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Projects '55 T-Bird "Wild Bird" Ayala Custom - Restoration

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by Yaril, Nov 17, 2014.

  1. Yaril
    Joined: Mar 13, 2006
    Posts: 990

    Yaril
    Member

    its my pleasure to start this thread! the original Gil Ayala Thunderbird known as Wild Bird is at my shop, Yaril's Customs, for a full restoration back to its little book days. ill try my best to document the process as i go and chime in with info on what ive found and is going on in the project. we are always looking for more info on this car, either of the 2 versions so that we can restore it more accurately.

    we are also looking for a donor 55 Tbird, we need things such as seats, motor, glass and a lot of misc parts so a rusty car is not a bad thing so long as it is complete! let me know if you have something we can use.

    so ill start off with the first batch of pics showing how we received the car in a red primer. first things first was to strip it down to bare metal so that we can find out what the condition of the original metal is. ill let the pics do the talking and chime in on the next post.

    thanks!
    Yaril

    IMG_2402 (Large).JPG IMG_2400 (Large).JPG DSC06951 (Large).JPG DSC06952 (Large).JPG DSC06953 (Large).JPG DSC06954 (Large).JPG DSC06955 (Large).JPG DSC06957 (Large).JPG DSC06959 (Large).JPG DSC06960 (Large).JPG DSC06962 (Large).JPG DSC06963 (Large).JPG DSC06964 (Large).JPG DSC06965 (Large).JPG DSC06966 (Large).JPG DSC06968 (Large).JPG DSC06969 (Large).JPG DSC06973 (Large).JPG DSC06976 (Large).JPG DSC06980 (Large).JPG DSC06981 (Large).JPG DSC06982 (Large).JPG DSC06985 (Large).JPG DSC06986 (Large).JPG DSC06987 (Large).JPG DSC06988 (Large).JPG DSC06990 (Large).JPG DSC06992 (Large).JPG DSC06999 (Large).JPG DSC07001 (Large).JPG
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2014
  2. Yaril
    Joined: Mar 13, 2006
    Posts: 990

    Yaril
    Member

  3. LAROKE
    Joined: Sep 5, 2007
    Posts: 1,723

    LAROKE
    Member

    Signed up, Yaril!
     
  4. ......damn. It's seen some living, ain't it ? Good luck!
     

  5. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 15,759

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Is it going to be a frame-off? How are you stripping the underside?
     
  6. scrap metal 48
    Joined: Sep 6, 2009
    Posts: 6,044

    scrap metal 48
    Member

    I love 5-6-7 T-Bird customs...
     
  7. That's a nicely styled custom!
     
  8. I sure hope the owner doesn't decide to redo the headlights in order to put it back to the first version. It would be a shame to cut off Gil's work to accomplish that. That would defeat the purpose of restoring an Ayala custom in my eyes. If one wants a version of the first car build one but don't remove original work to back track.
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  9. Firechief
    Joined: Nov 8, 2010
    Posts: 34

    Firechief
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I agree that it would be a shame to cut off Gil's work. It's not an easy task, since there is so few pics out there, especially of the second version, but also of the interior and details... Hopefully everybody that has additionally pics would be so kind to help out with the retoration by sending them to Yaril or post them here.
     
  10. 58 Delpala
    Joined: Sep 25, 2009
    Posts: 334

    58 Delpala
    Member
    from NC

    I knew your work on that Ford would pay off for you big time.

    It is a shame that car has been mistreated like it was. All that bondo is not a good sign but I know you will do it right and bring back the glory that was Gils workmanship. Will definitely be watching this one.
     
  11. Yaril, I will keep an eye out for a donor car in my travels.
     
  12. SicSpeed
    Joined: Apr 23, 2014
    Posts: 650

    SicSpeed
    Member
    from Idaho

    Classic Auto Trader has a rusty 55 Bird listed at $5500


    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App
     
  13. Cool project.
     
  14. ynottayblock
    Joined: Dec 23, 2005
    Posts: 1,954

    ynottayblock
    Member

    Even "donor" quality cars are getting ridiculous in price, I remember seeing a burned out shell go for 2 grand on ebay.
    Depending on what you are trying to find for the car, your best bet might be to buy each part you need, or you can buy alot in the aftermarket for these. Mac's carries alot for baby birds:
    http://www.macsautoparts.com/ford_thunderbird/
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  15. I like the screw in top of the left quarter.
     
  16. 296ardun
    Joined: Feb 11, 2009
    Posts: 4,244

    296ardun
    Member

    There were lots of famous customs in Southern California, but usually you saw them only at car shows...This is the only famous SoCal custom I actually saw driving on the street...one of those fleeting moments you never forget. So I am eagerly awaiting its restoration!....glad it is in your hands
     
  17. SuperFleye
    Joined: Jul 17, 2005
    Posts: 2,033

    SuperFleye
    Alliance Vendor

    Do you remember when you saw this one on the street? I'm curious if you saw the first or second version!


