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History Custom Car builder Spotlight: AYALA BROTHERS

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

  1. E HANSEN13
    Joined: Aug 2, 2009
    Posts: 504

    E HANSEN13

    Great post I enjoyed it and there was some sick customs...
  2. koolkemp
    Joined: May 7, 2004
    Posts: 5,968


    I agree Jeff,I love this truck! I would love to build something like this someday.Do you know if it was just channeled or was it sectioned...hard to tell in this pic..
  3. Im not sure what all was done to this this truck.At first glance I just see it being lowered and chopped and the combination of both give it a very nice look.I just wonder what happened to this one.
  4. banditomerc
    Joined: Dec 18, 2005
    Posts: 1,865


    That is one nice looking truck,what year Chevy is that,'39 maybe?
  5. It's a Ford. Picture courtesy of Rikster.

  6. RAVENS29
    Joined: Nov 2, 2011
    Posts: 110

    from n/a

    that truck is cool
  7. koolkemp
    Joined: May 7, 2004
    Posts: 5,968


    Thanks K13, just chopped I see now...looks alot more radical from the me at least anyways lol!
  8. I think it is just the way the truck is sitting in that picture from the rear. It looks like it is leaning which makes the side appear sectioned.
  9. U-235
    Joined: Dec 18, 2010
    Posts: 452


    Thank God Jeff, your back and well again....
  10. The other night I was at Arts shop and they had a truck like this in there,I was really lookin at it close.I think on this Ayala truck they kept the stock rear window the original size when they chopped it,just bringing it down to the beltline .I really dig the look of these trucks especially this one.
  11. morac41
    Joined: Jul 23, 2011
    Posts: 340


    Hi Rik... Thanks for all these great pics and infomation...40s..50s customs are a great part of hot rodding...Doug
  12. :D:D Thanks man.... yes im very well now.
  13. [​IMG]
    Just wondering if anyone knew what fastback car that is in the background ? looks kind of like a Buick....? or not ? Hmm
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  14. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,756


    I did a series of postings on Ayala Custom Cars on my Facebook... figures some of you on here who are not on Facebook might like this as well...

    I kept the images big so everybody can enjoy these in large format.

    Gil Ayala's Auto Body Works never had as much magazine exposure as the Barris shop had. It was not that they did not want to, but Gil never was as much as a promotor as George Barris was. However the Ayala's had a couple of very nice magazine covers in the early 1950's. And perhaps the best one was this really fantastic photo taken by Felix Zelenka for the October 1951 issue of Motor Trend. The original photo must have been taken quite a while before it was used for the cover, since the finished 1940 Mercury Al Ayala can be seen working on was already on the cover of the November 1950 issue of Motor Trend all finished. In Pat Ganahl's Ayala articles in TRJ he showed that Felix originally shot a color transparency of this Ayala shop scene. But it was decided that the cars needed a bit more color and light for the magazine cover, so a colorized version was made by Don Fell. In this colorized version some of the cars received different colors than original so that they would look better, more attractive on the cover of the magazine. Int this photo we can identify most of the cars as Ayala Customs. On the top right we can see Wally Welch with his girlfriend - Jeannie Chrisman,- in front of Wally's 1941 Ford Convertible. Below that the 1940 Ford of John Geraghty. On the bottom right the 1942 Ford with Cadillac rear fenders of Hank Griffith. On the bottom left side we can see Gil's personal 1942 Ford Coupe. The car on the top left side is probably D. Hollands 1941 Ford convertible, but thats the only one I'm not 100% sure of. Gil Ayala is leaning on the cars front fender. ANd in the center of the photo is Gil's 1940 Mercury with Al sitting on the fender/hood. The fade away fenders where all done, but the chop was unfinished. The c-pillar filler pieces still needed to be done. What a great photo… I hope that more photos from this Felix Zelenka photo session will show up one day.


