BOB LOMAX 53 CHEVY
1953 Chevy Convertible created by Gil and Al Ayala form Robert Lomax in the mid 1950s
Bob Lomax’s ’53 Chevy was one of the “few” Ayala Custom cars that ever made it on the cover of a magazine. The car was part of our Ayala Magazine Cover story we did back in 2015. Now its time to get up close on this typical mid 1950’s Custom.
We do not know exactly when Bob’s ’53 Chevy was restyled by Gil Ayala, but some of the photos that have surfaced of the car date back to 1956. And most likely around that time the Ayala’s had finished the car for Bob. The newest parts used on the car are the flipped side by side 1956 Plymouth side trim.
Before Gil and Al Ayala would start on the project they would listen to the clients requests for the car. With those request the two brothers would start to discuss the possibilities. Both brothers had their own task in the body shop, Al did most of the chassis and body work, while Gil did most of the finishing, and painting of the cars. But when it came to restyling both guys liked to get involved. According to some who where at the scene in the 1950’s the discussions between Gil and Al were very lively, but always ended in a unique and very well balanced design.
In case of Bob’s Chevy the windshield was chopped 3.5 inches, the rear fenders were moulded to the body and reshaped and extended at the rear to house a set of 1954 Packard taillights. Small diameter tubing was shaped and welded to the rear fenders so that the Packard light could fit inside, which gave them a nice finished look. Like they had always belonged there. The front fenders were also extended, and 1954 Chevy headlight bezels were frenched in. The two part hood was welded together, all emblems and trim removed and a nice center hood peak added. The splash pans front and rear were moulded in. A new grille opening was shaped from small diameter round tubing and blended into the front fenders with a nice lip. The top center section of the new opening was cut out and welded to the bottom of the hood. Later a Barris Kustoms Accessory tubular grille was added.
All handles, emblems and trim were removed, except for the rocker trim. The front wheel openings were modified with the use of an unknown lipped opening. A side trim from a 1956 Plymout was used to break up the smooth sides. The passenger Plymouth side trim was used on the driver side of the Chevy and visa-versa. A set of ’53 Chevy flush fit fender skirts was modified so the bottom would not be level with the bottom of the fenders. The front bumpers were completely smoothed before chrome plated. At the back the ’53 Chevy bumper guards made place for a set of more attractive ’54 Chevy guards. Gil Ayala painted the car in Matador Red metallic, and a Padded top with straight B-Pillard was created most likely by Louie Chavez, who also did the interior in red and white.
Finishing touches for the car was a slight taildragging lowered stance, wide white wall tires with custom 6 blade flipper hubcaps, a set of Appleton Spotlights and a Ansen’s Automotive hopped up straight six Chevy engine.
The May 1960 Rod & Custom article mentioned that the tubular grille used in Bob’s Chevy was a Barris Kustoms Accessory unit. It was set into a custom made grille surround. A set of 1954 Chevy headlight units was frenched into the fenders.
Bob’s 1953 Chevy was featured in full color on the cover of the September 1961 issue of Speed and Custom magazine. Two really great color photos show the car in Candy Apple Red. By now the car was updated to fit the current trends. The skirts had to go, the stance was changed by raising the rear for the very desirable California Rake. And the Custom hubcaps had to make place for some trendy chrome reversed wheels. By then the use of real Appleton Spotlights was out, so those had to go as well. In the magazine article there was no mentioning about the fact that Gil Ayala had created the car. It also does not list who painted the car. But more than likely Gil also was responsible for the new Candy Red paint job on Bob’s Chevy. Other than that the car appears to have been the same.
The completely smooth front bumper, hand shaped grille opening, tubular grille and smooth peaked hood look very classic. The fact that the car does not have any pin striping help with the ultra clean looks of the car. Chavez also did the full upholstery on the trunk.
Later Dan Cuellar, from the Auto Butchers Car Club, who has owned many custom cars, including from saving the Gil Ayala 1955 “Wild Bird” from the crusher also owned the Bob Lomax’s Chevy convertible for some time in the 1960’s.
Rob Lomax and the Dick Fowler 1938 Ford Coupe
Rob (Robert) Lomax is also known as the person who has saved the Barris created Dick Fowler 1938 Ford Coupe. (now owned by Kurt McCormick). In 1979 Robert Lomax found the Dick Fowler coupe in a newspaper , Recycler, or local Green sheet ad. Car was in Sunland California – near the L.A. Valley. The history of the car was not really know at the time.
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