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]
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.
Gary 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.
Gary 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.
Close 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.
Larry 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.
Gary 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.
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.
This 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.
Larry 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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