    The first magazine cover exposure the Ayala's had was on the Motor Trend of November 1950. Even thought the Mercury was on the cover, the inside only showed two photos and a small amount of text on about a quarter of a page. The text mentioned builders Gil and Al Ayala, but not Gil's Auto Body Works as the body shop. The photo was taken by Thomas J. Medley, the model is Anita Houck and it was Al Ayala inside the car, and according the Motor Trend magazine had this "back-to-school motive. It still is kind of odd that the finished version of this Mercury is on the cover of the November 1950 issue, while the in progress photo I posted yesterday was used in Oktober 1951. The car had already been sold by then to its new owner Richard J. Stickley. This November 1950 Motor Trend cover with the Gil Ayala 1940 Mercury on the cover is a rather rare magazine. As can be seen in the photo on the right it reads "Edition C". As far as I have found it the Mercury was used on the cover of the magazine distributed to California only. The Rest of the US/World had a cover with a Henry J on it, as can be seen in the inset. The cover and the description about the cover photo on page 5 is the only thing different to these magazines. So if you ever come across one with Gil's Mercury on it you better get it.
    As for the Mercury… Gil and All chopped the top on the car, they had special metal shaped panels made to fit the back of the top, as well as the full fade away fenders by the California Metal Shaping company. The rear fenders and rear bumper where replaced with 1949 Cadillac units. At first the car used a stock front end. Regular headlights and a 1946 Ford bumper. This is how Gil drove and raced it for a while. The body was in primer, but later they modified the front section of the front fenders, molded in a set of newer headlights and used a 1950 Studebaker bumper on the front. Gill painted the car in a very deep glossy black.


    In 1952 the Ayala's had another Custom Car on the cover of one of the major magazines. It was on the cover of the April 1952 issue that Hop Up used the very first full color photo of the Wally Welch 1950 Mercury Custom taken by Jerry Chesebrough. It turned out to be one of the better Hop Up magazine covers. The photo agains a brick wall with a single palm tree is really fantastic and with the bold HOP UP Letters a really strong graphical image. The color reproduction in those days was far from perfect, and even the full color printing left a lot to be desired. I have included a photo made from the original color transparency that was used for the cover. It has faded over the years, but it still looks amazing. I hope one day it will be used in a magazine really big on a page.
    The article inside - two full spreads - showed a nice selection of photos of this early chopped Mercury. And it did mention Gil And Al at Gil's Auto Body shop as the builders. I really like the look of this Mercury in this first lime gold color. But it did not stay long in this color. Wally Welch brought the car to the Barris shop for a redo which they did in deep purple, and they added two more DeSoto grille teeth in the process as well. This Hop Up cover shows the beauty of the Ayala restyled Custom. Everything is just right on this car. The chop, not to much, just right, the stance, and above all the color in combination with the rest of the restyling. Gil Ayala had a very good eye for picking the right color for the right car.


    The Ayala's had another Custom Car on the cover in 1953. Al Glickman's 1951 Mercury customized at Gil's Auto Body shop was usd in color on the cover of the Motor Trend of May 1953. For the Ayala's this was a really great magazine because not only Al's Mercury they had built was featured in it. There was also a two page feature on the Gil's Auto Body Works 1951 GMC shop truck in it. And if you are not familiar with this particular Motor Trend issue… you might want to check it out next time you see it. It has a ton of really grate custom car featured including a very nice 4 1/2 page article on the Barris Customs history. So if there was any competition between Barris and Ayala in building the best Custom Cars the battle continued in this issue as well. Back to the car on the cover.. Al's 1951 Mercury. The car is rarely seen elsewhere. Only a very few photos of this typically Ayala different designed Custom Car have been published in magazines other than the feature in this Hop Up article. The one things that pops out on this Custom are the 1951 Oldsmobile 98 rear fenders grafted onto the body, and the upward body crease flowing from the front fender where it usually had the dip. The other thing that stands out from the rest is the use of the 1952 Ford Meteor grille (Canadian Ford) which flows nicely in the molded grill surround. The Ayalas also rounded the hood corners with a large radius, just like they did on the Bettancourt Mercury. Also the rear corners are rounded, and now flow nicely into the A-pillars, a very nice touch you rarely see. Of course the windshield was chopped and Chavez was hired to do the padded top as well as the interior. Gil Ayala painted the car in Devil Red Maroon, which is most likely a bit darker than it shows in the colorized cover photos. According the Motor Trend article Al was called overseas soon after the car was finished, and he sold it to Tommy Kamifuji… and I have no info what happened with the car after that… anybody knows?


