Gil Ayala's 1940 Mercury
1940 Mercury coupe owned by Gil Ayala. The car was customized by Gil and his brother Al Ayala. Over the years, Gil did several modifications to the car, but the first thing he did was to chop the top. In The Rodder's Journal 39 there is an old picture showing the car just after the chop. On the picture you can see that Gil has sketched Fadeaway Fenders on the car using a white pencil. He has also drawn an enlarged windshield opening on the car. On the back of the picture there is also a sketch showing the car with Cadillac Fishtail Fenders and hood portholes. The hood portholes were never added to the car.
The car featured 1949 Cadillac rear fenders and bumper. The front fenders and fadeaways were handmade, and the car was fit with a 1950 Studebaker front bumper and guards. The top was chopped 6 to 7 1/2 inches. the door handles were removed and replaced by pushbuttons. The windows were electric. The car was fit with a yellow leather upholstery, and a purple cream and cream dash. Bernie Mackey helped Gil upholster the coupe. Once completed the car was painted jet black. Custom Cars Trend Book No. 101 is also stating that the body was lowered 5 inches in front, and 6 1/2 inches in the rear. The car took one year to build, and was completed on New Year's Day 1949 at a cost of $3,500.
Gil ran his coupe at El Mirage. In order to make it go faster he ordered an engine from Earl Evans. The engine was a 296-incher sporting three carbs, Evans heads and manifold, and a Smith & Jones cam.
By 1951 Gil's coupe was painted in Devil Maroon. This version of the car was entered at the Oakland Roadster Show in February 1951, where it took first place in the custom class. By then the car had been sold to Richard J. Stickley of Hollywood, California.
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