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History Custom Car builder Spotlight: AYALA BROTHERS

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by Rikster, Mar 24, 2005.

  1. Rikster
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    Rikster Member

    I thought it was a nice idear to put a spotlight on some of the Great custom car builders of the past and recent years. I would like to do a post so every now and then showing some of the highlights, and perhaps some of the lesser know custom cars that came out of these Custom Builders shops. Wherever I have info I will place it along the photo's and hopefully others will add photo's and or more info.

    For the first Spotlight I would like to start with the Ayala Brothers. Gil and Al Ayala have been customizing cars from the beginning of customizing. All of thier customs have beautiful flowing lines, lots of attention to detail. Fadeaway fenders seem to be one of theire trademarks as well as "fast" customs. They raced several of thiere custom cars at the lakes with good result.

    Below a very nice ad from a '50 Motor Trend magazine, showing the '40 Mercury with full fadeway front fenders and '49 Caddy rear fenders. A very unussual car... and the more photo's I have seen of it the better I like it. I still would like to see some more photo's of the car beeing finished in very glossy black paint.

    [​IMG]
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    One of the greatest magazine covers of all time is this colorized photo of several of Ayal built customs. In the midle work is done to the 40 Merc. Most of the body work is done and here it still has the original headlights. Later it would get some extended molded in headlights (I personally like the first version better)


    [​IMG]

    The second Car is Hank Griffith's 42 Ford with again full fadeaway fenders andagain Caddy rear fenders, this time from a '50 Caddy.


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    Last edited: Mar 19, 2010
  2. Rikster
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    Rikster Member

    One more of the Griffith Ford

    [​IMG]


    Don Roach '49 Pontiac convertible is another very graceful custom. Very classic customizing... less is more.
    The modified front end, the mild chop and perfect Carson top, slight taildraging stance... perfect

    [​IMG]
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    Louie Bettancourt 49 Merc Was first finished in the light shade of gold. Completely customized by the Ayala's. Soon after this it was brought to the Barrisses and customized even further.

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    Second version. Barris added a wonderfull new grille, and simple but very efective side trim.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2010
  3. yorgatron
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    yorgatron Member

    great photos,5 stars!:D
  4. Rikster
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    Rikster Member

    Gil built this 46 Ford convertible for Al Garcia. Very gracefull Carson style top with wraparound rear window. One of the more unussual modifications is the widening of the front of the hood. A very nice modifications. giving the 46 Ford a totally different look.

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    Wally Welsh had the Ayala's built him this 41 Ford convertible with Carson top. The car can also been seen in the colorsized photo in the beginning of this post. Its the maroon car in the back

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    Much better known is this other Wally Welsh custom the '49 Mercury, seen here in its first lime gold version.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2010
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  5. Rikster
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    Rikster Member

    [​IMG]

    This great custom is still around and is undergoing a full restoration.
    Joe Eddie owned it for quite some time, and did the first restoration/update. But the current owner Justin Mozart is taking it back to how it looked when it just rolled out of the Barris shop.


    When owned by Joe Eddie
    [​IMG]


    Unfinished restoration at the 2009 Mercury Gathering. Owned by Justin Mozart

    [​IMG]


    Similar to the Welsh 41 Ford is this '41 Ford convertible built for D. Holland.
    Difference is small details like the front of the hood, grille bumpers and sid trim.

    [​IMG]
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    All Glickman's 51 Merc has some unussual rear fender treatment using Olds rear quarters. Wonderfull carson style topped convertible. The grille and much rounded hood corners is so graceful.

    [​IMG]

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    Last edited: Mar 19, 2010
  6. Rikster
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    Rikster Member

    John Geraghty's 40 Ford is another very subtile custom to roll out of the Ayala custom shop.
    mild chopped Carson top. two inch sectioned hood and raised front fenders.
    46 Ford bumpers. running boards removed.

    [​IMG]

    Wonderfull taillights.

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    Smooth hubcaps, smooth sectioned hood... very elegant.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2010
  7. 50Fraud
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    50Fraud
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Very nice thread, thanks. I remember virtually all of these cars from Petersen's Custom Cars book (ca 1952) and other publications of the day, but it seemed that the Ayala brothers were gone soon thereafter. Anybody know of later work from them, or what became of them?

    How about doing the Cernys next?
  8. Nick32vic
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    Nick32vic Member

    Man, i dont know were you get all these pictures, old magazines i guess? But the pictures and your wealth of knowledge is awesome. This post is really cool. I just checked out your website to see if you got my pictures up and there are so many awesome pics on there. Post your models in Model Car Sunday sometime too. They are nice.

    Im gonna have to go out on a limb here and say this guy makes a good HAMBer.

    Nick
  9. spent
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    spent Member

    Great post, and great pics. I drink up whatever I can about the early guys who made things what they are today. Some of the Ayala bros. stuff doesn't really do it for me, but I sure dig those Mercs, and that Carson topped '40 Ford.

