Bill Hebal's 1950 Buick
The Ayala Rumors
When Bill bought the car, he was told that the car was originally owned by John Dahemi of Brentwood, California. Dahemi supposedly bought the Buick brand new, and he drove it happily until the February '54 Rod & Custom hit the stands. After seeing Sam Barris' 1950 Buick gracing the cover, Dahemi asked Sam if he would take on another Buick. Sam politely refused, telling Dahemi that he had spent difficult spare-time months doing his, and he didn't relish tackling another. After Sam had turned him down, Dahemi approached Al and Gil Ayala at Gil's Auto Body Works about the job. They accepted the challenge and began hammering the already beautiful fastback. While Sam's Buick was chopped close to 3.5 inches, the Ayalas cut Dahemi's close to five inches. Up front, the headlights were frenched, and the stock grille was scrapped in favor of a Corvette unit. The bumpers were then cleaned up and shaved for bolts. Shaved were also the door handles. The rear quarter panels were reworked to house a pair of 1950 Ford taillights, and the doors were opened by pushing one of the taillights. It was dressed up with dual spotlights and fender skirts. It was lowered by cutting the coils and installing lowering blocks. A mid-chassis wheel was then installed to prevent high-centering. Gil and Al also replaced the straight-eight engine in the car with a blown 1953 Buick 322-inch Nailhead V8, and before the build was finished, they ran the car for a lakes' class record but missed by a reported two miles per. After finishing the metalwork, Dahemi kept on to the Buick for the next 40 years. In the 1980s Dahemi decided to perform a mild restoration to the car. During the restoration, the Nailhead was replaced with a 350 Chevy engine, and the car was given a vibrant red lacquer job. Spencer Murray did a story on the Ayala history of the car that appeared in The Rodder's Journal 53
When Bill bought the car, he was also told that Buick was sold as part of a package in 1990 that included two Ferraris. The Florida buyer was less interested in the old custom, so he sold it to Bill. From what Bill understood, John had passed away in 1990, "and the fella I bought the car from had purchased it from the estate," he told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in 2020. Eventually, Baron Lawrence Dorsey of Los Altos, California approached Bill about selling the car. Bill got an offer he couldn't refuse, and the car was shipped to Hawaii, where Dorsey owned a property. In 2020 it was owned by a gentleman from Kansas.
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