    In 1951 the Ayala had one of their Custom Cars on the cover of the Trend Book No. 101 Custom Cars. The first book that would later become an annual until 1962. There where two cars on the cover of this book, one was the 1940 Ford based Coachcraft built roadster (shown in green on the cover while the car was actually dark blue) and the other car was the Ayala built 1942 Ford Coupe for Hank Griffith, colorized in red. The scans of the Cover where made from the first edition of this book. The first edition was printed in July 1951, and the cover was printed on uncoated coarse paper giving it a dull look. While the second edition, printed in October 1951 was printed on a coated glossy paper. Other than the cover there is as far as I know nothing changed between the first and second print. I guess the first print in July was a relatively low amount, this was a new type of book and Trend Publishing had no idea what to expect from it. Apparently it did better than they thought, hence the second print.
    About the Ayala car on the cover. Hank's 1942 Ford coupe had a full page insided the book, on page 77. Three photos where shown of the primered Custom. And as far as I can tell the cover photo must have been taken at the same photo shoot as that was used on the Cover of the October 1951 issue which I showed earlier. High point of view (most likely from the Ayala shop building roof. This photo was also taken by Felix Zelenka and colorized (Flexichrome) by Don Fell. The Ayala's grafted a set of 1951 Cadillac rear fenders to the extended front fenders for a completely unique look. The grille was replaced with a 1949 Cadillac unit, and the top was chopped 4 inches in the front and 4 1/2 in the back. Although the car was colorized red on the cover, I have never seen a photo of this car with finished paint. In the gathering real color photo shot by Felix that TRJ used in their Ayala article we can see the car in dark gray or black primer. And in the October 1951 issue of Hop Up magazine there is a photo showing Hank's Ford in white primer with black wall tires.


    The July issue of Rod & Custom Magazine featured another Ayla Custom on the cover, a very nice full page color photo of the Johnny Rosier 1953 Mercury. The car was a collaboration between Johnny and the Ayala brothers, but most of the work was done at Gil's Auto Body Works shop. Johnny's 1953 Mercury with its unusually dark greenish blue and gold paint scheme did it very good on the cover of the magazine, since the car was again used on the March 1958 issue of Car Craft magazine (right inset photo) as part of a expanded metal grille feature. The Ayala's did not chop Johnny's car, but that does not mean everything else was mild on this custom as well. At the back they narrowed a 1954 Cadillac bumper to fit below the 1955 Lincoln taillights which were mounted in extended rear fenders. The scoops in the rear quarters where opened up and chrome 1955 T-Bird front fender louvers trim was mounted inside the opening. The front end was modified heavily as well with a new grille opening filled with gold/coper plated expanded metal and the use of three 1955 Buick bumper bullets. The front fenders where extended and a set of 1956 Packard headlights trimmed to fit the Buick bullet and stock Mercury bumper ends. The unusual upwards shaped side trim was created from 1955 DeSoto items, flipped and turned upside down. The side trim makes the car look kind of strange now. But I think back then it was something really new, and it might have helped getting the car into the magazines. Johnny was a Auto Butchers member so the brass Auto Butchers cleaver plaque was mounted on the front bumper. Pinstriping on the car was done by Von Dutch. Acording Memo Ortega who hung out a lot at the Ayala shop, Johnny and his Mercury where always over at Gil's shop, and his car looks so good going down the road when he would leave the shop.

