panel which was tacked in place in this photo. 

CCC-terry-holloway-57-plym-14-wA wider angle shows more work was done at the back. The fin’s were reshaped at the top with cut in half tubing welded to the top. Rounded trunk corners are sketched with masking tape.

CCC-terry-holloway-57-plym-15-wView from the drivers side shows that during this process the side trim pieces were left in place. I wonder how hard it must have been to sand down that amazing Watson paint job to be able to do the new body work.

CCC-terry-holloway-57-plym-16-wA bit later in the process we can see the new openings are now nicely molded an leaded smooth ready the final primer. The trunk corners are now rounded with the radius marked by the masking tape shown in an earlier photo.

CCC-terry-holloway-57-plym-17-wThe body work at the back is now finished and in primer. The fins are slightly extended and reshaped at the top.

CCC-terry-holloway-57-plym-18-wDated October 1962, all body work was done and the car is completely in primer. 

The last photo of Terry’s 1975 Plymouth is from 1962. The car can be seen in black or dark gray primer with all the body work finished. We have not been able to find out what happened with the car after this. Since there are no more photos in Larry’s Collection we assume the car was not painted again by Larry. Perhaps Terry lost interest in the car and sold it at this point to somebody who took it elsewhere to finish.¬†We are still looking to find out more info on what happened to this car after 1962. If you know more about this, please let us know so that we can add it to this article.


[box_light]This article shows a selection of photos of a car 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.[/box_light]



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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