Gil Ayala

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Gil Ayala
In Hop Up March 1952, Gil was asked what cars they liked best in 1951, and what changes they would like to see in 1952.
Gil Ayala's 1955 Ford Thunderbird. Known as the Wild Bird, the car was restyled by Gil and Al 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.

Gilbert "Gil" Ayala was legendary custom car builder and painter. Gil was the younger brother of Al Ayala. Al was two years older, and the pair is known as the Ayala Brothers. According to his second wife Lucille, Gil began racing for Evans at age sixteen or eighteen. In 1945, at age 20, Gil opened up a custom body shop named Gil's Auto Body Works at 4074 E. Olympic Boulevard in East Los Angeles. As Gil got married, established a family and a business, he cut off the racing. It was Gil's shop, and Al worked for Gil. Gil's true passion was mixing and painting custom colors. While Gil was the painter and front man, Al was the master fabricator.[1]

Both Gil and his brother Al were members of the East Los Angeles Auto Butchers Car Club. In Rodders Journal Number 39, it is also stated that Gil was a member of the Vultures Car Club of City Terrace and ran with them at Rusetta meets. Gil was briefly married to his first wife, when they were both quite young. They had a daughter named Susan. Later on, in the early 1950s, Gil met his second wife Lucille at the dry lakes. She had a boyfriend at the time. After knowing each other for a couple of years, Gil and Lucille got married in September 1953. Lucille became the manager/bookkeeper of the shop, and worked there most of the time after that. Gil and Lucille had two daughters named Lisa and Lynn.[1]

Gil died of lymphoma from the contaminants in the paint at age 66 in 1991.[1]

Gil Ayala's Personal Rides

Gil Ayala's 1940 Mercury Coupe
Gil Ayala's 1942 Ford Coupe
Gil Ayala's 1951 GMC Truck
Gil Ayala's 1955 Ford Thunderbird - The Wild Bird

Cars Restyled by Gil Ayala

Click here to see cars restyled by the Ayala Brothers


Rodders Journal Number 39


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