Custom Car Chronicle
Larry Pointer FilesThe Personal Stories

Bob Prill Photo Album part 1


Larry Pointer has been sharing some great stories about the Sheridan, Wyoming Custom Car and Hot Rod scene. This time we take a look at Larry’s friend Bob’ Prill’s collection of photos from the 1950’s and 1960’s.

By Larry Pointer.
I had called Bob Prill to let him know Rik had put our Conquistadors story online. In my wildest dreams I couldn’t have anticipated his response:
“Oh, I finally found all those slides I was hunting for. Next time you come down I’ll have them out and we can go over them. Maybe there’s something you can use.”
I soon got away, and in two 80-per hours I was out past “Purple Burp’s tree” and headed up the lane to the beautiful log home Bob had hand-built for Linda. He met me at the daylight basement door, led me down the hallway past that guest bedroom with its stunning wall of native stone, and into a book nook surrounded by his cabinetry. (You couldn’t but realize the measure of this meticulous master of crafts!)
Then, there they were. Bob had a light table with 40 some slides to view, a healthy stack beside, and labeled envelopes of photos he’d located since last we met.

“Any of these work?” he glanced over at me and asked.
Any? All! I wanted to copy ALL of them.

And off we went to the one shop in Sheridan that possibly could transfer Bob’s collection into digital images on a disc to send to Rik. “Possibly “ isn’t quite “Impossible”, but it almost seemed so when we learned the business was that day moving to another location. “Two weeks,” was the prognosis. Seemed an eternity, but definitely in that “possible” realm.
Two weeks, one phone call, and two more 80-per hours later, I and Bob each had a digital disc. Next day, thanks to Rik and, Bob Prill’s treasure trove of images was safely with the Custom Car Chronicle.

I should have known that if anyone had kept a photographic record, it would be Bob. Cameras were a luxury back in the day, stopping to take a photograph not high on most guys’ lists, and even then, storing those images safely over the years? What are the odds? Well, with our Conquistador president and NHRA Regional Tech, Bob Prill, a safe bet.
Here was a photographic time-line, through Prill’s own progression of custom restyling, a window onto the changes happening over time in the larger world of custom restyling itself. Come along, with Rik Hoving as our guide, and take a cruise down memory lane.

Bob Prill’s 48 Ford two-door

Bob did the bodywork on his car himself, he was still in high school, junior year. It has an early feel, with the fake continental kit, expanded metal grille with “Vee” ornament, hooded headlights, and a pair of aerials.
Bob was coached by a flathead hop-up master, Howard Edwards. With a Canadian block, he bored it 125 over! It had adjustable lifters, pretty hot “mill”. It later was in that roadster on the parade float, and went to California with Ron Oneyear.
CCC-bob-prill-albums-01-01Early version of Bob’s Ford shows stock hubcaps and beauty rings. This was in 1956.
CCC-bob-prill-albums-01-05The front view has his grandmother and little brother posing with this first attempt at customizing.
CCC-bob-prill-albums-01-02Later Bob added fake wire wheel hubcaps, removed the front bumper guards and fog lights.
CCC-bob-prill-albums-01-03This side view shows the fake spare tire cover and that Bob was working on some new taillights bases on the Shoebox Ford taillights with molded in wind wing.

CCC-bob-prill-albums-01-04Bob used an nicely dressed up Canadian engine in his Ford.

I was really ticked to find images of the “winged thing” that Bob and friends were creating out of that 48 Ford. Bob said he didn’t have a drawing, only an idea in mind as to how it would look. The front clip he thought was to be fashioned along the lines of the 55 Chevy. The photo margin says May, 1957. This is how I remembered seeing it at his father’s sheet metal shop. The hand-built car didn’t progress much beyond the stage photographed here.
CCC-bob-prill-albums-01-18Bob had great plans for his “winged thing” which was created from his 48 Ford Sedan, but sadly it was never finished.

Bob’s 1953 Chevy two-door

The second car we like to highlight from Bob’s album is Bob’s customized 1953 Chevy two-door. These color slides were all taken in 1958. Frenched headlights, nosed, decked. The 1955 Chevy taillights were frenched in by Frenchy Holbert. Side trim is 1956 Olds 98, upside down.  Bob created a functional scoop in the leading edge of the rear fenders. Bob hand-built the copper grillework ovals from copper tubing. Colors are 1958 Chevy colors Arctic white and Sierra Gold Poly round the windows and inside the trim.
 Later Bob had the Chevy pinstriped by a kid who attended Sheridan College with Bob Prill in 1958. He was from “some place else”, and Bob couldn’t recall his name.

CCC-bob-prill-albums-01-09Side view shows how the turned upside down 1956 Olds side trim was installed in such a way that the point matches the top of the custom made scoop.

CCC-bob-prill-albums-01-13The copper grille color fitted perfectly with the Sierra Gold accent color on the car.
CCC-bob-prill-albums-01-15I love this picture with Bob’s 1953 Chevy parked in the driveway and the other cars parked on the road with the hills in the background. 
CCC-bob-prill-albums-01-16Bob won the trophy at a Casper, Wyoming show in 1958. These photos show Bob was pretty proud with the award.
 The white wall tire letters were painted copper, a nice detail that we had seen done at some of the other cars at the shows we attended.
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.

CCC-bob-prill-albums-01-17Frenchy Holbert installed the 1955 Chevy taillights.


In a second part of these Bob Prill photo album article we will highlight a few other cars from our club, and some photos Bob took at some car shows. Stay tuned….


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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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