Gary Niemie 56 Buick

 

GARY NIEMIE 56 BUICK

 

Niemie and Watson were friends in the 1950s. Niemie created the laminated knobs for Larry’s Grapevine, Watson did the scallops on Niemies 56 Buick in the late 1950s and redid them again in 1990.


Gary Niemie and Larry Watson were friends and they helped each other out back in the 1950’s. Gary had created the hand-made two tone pink and white laminated dash knobs for Larry’s 1950 Chevy the “Grapevine“. When it came time for Gary Niemie to have his mildly customized 1956 Buick Century scalloped he of course went to Larry. Gary Niemie was from Long Beach California and his Buick was a typical mild custom for the time for that area. The mild customizing included emblem removal from the hood and the trunk and lowering the suspension for the perfect stance. The icing on the cake for the car was a fine scallop paint-job. We have no exact date when Larry Watson added the scallops, but the finished car can be seen with two photos in the Motor Trend February 1958 issue. This issue has an article names Splash your car with Color by James E. Potter and Gary’s Buick was used as a sample. The 1959 Custom Cars Annual shared the same two photos of Gary’s Buick as well. The work on Gary’s Buick was most likely done in 1957.


[box_light]This article shows a selection of photos from Gary Niemie’s 1956 Buick. All the black and white photos and the color photos of Larry working on the recreation 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 color photos come from the Howard Gribble Collection.[/box_light]


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We have only found three black and white photos and set of black and white photo-proofs from Gary Niemie’s 1956 Buick Century. As far as we know Larry Watson never had any color photos of the original car.

CCC-watson-gary-niemie-56-buick-04Gary Niemie 1956 Buick was lowered with wide white wall tires with ’56 Oldsmobile Fiesta hubcaps. The main scallop on the side follows the Buick side trim. Note the short lake pipe below the front quarter panel, those were hot in 1957.
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CCC-watson-gary-niemie-56-buick-03Rear 3/4 view from the photo-proof sheet, hence the not so good quality. The scallop on the rear quarter changes into a single flame lick and wraps around the “Century” script.
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CCC-watson-gary-niemie-56-buick-02This side-view show how nice the tires now fit the wheel opening after the car had been lowered.
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CCC-watson-gary-niemie-56-buick-05Gary Niemie made his own tear drop shaped laminated dash knobs in white and red. Gary also added a telephone and a record player. The rest of the interior remained stock at the point this photo was taken. 
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CCC-watson-gary-niemie-56-buick-06Close up shows a detail painted scene on the glove box. Most likely painted by Larry/ Sadly we do not have a better quality photo to see more details on this. It looks like some sort of alien is chasing two people.
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CCC-watson-gary-niemie-56-buick-08Larry had three good quality photos on Gary’s Buick in his personal collection. Two of them had been used in the Motor Trend and Custom Cars Annual publications and are mot likely taken (just as the proof sheet photos) by James Potter.
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CCC-watson-gary-niemie-56-buick-07The MT magazine described the scallops on the front of Gary’s Buick as follow: Twin streaks and a center peak emerge from the encircled grille scallop.
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CCC-watson-gary-niemie-56-buick-detailEnlarged section of the photo shows the find striping in red outlining the gold and bronze scallops as well as the free striping around the body details.
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CCC-watson-gary-niemie-56-buick-09Gary Niemie standing proud with his 1956 Buick Century with Larry Watson scallops.
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CCC-larry-watson-renegades-clubGary was a member of the Long Beach Renegades. Larry had this snapshot of some of the members in his collection. Gary Niemie is on the far right in the rear.
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CCC-watson-gary-niemie-mt-feb-58One of the two photos used in the Feb. 1958 issue of Motor Trend magazine shows how the magazine had highlighted the scallops on Gary’s Buick for the Customize your car with paint article.
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CCC-watson-gary-niemie-56-buick-mag-01From the 1959 Custom Cars Annual.
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Gary Niemie’s 1956 Buick Recreation