    What's up with the roof on that '40 Merc from the mag cover. Looks almost like it was grafted on from a later car [Chevy?]. Either way, that chop and hardtop treatment looks sick.
  10. Rikster
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    Rikster Member

    Spent. To me it looks like they just used the 40 Merc roof, chopped it several inches more in teh back than the front and in thi sphoto showing it where they cut away the rear portion of the stock roof which has to be on a different angle after the chop.Most likely the rear quarters where hand formed later. The rear of the side window opening looks to me like its from 40 Merc coupe.. which is almost a Hart-top with its chrome window trim anyway. The flow of the rear of the top could have been a bit more like the Matranga merc perhaps but still. I like it the way it is.
  11. Cris
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    Cris Member

    Great idea, great thread. Thanks a lot for sharing the pictures and info.
  12. Rudiments
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    Rudiments Member

    fantastic thread, the craftmanship displayed is awesome
  13. Donzie
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    Donzie Member

    Great post Rikster.
    Gets the wheels turning.
    Looking forward to seeing more of these.
  14. CruZer
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    CruZer Member

    All I can say is "THANKS !!!!!"
  15. Thanx for this GREAT post. I have a soft spot in my heart for the Ayala's work. When I was 12 years old, Gil bent the forks of my Schwinn to lower it. I put a crank from a 20" bike because Gil dropped a little too much. 6' risers, ape hangers and the front fender put on the back. Painted at Ayala's on Olympic Blvd, in East L.A. with left over Honduras Maroon. I sure wish I still had it.

    Do you have any pix of the T-Bird with the extruded metal fins? It used to be the shop logo in the late fifties. Any shots of the shop?

    I can't wait to get back from VLV and see where this thread goes.

    cp
  16. loogy
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    loogy Member

    Excellent idea. Thank you for going to these efforts. It will absolutely awsome to have a collection of all of these photos and information in one place. Your efforts are truely appreciated.

    Chris
  17. Shiftymutt
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    Shiftymutt Member

    I can totally appreciate the look and style of the Ayala Cars. Their eye for details and style were / are impressive. I would like to know what ever happened to them and their shop.
  18. praisethelowered
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    praisethelowered Member

    you rule rikster. . . thanks for this great post.
  19. Mutt
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    Mutt Member

    Not the best scan - from Aug. '58 Car Craft little pages...

    Mutt
  20. Evel
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    Evel Member
    1. 60s Show Rods

    Awesome post....


    This should be done at least once a month...



    evel
  21. cleatus
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    cleatus Member

    Rikster,

    Thanks for adding to the custom side of this messageboard. For years I have come here and - occasionally - there is good info about customs. Now that you are around, there is - usually - a good custom thread going. Very cool.

    Guys like you, 00 Mack, RPW, Sailor, Ron and a few others are what keeps the history of customs alive. People who know the details; who it belonged to, who did what, with what parts and if the cars survive today, etc., etc. - that kind of knowleage is invaluable to keeping the history alive.

    I mean, I LOVE traditional styled customs, but my memory is short-term to say the least. I struggle to remember details of a car I saw two minutes ago. For instance, I own a copy of the MotorTrend illustrated cover you show early in this post - I love it and stare at it often, yet I never picked up on the fact that it is the Ayala bros. car they are working on. I just go: "duh......purty!......duh"

    Keep the flame burning bro!
  22. glassguy
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    glassguy Member

    yup.. rickster and frenz have really lit up the custom side.. wish i could add to it.
  23. Rikster,

    Great post, thanks.

    What magazine is the Don Roach Pontiac article from?

    If any Hamber out there has this or any article on the Don Roach Poncho, I would really like a good copy of it. Some great ideas for my '52, I really like the front end treatment.

    swdobbs...
  24. epinut
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    epinut Member

    The 40 convertible is soooo sweet, what colour was it?
  25. TheFrenZ
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    TheFrenZ Member

    Rik,
    again a great thread and I truly appreciate your idea of a Custom Car Builder Spotlight every now and then.Thanks a lot ! Well, I don't have many pics of Ayala build cars other than the ones out of Custom Car related books.I'm more into the early Barris look.No question,the Ayalas did build some great cars too and their skills to work metal is equally impressive,I like simple looking cars and that's why the Bettancourt and Welch Mercury's are my favorite Ayala cars.The Bettancourt Merc was titled the most streamlined Merc ever and it's easy to see why and also easy to understand why.The Ayalas were also at home at the nearby dry lake beds of Southern California and I guess this is where they got their inspiration for this Merc.They even shaved the driprails which I actually don't like but it seems to work on this car.The fadeaway makes the car look like going 120 while standing still.The Barris' Bros later painted the car in deep burgundy wine and I guess it must have looked absolutely stunning.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This pic shows Gil Ayala's car at El Mirage.The stance is rather Hot Rod than Custom.The Merc really looks like a Lockheed P-38 Lightning due to the Caddy fins,don't you think ? Top speed at that weekend was 121mph.I think the best top speed of the car was 127mph.It was powered by a big 297" Flatty built with Evans parts.The Ayalas were both,Customizers andl Hot Rodders. Gil also drove track roadsters when he was a member of the Gophers car club.He later became a member of the Vultures when he raced his cars on the lakes.
  26. cleatus
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    cleatus Member

    Oh, yeah...TheFrenz! That's the other big Custom History contributor I was trying to think of. See, I tell ya, my memory is shit! But I do pay attention, and I do appreciate and enjoy the posts.
  27. LOST ANGEL
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    LOST ANGEL
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    1. HAMB Old Farts' Club
    2. 4 door kustoms
    3. Western New York Rodders

    Cleatus, I'm with you. Custom guy to the end, but dumber than a bag of hammers. My memory sucks too, but I can't get enough customs!-MIKE:D
  28. Kilroy
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    Kilroy Member

    That first 40 Merc is the prettiest custom ever from the back.

    ...And about the ugliest from the front.

    They really cam into their own in the 49-51's...
  29. JonnyRockets
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    JonnyRockets Member

    Wow - kick ass stuff! Great post!
  30. Here's some photos I've got of the Ayala's Merc. The first is of it in primer, and the next two are some more of it at the '48 Rusetta meet. Notice they have changed the front wheels to some cut down Ford wires.
    BTW, great idea on spotlighting different customizers!
    Mick

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