    The "About the Cover" text from R&C is:
    The California sun looks down on many sights, and pretty girls, custom cars and swimming pools are more often the rule than the exception. Models Paula Westrope (foreground) and Maura Martin wonder why Johnny Rosier doesn't leave his Black Gold Custom Mercury long enough to take a dip in the extremely inviting La Canada pool of Fred Tayberry. Cover Ektachrome by Al Paloczy.


    Another Ayala Custom car that was used on a cover was Louis Bettancourts 1949 Mercury. And even though the cover was not rally on a Magazine but rather a Car Show Program I want to included it here anyway. This is the cover of the 3rd Annual International Motorama show held by Petersen's in November 10-16, 1952 at the Pan Pacific Auditorium. The cover of the program was printed in two colors, red and blue, and one of the 5 cars on the cover is the Ayala built Louis Bettancourt 1949 Mercury. On the inside the same photo from the cover was used, but then half of the back ground was shown. The photo was taken by Jack Campbell and its caption reads: Extreme fadeaway fenders set the style on this smooth chopped and channeled 1950 Mercury of Louis Bettancourt. All body seams have been filled and blended. The Ayala's created a very smooth Custom for Louis. They chopped the top, removed the driprail, and angled the b-pillar forward and repositioned the door line in the center of the pillar. All reveals around the windows where molded in, and so was the belt line. The front fender line was extended all the way to the back. Custom taillights where shaped from clear red lucite. Two 1949 Mercury grille shells where used for the new grill opening which housed a Kaiser grille bar. And all the corners on this Mercury where rounded with a very large radius which makes the whole body look extremely smooth. The rear corners of the hood now flow very nicely into the a-pillars. All the trim pieces where removed from the car and Gil Ayala painted the car in a "scintillating green-gold shade. The colorized inset photo is an interpretation of this color. As far as I know no real color photo of this version of the car has ever been published. This Ayala version of the Bettancourt Mercury lasted only a little over a year.
    In 1953 Louis took his Mercury to the Barris shop and they created a version that most of us remember as the Bettancourt Mercury.Barris redid the car in Tingia Maroon with a 1949 Cadillac side trim, custom grilles based on 1952 Ford parts, Later Johnny Zupan would own the car and he also took it back to Barris for a redo with mostly cosmetic changes. In the 1960's Bill DeCarr was hired to add Studebaker pans and quad headlights. TBefore the car was ever finished in this form it was stolen and it has not been seen again, although there are plenty of rumors it is still alive.

  15. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,756


    Another Ayala Custom car was used on the cover of the May 1957 issue of MOTOR LIFE magazine. This time it was Gil's personal customized 1955 T-Bird.
    The Ayala's reshaped the front using a set of 1955 Pontiac bumpers, Studebaker pans and a small oval grille opening in the center. The front fenders where extended, and 1955 Packard headlights installed. In the photo is clearly visible that the passenger side chrome headlight insert is missing. A new much larger working hood scoop was fabricated. Both wheel openings front and rear where reshaped. The rear fenders where also completely reshaped and the crease running from the front fenders all the way to the back now stops shortly after the door. It looks like the whole back portion of the fender comes from a 1956 Lincoln, including the taillights. Below it sits a modified 1954 Cadillac bumper end piece, which now also houses the exhaust pipes. Gil fabricated a new roll pan for the back starting just below the trunk and he recessed the license plate into it. In 1957 it was the latest tredn to use expanded metal, so Gill used it to create brass plated fender fins at the back, and screens for the hood scoop. Then Gill added one of his signature Candy red paint jobs.
    The wild pinstriping on Gil's 1955 T-Bird was done by Walt Leeman who later used to pinstripe out of the House of Chrome which was housed on the corner of the lot where the Ayala Brothers where at. Walt striped Gil's T-Bird at a hollywood car show. Walt was striping the car just when Von Dutch was brought over by Earl Bruce and the two where introduced. It must have been a touch job striping while the pinstripe master Von Dutch is watching you over your shoulder.
    Later Gill redid the car and removed the over the top expanded metal, reshaped the front fenders and added different headlights.
    Fortunately this car survived, and was recently offered for sale. I hope it was bought by somebody who will return it into the original or second version of Gil's personal car...