In the late 1980’s Gary Niemie now a member of the Long Beach Sultans, set out to recreate the car he had back in the late 1950’s. The car was mildly customized with a nosed hood and decked trunk, painted white and lowered over a set of wide white wall tires and Olds hubcaps just as how it was done back in 1957. Gary asked Larry Watson if he could replicate the scallops he had done some 33 years ago. With the photos in hand Larry marked the body and started to lay down the tape.After the car was taped completely and masking paper was added he painted the scallops in the same hue gold fading to bronze as in 1957. After the tape was removed Larry add the striping in red. This time around Gary also updated the car with a full custom tuck & roll interior in white and red.

CCC-watson-gary-niemie-56-buickn-00The side trim was removed and to make it easier for Larry to recreate the scallop which needs to follow the shape of the trim, he had applied masking tape where the side trim will be. 
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CCC-watson-gary-niemie-56-buickn-01Scallops are freshly painted with gold with the ends fading in bronze.
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CCC-watson-gary-niemie-56-buickn-03This photo os the scallop ending in the single lick flame around the Century script shows the bronze fading really well, especially because the red striping has not yet been added to this part yet.
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CCC-watson-gary-niemie-56-buickn-02Larry adding the red striping on the roof of Gary’s 1956 Buick.
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CCC-watson-gary-niemie-56-buickn-04The lick around the script is now all done with red striping. Note the full custom two tone interior in Gary’s recreation.
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CCC-watson-gary-niemie-56-buick-gribble-02Howard Gribble took this photo of the finished Buick at the Sultans Car Show held on the athletic field of Millikan High School in 1995.
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CCC-watson-gary-niemie-56-buick-gribble-04Wonderful flowing lines from the red pinstriping and gold to bronze fading scallops.
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CCC-watson-gary-niemie-56-buick-gribble-05Gary even added the short lake pipe below the front quarters. Since he was a member of the Sultans Car Club when his new car was finished, he added a Sultans club plaque to the Buick. 
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CCC-watson-gary-niemie-photo-frameLarry had several photo frames devoted to Gary Niemie’s 1956 Buick in his personal museum. This one shows some of the photos taken the day Larry recreated the scallops on the recreation. On the top left photo we can see that Larry used the old photos to get all the lines perfect.
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Frank Sandoval 36 Ford

 

SANDOVAL 36 FORD

 

Howard Gribble shared these photos of Frank Sandoval’s 1936 Ford coupe from the mid 1940’s. A trip back in time.



When I see photos like these of Frank Sandoval’s 1936 Ford mild restyled Coupe, it always makes me wonder, how many of these relatively mildly restyled cars were there in the 1940’s? There seams to be a huge amount of photos of this type of restyled car. It appears that the number of photos of the famous and not so famous fully Customs Cars are far fewer than the once showing this type of Customs. Of course it does make sense, since a mildly restyled car is something every handy guy could do himself, or have a local shop do for his newspaper round money. And this type of restyling did already set your car apart from the cars your parent would drive, or which you would see across the street. I guess that we are just not used to see these cars in great numbers today, were we can see photos of fully customized cars in the magazines and books produced back in the day and now. Perhaps the fact that the young guys from the 1940’s are slowly passing away, and photo collections showing their daily driven mildly restyled cars are passed on to family members who share them with the world, or just gave them away to the guy they know who happens to like cars more they they do.

In any event, I’m really happy these photos of these stylish, mildly restyled cars are popping up so frequently over the last couple of years. Because it is a style I happen to love very much, and it really gives us a good look how it was back then. The photos that Howard Gribble shared with the Custom Car Chronicle show Frank Sandoval’s 1936 Ford Coupe, that has actually been restyled a little more than the average restyling job. Something that required a bit more than bolt-off and on skills.



