Panel Paint Job

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Larry Watson's 1958 Ford Thunderbird. Larry bought the Thunderbird brand new in 1958, and he told a seller at Downey Ford to give him a call as soon as the first car with a tuck n' roll interior arrived. Larry brought it almost directly to Barris Kustoms for a mild job before he gave it a burgundy and silver panel paint job. Larry's Thunderbird was known as "Vino Pasiano" and "The Burgundy Bird," and the first iteration was completed in 1958.
The second iteration of Larry Watson's 1958 Ford Thunderbird was completed circa 1958-1959.
Terry Browning's 1958 Ford Ranchero of Neptune City, New Jersey. Terry was a founding member of the Haulin' Gents, and the panel painted "The Ruby Ranch" version of his Ranchero was completed in 1959.
Dell Chandler's 1960 Pontiac Ventura of a Lansing, Michigan. Dell's Pontiac received a scallop and panel paint job by Jerry Drake and Larry Cooper in 1960.
Kent Lee's 1954 Mercury four-door of Salt Lake City, Utah. Kent was a custom body and paint guy, and his Mercury, named "One Step Beyond", was a showcase creation. This photo shows the car as it sat around 1960 - 1961.
Bill Haddad's 1951 Chevrolet. Bill bought the car car from Richard Torres of Lawndale, California. After buying it, Bill had Larry Watson of Watson House of Style give it a panel paint job. Named "The Blue Ribbon," this iteration of the car was featured in Popular Customs Winter Issue 1963.
Steve Arnold's 1965 Chevrolet Malibu of Gardena, California. Steve was a member of the Tridents of Southern California car club. In 1967 Steve installed lifts on the Malibu.
Jim Robertson's 1961 Ford of Simi Valley, California was originally restyled in 1969. In 1970 it received a panel paint job by the Animal of Canoga Park.
Johan Eriksson's 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 of Nyköping, Sweden. Johan is a founding member of the Undertakers of Sweden car club, and the restyled version of his Galaxie, featuring a panel paint job, hit the streets during the spring of 2013.
Pontus Karlsson's 1959 Buick of Stigtomta, Sweden. Pontus is a member of the Undertakers of Sweden car club, and his Buick received a panel paint job by Johan Eriksson in 2013.
Jeff Bruns' 1959 Ford of Vacaville, California. Named "Green With Envy," Jeff's Ford was completed in 2013.
Josie Celeste's 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air of Oakland, California. Named "Angel Lust," the panel painted version of Josie's Chevrolet was completed in 2016.
Henrik Forss' 1966 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 of Sacramento, California. The build was completed in October of 2018, featuring a panel and flame custom paint job by Kyle Martin of Martin Kolor & Style. Gold Metallic panels, frosted in Dark Gold Metallic were added. These were outlined in Dark Gold Metallic 1 shot with body color seaweed flames stretching all the way down her side.

Panel Paint Job is a painting style invented by Larry Watson. Upon graduating from school in September 1957, Larry opened his first shop Watson's House of Style in north Long Beach, California on Artesia Boulevard. Larry decided that he wanted to start a new trend: customizing with paint. In order to promote his new trend, Larry bought a brand new 1958 Ford Thunderbird that he took to Barris Kustoms for some mild modifications. Bill Hines and Bill DeCarr that worked at Barris Kustoms nosed and decked the car, shaved the handles and rounded the corners. After that Larry painted the car with six coats of pearl over a fine metallic silver base. Larry didn't tint the pearl with transparent mixing black toner that eliminated the cloudiness and he thought the car turned out too bright. Larry thought the bright look made the car look way too large, so in order to fix it up, Larry taped the panel lines of the bird with 1-3/4 inch tape and shot candy apple burgundy over it.[1] With this paint job many think that Larry invented the Panel Paint Job. The Thunderbird was the first car featuring a silver pearl and candy burgundy paint job, but before he painted panels on his own car he had already paneled Zeno Stephens' 1955 Mercury. Zeno wanted something different, no scallops or flames, so Larry body paneled it. Larry painted the car in Tahitian Red and striped it in gold. After painting the car Larry never saw it again, not in a magazine, or at a car show, nowhere.

Panel Painted Cars

Bill Haddad's 1951 Chevrolet - The Blue Ribbon
Pete Angress' 1952 Ford
Kent Lee's 1954 Mercury Four-Door - One Step Beyond
Josie Celeste's 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air - Angel Lust
Larry Watson's 1958 Ford Thunderbird - Vino Pasiano / The Burgundy Bird
Terry Browning's 1958 Ford Ranchero - "The Ruby Ranch"
Casey Martin's 1958 Plymouth Savoy
Pontus Karlsson's 1959 Buick
Ed Biggs' 1959 Chevrolet El Camino
Jeff Bruns' 1959 Ford - Green With Envy
Kirk Jones' 1960 Ford Starliner
Dell Chandler's 1960 Pontiac Ventura
Jim Robertson's 1961 Ford
Johan Eriksson's 1964 Ford Galaxie 500
Steve Arnold's 1965 Chevrolet Malibu
Henrik Forss' 1966 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88


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