Custom Car Chronicle
Larry Pointer Files

Bob Prill Photo Album Part 2




Long lost memories leapt out of Bob Prill’s old photos, like well-traveled friends at a 50-year reunion. Some awe inspiring; some back-slapping funny; some not so much. All old school storied snapshots. Here was a microcosm of all that had happened with us, and with car guys everywhere from 1958 to 1962.

By Larry Pointer
It was like thumbing fast-forward through all the magazines I had so anxiously awaited each seemingly forever month of youth…. Where were you in ’62?

Bob Prill shows us exactly where he was, and how he progressed with the changing times of customizing and drag racing. Growing through those exciting times, Bob Prill had lived every aspect of it all, right through working the Winternationals as an NHRA Tech Advisor.
Hop in and hang on for a road trip down this twisting memory lane with our Conquistador Club President, one hand on the wheel, the other on the shifter.
CCC-bob-prill-albums-02-18We showed Bob’s 1953 Chevy in our first part of this Photo Album series, but I forgot to add this interior photo showing the wild pin-striping by the kid who attended Sheridan College with Bob Prill in 1958.

Bob’s 1958 Chevy

The 1958 Chevy two-door post was bought new by Bob Prill, and he started customizing it almost immediately, to his dad’s chagrin. The progression of work from 1958 to 1960 really shows the rapidly changing trends in customizing. First, the stock fender skirts were removed, it was lowered, smoothy moon wheel covers added, and a few pinstripes were added by the same fellow who had striped Bob’s 1953 Chevy.

CCC-bob-prill-albums-02-03This is how Bob’s chevy looked fresh for the dealer. 

CCC-bob-prill-albums-02-02The young lady in front of Bob Prill’s nearly new 58 Chevy is Linda, his bride of over 50 years now.
CCC-bob-prill-albums-02-01Later Bob installed a set of dummy lake pipes to make the lowered car look even lower.
After a while Bob removed the hood emblems, and the same on the trunk. He filled in the holes and then repainted it in a single all white. The stock grille was removed and replaced with an after-market tubular grille, which cleaned up the front really nice.
CCC-bob-prill-albums-02-05New after-market tubular grille cleans up the front really nice. The new all white paint-job gives the car a nice crisp look.
CCC-bob-prill-albums-02-04In 1959 Bob laid-out a set of really nice thin and elegant scallops and painted them himself. This last photo of the car in this version shows the nice rake it had.
For the last version of the car Bob had it painted a wonderful metallic wine color. But before that Bob had  louvers pressed into the hood, and Frenchy Holbert frenched in a set of 1954 Chevy taillights, horizontally. The four year older taillights looked surpassingly well in Bob’s 1958 Chevy. Bob traded the ’58 in on a new ’60 Corvette, and the new owner wrecked the car not long after that. Jack Bushmaker had a ’58 Chevy convertible at that time, and salvaged the louvered hood to use on his own car.
CCC-bob-prill-albums-02-19The metallic wine gave the car a completely different look and feel, very classy. This photo shows how nice the 1954 taillights, mounted horizontally looked.
CCC-bob-prill-albums-02-20Bob replaced the aluminum moon hubcaps for a set of Dodge Lancer hubcaps, which made up for a more classic look. He also removed the lake pipes.
CCC-bob-prill-albums-02-21A bit hard to see from this slightly blurry photo is the Conquistadors club plaque on the package shelf on the passenger side of the car.

John Schonberg 1953 Ford

Images in a progression for the 53 Ford that belonged to John Schonberg also were among Bob Prill’s photos. In 1960 it was mildly customized, nosed, center grille bullet removed, 55 Dodge flipper hubcaps, and a lowering job.
A single image was found showing the work that Ed’rd Lawrence did to the car in a later stage. Nosed, decked, and frenched headlights, with a full oval grille surround frenched in. Visible also is the button door opener, like Harry Schwartz also had done with the button out of his door handle. The side flare of the Ford was re-sculpted, with a “beak” at the top in front and the stainless trim removed. Bareluy visible is the cap Ed’rd fashioned at the tip of the rear fender top. The 60 Cad taillight frenched below this “bullet” doesn’t show in the side view.
CCC-bob-prill-albums-02-10A later update shows some subtile body work done to the grille opening, the rear quarter panel with a nice peak added to the deading edge of the raised panel, and modified rear fenders/taillights.

Bob Prill’s dragster

Bob also had other images that I copied. These included several of various stages of Bob’s rather successful dragster. It was shown in Sheridan and then in Billings in 1963 or 1964 at the Shrine Auditorium. I especially like the one with his little boy in the driver’s seat.
CCC-bob-prill-albums-02-17Bob proudly showed his dragster with the award won with the car.
CCC-bob-prill-albums-02-23A single image of Harry Schwartz’s 51 Ford coupe with the 56 Chrysler Windsor grille. The image isn’t very good, but it was taken at the car show in Sheridan around 1962. I mentioned this car before in my other articles.


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Larry Pointer

Larry Pointer is a fan of Rik Hoving and the Custom Car Chronicle. He was a member of the Conquistadors Car Club of Sheridan, Wyoming in the 1950s. As he looks back over a lifetime of passion for the styling of the traditional custom car, he writes in tribute to those who influenced him, and for those who carry on the torch of passion. He is retired from the National Park Service, a former college instructor and rodeo advisor, author of western history, and now realizing his dream in building "Neferteri", a streamline moderne custom, based on a 1936 Diamond T truck.

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