CCC-frank-sandoval-36-ford-03The low angle front photo shows the turned upside down 1939 Nash grille sitting in a much narrowed and reshaped 1936 Ford grille surround. Not an easy task to do this.
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Lets take a look at Frank’s 1936 Ford Coupe. One of the most obvious restyling done to the car is the front of the car. Frank uses a 1939 Nash grille and flipped it upside down. On the stock Nash car the grille actually is angled back at the bottom, while most other cars have angled back at the top grilles. The Nash unit is also wider at the top than the bottom. For the Ford design it was needed to flip the grille. The nash does not have a grille surround, the grille bars seam to float inside an opening in the body. Frank decided he liked the original 1936 Ford grille surround. So he narrowed it to fit the Nash grille. The top portion was narrowed more than the bottom. The body work on the grille surround looks to be expertly executed This was done either from scratch using sheet metal bend and folded in shape using the stock Ford grille, or perhaps it was based on an aftermarket grille surround or Pines winter grille that was modified to fit the Nash grille. Smooth hood sides replace the stock Ford units for an even smoother look. The end result is a very elegant narrow grille making the Ford look taller and the nose longer, indicating a powerful engine.


CCC-frank-sandoval-36-ford-02Frank looking good with his 1936 Ford in front of the Banning High School in Wilmington, California.
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The bumpers were replaced with the ever popular ribbed 1937 Desoto bumpers, a set of amber fog-lights installed and the wheels were dressed up with single bar flipper hubcaps with beauty rings. The bubble fender skirt, possibly a 1940 Ford unit was dressed up with a 1941 Buick, or similar styled aftermarket trim piece, a very popular dress-up part back then. The car was lowered front and rear, but a little more at the rear for the so desirable slight speed boat stance.

So whatever happened to Franks wonderful restyled Ford… we don’t know… but would love to find out.

Thanks to Howard Gribble for sharing these photos with us and Frank’s grandson Dg Jones and his mother Karen for preserving these great pictures.


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CCC-frank-sandoval-36-ford-04Howard Gribble did this great old fashion style colorized photo of Frank with his Ford…. great!
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The Howard Gribble Collection part 2

 

BODY WORK AND PAINT

 

In this second article on the Howard Gribble photo collection, we like to focus on some of the photos showing custom cars that are a bit different from the “mainstream” cars in the 1960’s and early 1970’s. Customs that were customized with more than just paint.



Howard Gribble has been sharing his collection of 1960′s and 1970′s custom car, and low rider photos on his own Flickr photo site since 2006. Since 2008, Howard also shares his collection on the Custom Car Photo Archive. In this second article on Howard’s Collection we are concentrating on some of the photos he took himself, rather than photos he had found. We like to focus on the photos that show us that there were still some custom cars that had more than just custom paint and lowering in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.
Check out the rest of the Howard Gribble Collection articles on the CCC-site


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In those years, the start of the low rider era most of the cars were only milady customized with actual body work. People spend most of their time and money into lowering the car as much as possible, and on the most amazing paint jobs. But there were still a few cars around that had the old style custom body work as chopped tops, reshaped fenders and grilles etc.

lets take a look at those cars captured with Howard Gribble’s camera…

 

