Gil's Auto Body Works

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An early ad for Gil's Auto Body Works.
Gil Ayala's 1940 Mercury coupe. The car took one year to build, and was completed on New Year's Day 1949.
Jack Stewart's 1941 Ford of Los Angeles, California. Kenny Lucas chopped the top on the car in 1948, before Jack channeled it himself. In 1950 he brought it to the Ayala Brothers to have full fadeaway fenders installed. Later on in 1950 the build was completed by Barris Kustoms.
Eddie Dye's 1929 Ford Roadster, was built by the Ayala Brothers circa 1950 - 1951.
Gil painted Joe Nitti's 1932 Ford roadster. He mixed the lacquer himself, and the car was finished in a lush deep organic Purple.
The House Of Chrome 1940 Ford pick up was restyled by Gil and Al. In the early days, a small building on the corner of Gil's property housed a separate business called The House of Chrome. The House of Chrome sold chromed accessories.
Wally Welch's 1941 Ford convertible was restyled by Gil and Al sometime prior to 1951.
Gil Ayala's 1942 Ford coupe was restyled sometime prior to 1951.
Don Holland's 1941 Ford convertible of Lakewood, California. Don's Ford was restyled by Gil's Auto Body Works sometime between 1948 and 1951.
John Geraghty's 1940 Ford convertible was restyled by Gil's Auto Body Works sometime prior to 1952.
Bob Lomax's 1953 Chevrolet was restyled by Gil's Auto Body Works.
Gil Ayala's 1955 Ford Thunderbird of East Los Angeles, California. Known as the Wild Bird, the car was restyled by Gil and Al Ayala at Gil's Auto Body Works. The first version was completed in 1956.
A photo of Gil with the second version of the Wild Bird taken during the rebuild in the early 1960s. Trend Book 175 Custom Cars 1959 Annual credited Gil as a Thunderbird restyling specialist. Photo from the Ralphy Morales Photo Collection.

Gil's Auto Body Works was an East Los Angeles, California custom body shop owned and operated by legendary custom car builder and painter Gil Ayala.

Est. 1945

Gil opened up the shop in 1945, when he was 20 years old. It was located at 4074 East Olympic Boulevard.[1]


Gil and Al

Gil was the front man and painter at the shop, while his brother Al was the master fabricator. Gil owned the shop, and Al worked there on and off over the years, sometimes full-time, sometimes part-time. Al did also have a regular job at a Chevrolet dealer, and he would work for Gil when it was slow at the dealer, or at nights. Al also worked full-time for Gil in stretches, doing strictly bodywork.[1]


Full Service Body Shop

Gil's Auto Body Works was a full-service body shop that did a lot of custom metalwork and painting. Gil did also do a lot of insurance repair work, especially on high-end cars, to make ends meet. Gil's speciality, and his love, was mixing and spraying luscious custom colors, especially candies and pearls. The Ayalas were among the first to make full Fadeaway Fenders.[1]


The House of Chrome

In the early days, a small building on the corner of Gil's property housed a separate business called The House of Chrome. The House of Chrome sold chromed accessories.[1]


Lucille

In September 1953, Gil married his second wife Lucille. Lucille became the manager/bookkeeper of the shop, and worked there most of the time after 1953.[1]


Thunderbird Restyling Specialist

Gil Ayala is listed in Trend Book 175 Custom Cars 1959 Annual as one of the customizers in the industry doing outstanding work in the art of restyling automobiles. He is listed as a Thunderbird restyling specialist.[2]


45 Years in Business

Gil ran his shop at 4074 East Olympic Boulevard for 45 years. In 1991 he died of lymphoma from the contaminants in the paint at age 66.[1]


Employees and Helpers

Al Ayala
Curly Hulbert
Gil Ayala
John Manok
Lucille Ayala
Ruben Palazuelas[1]
Ralphy Morales


Cars Restyled by the Ayala Brothers

Eddie Dye's 1929 Ford Model A Roadster
Kazar Simonian's 1929 Ford Model A Roadster
Joe Nitti's 1932 Ford Roadster
The House Of Chrome 1940 Ford Pickup
John Geraghty's 1940 Ford Convertible
Gil Ayala's 1940 Mercury Coupe
Don Holland's 1941 Ford Convertible
Jack Stewart's 1941 Ford Coupe
Wally Welch's 1941 Ford Convertible
Gil Ayala's 1942 Ford Coupe
Hank Griffith's 1942 Ford Coupe
Al Garcia's 1948 Ford Convertible
Louie Bettancourt's 1949 Mercury
Don Roach's 1949 Pontiac
Buddy Alcorn's 1950 Mercury
Dave Marquez 1950 Mercury
Wally Welch's 1950 Mercury
Mel Gerrard's 1950 Oldsmobile
Memo Ortega's 1951 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop
Gil Ayala's 1951 GMC Truck
Al Glickman's 1951 Mercury Convertible
Hank Griffith's 1952 Ford
Bob Lomax's 1953 Chevrolet Convertible
Johnny Rosier's 1953 Mercury
Gil Ayala's 1955 Ford Thunderbird - The Wild Bird
Richard Aguirre's 1955 Mercury


Sources

The American Custom Car
Rik Hoving Custom Car Photo Archive
Rodders Journal Number 39


References






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