    This is the text that was on the inside of the cover of the Motor Life magazine. COVER STORY: (Left inset photo) Setting up for one of several color shots made for the cover of this issue of MOTOR LIFE, is Bob D'Olivo, seen here focusing on Gil Ayala's flashy Thunderbird (details on pages 52-53). The young lady, both here and on the cover, is Ada Hume, student at UCLA who spends her summers in the chorus line at the Sahara in Las Vegas.


    Although not a Custom Car this is still an Ayala Customized car that made it on the cover. The Eddie Dye 1929 Model A Roadster on the cover of the March 1952 issue of Hop Up magazine. Inside the magazine the car had two whole spreads on one was used for three quart with a really great cut away drawing created by Jim Richards. Although the articles stated that all the body work on this Roadster was done by the Ayala's we do know that the grill was formed by Whitey Clayton. But as far as we know the rest was done at Gil's Auto Body works, including the channeling of the 1929 Model A body over the 1932 Ford frame. They also hammer welded the door shut, and created a really smooth body by doing that. A new roll pan was created at the back which had nice little cut outs at the bottom for the exhaust pipes. They also constructed a full belly pan. Not sure if the Ayala's or Clayton did the hood and hood sides. But those where custom made as well, and had some very nice tear drop shaped bubbles to clear the engine. The cowl was modified to accept a DuVall windshield and the dash was modified to accept a 8 gauge panel and a Ford accessory steering wheel. The interior built and upholstered by Berry's Custom Upholstery in white leatherette and a contrasting dark with white piping carpet. Gill mixed his own dark red color for this car, and applied it with great care. The end result is flawless. The white wall tires with hubcaps and beauty rings and the perfect very low stance are the best option for this car to make it look absolutely stunning. The Hop Up Cover also featured the Barris/Quesnel built Jerry Quesnel's 1949 Mercury.


    Mark Morton's recreation of Hop Up magazine featured the Ayala Built 1940 Ford of John Garaghty on the cover of the second issue in 2001. Even though the car was on the cover of this magazine/book it only had two photos on the inside (page 43) and a few lines of text. It was part of an article on Dean Batchelor, his early days at Hop Up magazine and his fantastic photo collection that is now part of the Ron Kellogg Collection. Ralph Poole was the photographer of this great photo of this really great and subtile Custom Car. The Ayala's customized Johnny's 1940 Ford Convertible in two stages. The first version was a really wonderful chopped - three inches - and Carson topped custom with the running boards removed. In the second stage the body was channeled over the frame, and the front fenders where raised up into the body with three inches. The hood was sectioned three inches to make this happen. The rear fenders stayed in the stock position. The Ayala's installed 1946 Ford bumpers and smoothed the body The taillights where replaced with Buick units, and the stock chrome plated 1940 Ford headlights remained front. The fenders where not molded to the body like they did on so many cars. This gave the car a very crisp look, very classic. Once all the work was finished Gill mixed a very nice brilliant iridescent green and sprayed the Ford with many coats for an ultimate glossy finish. The interior in John's 1940 Ford was handled by L & L Upholstery Shop in Glendale. The car was dressed up with aftermarket ripple moon disks. The earlier version had fender skirts and aftermarket Caddy Sombrero hubcaps, but the new channeled car looks so good with no skirts and the smooth hubcaps. The end result was a very stylish, sportive looking convertible. In the October 1952 issue of Hop Up magazine there is a very nice three page article on this great timeless custom. The same 2001 Hop Up Cover photo is used, among several other Ralph Poole photos. In 1990 I bought a book called Custom Cars & Lead Sleds by Timothy Remus. This book has this same Cover photo inside, and when I saw it, I fel in love with this car, and ever since it has been one Custom I really enjoy looking at.