CCC-Howard-Gribble-BW-09-WThe Roy Abendroth 1955 Buick “Busonic” was built by John Schott. He customized the Buick with 1957 Lincoln rear quarters, extended, reshaped and peeked front fenders with quad headlights and new grille opening. Every body panel on the car was modified in some way to help change the overall looks of the Buick with great results. Larry Watson ended up painting the car in copper metalflake with cob webbing in the light copper colored scallops in 1964. Howard’s photo shows the “Busonic” after a makeover that was done in 1965. Once again Larry Watson was hired to do the paint, this time in a striking lime metalflake on the main body and pearl black on the top.
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CCC-Howard-Gribble-BW-01-WDale Gould and and George Barris created this wild 1960 Cadillac Bill Carter was listed as the painter.
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CCC-Howard-Gribble-BW-11-WJim Noteboom’s 1963 Buick Riviera. Gene Winfields shop did the work on this car. The photo above shows the second version of the car with the extended sail panels and shaved trim. The front was modified  with a custom grille and at the back the taillights were moved from the body into the lower bumper. Gene painted this car in his famous fade away style in candy orange caramel to white pearl.
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CCC-Howard-Gribble-BW-10-WThe car changed hands two times before it ended up being painted metalflake purple as we can see it in this photo.
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CCC-Howard-Gribble-BW-07-WCustomized 1955-56 Fod has unique extended hood which hide the windshield wipers. The headlights are deeply tunneled into extended front fenders and the smoothed body is covered in several shaded of gray blue metalflake and candy paints. The wild interior with a supper glossy, metallic plastic, button tuffed, diamond shaped material.
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CCC-Howard-Gribble-BW-04-WVery pearl pink customized 1959 Chevy Impala with customized front and rear. Drew’s is listed for doing all the work on the car.
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CCC-Howard-Gribble-BW-06-WJoe Bailon built this wild ’65 Impala SS in 1970 for Jess Alcala. Joe dis all the work on the car including paint in his Los Feliz shop. In 1972 the car won the Elegance award at the Grand National Roadster show.
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CCC-Howard-Gribble-BW-02-WThe last car in this article looks to be based on a 1965-68 Chevy Impala with the front of the roof cut off completely. Two separate windshields are installed on the cowl in a thirties roadster style. The door hinges are moved to make them open from the top hinged on the rockers. New trends in low-riders were born in the wild 1970’s.
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Photo albums from the 1960’s and 1970’s

CUSTOM CAR PHOTO ALBUMS – PART 2

In our series on Custom Car Photo albums, we like to spend some time in the 1960’s and 1970’s. During these era’s, not only the custom cars changed dramatically, also the way photo albums, and even photos, were made changed.

 

The 1960’s

This decade brought many changes in the custom car photo albums. The albums were starting to get mass-produced, and most of them contained individual pages hold together by a binder. The heavy card pages used strokes of re-usable glue to hold the photos in place. Shields of clear plastic protected the (mostly) color photos. The – once white – pages of the albums yellowed over the years, due to discoloration in the glue. This was not really meant to be, but it did add a wonderful extra vintage feel to it.

The color photos where also mass produced, and the quality was not always the best, so a lot of the photos faded, or discolored quite a bit over time. The Custom Cars from this era where wild, the “sky was the limit”. New paint techniques, and paints where developed for relatively easy customizing. Bubble tops, and Over the Top Body Work, were covered in multiple coats, and hues of pearls, flakes, and candy’s where dominating the car shows.

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The 1970’s

Compared to the previous decade, the photo albums did not change all that much in the 70’s. Only half way through the 70’s, the Polaroid camera’s became popular. They where easy to use, and you knew right away if a photo came out right or not. Polaroid photos where available in black and white, as well as in color. The majority of the custom cars in this decade could be considered “mild” customs. They had lowered suspension, and most of the customizing happened in the paint jobs. “Special Paint” was the thing to have, in order to stand out in a crowd. Of course there where exceptions to this as well, and some extreme, and “not-always-nice-on-the-eyes-kind-of-customs” by todays standards, where built.

There also were some older customs from the 50’s, that where pulled out of the garage, and re-designed to fit the themes of the decade. That usually was not the best that could happen to those cars.
The low-rider scene started, and even though many will not admit this, but the low-riders where the predecessors of the custom cars that where becoming more, and more popular in the late 70’s, and even more so in the early 80’s.

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For these albums, photos were used from the Howard gribble, Keith Ashley, and Custom Car Photo Archive collections.CCC-1960-70-Image-W

Part one is about the photo albums in the 1940’s and 1950’s.
Part three is about the photo albums in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

 

 

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