Friday, May 12, 2017

Bill Carter, you may not know the name, but you've seen his work become famous, and the influence spread far from who inspired him, and who he inspired

Bill began his career as a youngster painting a 1956 Buick that he striped in a garage and would eventually paint everything from Airplanes to Wheelstanders.

One day while on a sidewalk waiting to be picked up from the movies Larry Watson rolled by in his 50 Chevy, and Bill was floored by the whole thing, the car, the paint, and the pompadour.

He was inspired by Larry Watson in a couple of other ways too, the painting of candy, lace, and style... and taking on bit roles on tv and movies.

Bill became the protégé of Larry Watson after working around town but being too shy to ask Larry for a job, and is the only person known to have the secret formulas to iconic Watson paint jobs memorized. It was Larry Watson who coined the nickname "Wild Bill" because Bill would not only paint dragsters but race them.

Starting at the bottom, working on the side at home and doing beer trucks, paint, lettering etc, he was suddenly screwed when the union went on strike at the beer factories, so he went to work in a production company across the street from Disney. (1964-65). Suddenly making 3 times the money as an employee instead of self employed, and in the right place at the right time when Larry Watson walked into the shop and offered him a job based on the great work he had seen around town that Bill had done.

But they didn't get along, and the job was a grind. So, he went out on his own and started his own company, Custom Candy by Carter. About that time he got hooked on driving top fuel dragsters too. (1969)

By the late 60’s Walt the “Kid Striper” had grown up and teamed up Bill Carter at Carter Pro Paint on Burbank Boulevard.

Walt was Bill’s pinstripe expert, and the word grew that Walt was definitely the go-to guy for custom striping. At the time, Bill would also take under his wing a 12-year-old worker by the name of Mario Gomez, who handled the broom duties at the shop, and in years down the road, the friendship between them would bring about the Candy Factory.

Walt went on to do the paint on Gypsy Rose, the most famous lowrider Impala ever.

He painted the Wagonmaster for the guy who bought it from Tommy Ivo, met Don Prudhomme, and began painting for Don, who introduced him to Tony Nancy, etc etc the ball was rolling and he painted Joe Piasano's fueler, and Dick Landy's cars, then Pennzoil wanted their Indy cars and team rig all pearl yellow.

Suddenly Hollywood was knocking at the shop door and he was painting Linda Vaughn's Ferrari, Fleetwood Mac's cars, Leslie Neilson, Dan Haggerty's (Grizzly Adams) Porsche, etc.

Today, Wild Bill Carter is sought out for striping, overlays, pearl bases, candy overlays and color arrangements which are is key factors on custom paint job and he is the go to guy for wild 60s paint schemes.

So Prudhomme set about getting the Shelby Super Snake restored. But that took a longer time than he was used to. Don Long, the original builder, did the chassis. “Wild” Bill Carter painted the body.

“He’s in a walker, a f****** walker, and he insists on doing the painting himself,” said Prudhomme of Carter. “He does a few swipes, moves the walker, does a few more swipes…”

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