    Another Ayala Custom Cover Car is this 1953 Chevy Gil's Auto Body Works created for Bob Lomax from Harbor City, California. Inside this September 1961 issue of SPEED and CUSTOM the car is listed as a Bob Lomax owned candies '53 Chevy. The two page feature doe not mention anything about the cars Ayala origins at all. However the May 1960 issue of Rod & Custom magazine also has a two page feature on this car. It looked a bit different then, with an mid 1950's look and in this article the car is mentioned to be a Gil Ayala built Custom Car. In this article it is mention that the carcass been collecting custom trends over that past few years. Since the car looks so much like an mid 1950's Custom I assume it was built during that time, and updated every few years. The two inset photos on the bottom show how the car looked in the 1960 R&C feature. The front wheel openings where flared and radiused, a new grille opening was created in which a Barris tube grille was mounted. Although I can imagine this car had a different floating type of grille earlier. The headlights frenchend, and taillights are now 1954 Packard units in extended fenders. The side trim comes from a 1956 Plymouth. In 1961 The stance of the car had changed completely, now with a forward rake and with the fender skirts and Spotlights removed looked much more sporty than before Bob also added a set of chrome reverse rims to replace the wheels with hubcaps on the aelier version.. In the Speed and Custom article it is mentioned that the car had 20 coats of Candy Apple lacquer, but no mentioning of who plied it. We all know Gil Loved to paint cars, and Candies where his favorite type of paint. Louie Chavez is credited for the interior and padded top.

  16. Holyshit ! Rik you just made my day.These guys were the real deal right here.

    Rik how was the response on Facebook ? Did people appreciate all of this Ayala stuff ? I dont think many people on here dig it but thank you for posting anyway.
  17. 50Fraud
    Joined: May 6, 2001
    Posts: 9,591


    I saw the Glickman/Kamifuji Merc for sale in a gas station on Santa Monica Boulevard (between Beverly Hills and Westwood in L.A.) around 1955. It was in perfect condition, and as I recall the price was around $3500. I tried to convince my mother that she should buy it as her daily driver. She wasn't interested.
  18. 51 mercules
    Joined: Nov 29, 2008
    Posts: 2,532

    51 mercules

  19. emiliedk
    Joined: Dec 29, 2004
    Posts: 614

    from denmark

    thanks Rik..your threads are always amazing..
  20. bob t!
    Joined: Aug 23, 2011
    Posts: 209

    bob t!

    Thanks Rik . The Ayala's are one of my favourites . It's posts like this that have looking on this site every day.
  21. shiftervic
    Joined: Apr 12, 2011
    Posts: 189

    from So. Cal.

    Way to go Rik! ...Thank's
  22. koolkemp
    Joined: May 7, 2004
    Posts: 5,968


  23. bubba67
    Joined: Nov 26, 2008
    Posts: 1,749

    from NJ

    Good lord, Rik !!!!!!!!!! Amazing thread, I really enjoy seeing the photos in the large format, it really does make them more enjoyable to view. Thanks again for posting these.
  24. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,756


    Jeff, I wanted to wait overnight to give a more objective answer to this question.
    Unfortunately Facebook is much more into Custom Cars than the HAMB is at the moment.
  25. Mercchev
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 606


    Following you on both, Rik. Keep it up...Amazing pics and knowledge.
  26. Wow ... That is pretty sad news and I never thought I would hear that.:(
  27. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 1,831

    from red oak

    You are tempting me to join Facebook. I just aquired the Motor Life issue this weekend along with 100 other magazines from 57 to 63. Whats the progress on the T-Bird since it was sold last year.
  28. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,756


  29. [​IMG]
    I just love how a certain customizer from this era likes to say they finished Louie's Mercury for him and how the car was started but never finished.Also,some writers have even written that in some articles in recent times.
    That is actually funny to me.Well.... when it is on the cover of a program from the Motorama at the Pan Pacific...I think it is safe to say the car was finished.Let's all just remember that.
  30. BrerHair
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 3,769


    Wow! Looks like a Norman Rockwell painting, just Fantastic! Great stuff Rik!

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