    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
     
  18. Taking notice of all the body filler on the front fenders, was it in an accident at some point? What year was the second version constructed?
     
  19. SuperFleye
    Joined: Jul 17, 2005
    Posts: 2,033

    SuperFleye
    Alliance Vendor

    We have talked to Walter Leeman about this El Hueso, who pinstriped the first version of the car. Walter went into the US Air Force in the early 1960s, and the second version was done sometime after he left. That's all we know for now. The big question is..did the second version have fins as well?

    As mentioned earlier, I think it would be a crime to redo the front of the car as well, as you then remove original custom bodywork by Gil Ayala! The new owner is really found of those fins, so I hope the second version had fins as well :)
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  20. barfers
    Joined: Feb 11, 2007
    Posts: 382

    barfers
    Member
    from Florida

    looking forward to this, its in the right hands!
     
    manx4me likes this.
  21. 296ardun
    Joined: Feb 11, 2009
    Posts: 4,244

    296ardun
    Member

    It was a long time ago, but I'm guessing maybe '57 or '58...this was the version that I saw, really remember the expanded metal tail fins...I could be wrong about the date, though.

    P9120034-vi.jpg
     
    Okie Pete likes this.
  22. Man......to be flush enough to get a fairly new car kustomized......it's unreal that car went under the knife so much to just be driven. Don't get me wrong....that's awesome. I'm just in awe of the financials necessary for such an endeavor then.

    This car and the Gene Winfield 56 custom Vette for Mike Sparrow exudes wallet oblivion for the day. Frekn' kaboom !! Pretty cool to spend it to get it......spend it to slice it....and ultimately.....spend it to wheel it.

    I can't wait to see what happens with this one. Still can't believe it exists.
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  23. I am sure it was a used car when Gil started it and when you are doing all the work yourself it was probably not that costly.
     
  24. Bought new by Gil Ayala in 55 brother man.
    Sweat equity or not.....it takes big sudsy hairy friggin' swinging balls to chop suey what was then....Ford's brand new answer to Corvette.

    w
     
    waylow64bird and volvobrynk like this.
  25. Where did you get the info that he bought it new I have never seen that?
     
  26. Just hit search. Its easy to find. Made magazine covers three years in a row. 56, 57, and 58. Quite the splash.....

    I am not an expert....merely a fan.
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  27. retromotors
    Joined: Dec 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,045

    retromotors
    Member

    I'm certain to step on some toes here, but in the photo 6 0r 7 posts back, that is an ugly freakin' car.
    Sure, some of the styling exercises back in the day were a little "iffy", but that sumbitch is truly nasty!
     
    Bandit Billy likes this.
  28. I liked it better without the striping......realistically though the car was stretched a bit more so then Tbird dimensions....Olds' wheel well treatments. Does throw the eye a bit, and yes.....some of the custom guys did more re-styling then styling.....but the car was a big splash in its day. These shots are more complimentary I think.....I'm sure better will come.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2014
    Okie Pete and volvobrynk like this.
  29. Yaril
    Joined: Mar 13, 2006
    Posts: 990

    Yaril
    Member

    thank you everyone for the comments! well time for another update. i have gone over every square inch of the exterior body sanding and cleaning and exposing. got to carefully block some of the original lead work and prep the body for its first coat of protection. look at all the pictures and you can see some the rust issues, old repair issues (especially on the passenger front quarter and driver rear rocker area).

    DSC07121 (Large).JPG DSC07123 (Large).JPG DSC07127 (Large).JPG DSC07137 (Large).JPG DSC07139 (Large).JPG DSC07145 (Large).JPG DSC07152 (Large).JPG DSC07153 (Large).JPG DSC07154 (Large).JPG DSC07156 (Large).JPG DSC07157 (Large).JPG DSC07161 (Large).JPG DSC07165 (Large).JPG DSC07168 (Large).JPG DSC07169 (Large).JPG DSC07174 (Large).JPG DSC07176 (Large).JPG DSC07181 (Large).JPG DSC07183 (Large).JPG DSC07188 (Large).JPG DSC07189 (Large).JPG
     
    Okie Pete, volvobrynk and Firechief like this.
  30. Firechief
    Joined: Nov 8, 2010
    Posts: 34

    Firechief
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Imagine how close to the scrapper this original Ayala car was, as some San Fernando Valley guys were dividing up the parts to sell. Luckily Dan Cuellar of The East L.A. Auto Butchers Car Club recognized it, and saved the car, and got most of the parts to, including the bumpers, taillights and dash. Somebody up there must have been watching... :rolleyes:
     
    Okie Pete and stanlow69 like this.

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