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Ayala Custom Shop

Ayala 49 GMC Restoration Part 2


AYALA 51 GMC Restoration PART 2


In 2011 the Historic Ayala GMC Shop Truck changed hands once again. The new caretaker is in the process of a full historical correct restoration.
Progress Report Part 2.

A couple of weeks ago the new caretaker of the Gil’s Auto Body Works 1949 GMC Shop truck reported that the restoration on the Ayala Shop Truck had started. In out FIRST report we shared some details on the original interior and paint colors, the backdating of the frame and engine and a few more details. This historic Custom could not have been in better hands, since every little detail will be brought back to how it looked in the early 1950’s when it was first created by Gil and Al Ayala, and serve as their shop hauler, and doubled as rolling advertising for the Shop. A feature article on the Gil’s Auto Body Works GMC Shop Truck can be found here.

When Jim bought the truck a set of ’80’s dummy spotlights were installed.

Jim send us a couple of photos of the latest update. All the body panels have in the meantime been completely blasted to bare metal. When Jim bought the truck it from Bruce Geisler, it had a set of 80’s dummy spots mounted on the A-Pillars. But fortunately included with the sale came a box with the original Appleton S-552 spotslights, that were installed by the Ayala’s. Well, they ditched the 80’s dummy spots and started to test fit the original Appleton S-552’s. “It’s so cool to see all of the original custom bent brackets align with the holes drilled by the Ayala shop.”

Body and dash were blasted to remove the multiple layers of paint. With the dash installed temporarily the team test fitted the Original Appleton S552 Spotlights that came in a box with the truck. The fit like a glove, every bend the Ayala’s made to them back in the early 1950’s, to clear the dash, still work.

The Appleton Spotlights were installed on the belt-line on the A-pillar. All holes from the original installation are still there.

Drivers side belt-line metal even had the metal dented from where the bracket had sit all those years.

Passenger side inside, rod perfectly clears the dash. Some 66 years ago these exact parts were first installed by the Ayala’s!

Mounting bracket on the inside, where the bent sections still fit the holes perfectly.

Same on the drivers side.

With the S-552 bucket installed on the passenger side.

When the interior was removed prior to the blasting the team found out how the Ayala’s had lowered the seat in the truck. In one of the old magazine articles it was mentions that Gil lowered the seat 3 inches to compensate for the reduced headroom from the chop. Well here is how they did it. They cut Pie-shape channels into the floor and added new mounting bolts into this recess. It’s pretty smart as it lowers the seat while still retaining the adjust-ability of the seat slider. It sure is cool to see the original work of the Ayala’s.

After the blasting the Ayala work to lower the seat became better visible. The pie-cut shaped tunnel was welded into the floor, and two new mounting bolts were added a few inches below the original location.

Same thing on the other side.


Jim also send this never before seen photo of the inside of the truck when Geisler got it back in the late 80’s from the wrecking yard. At this point it is believed that most of what can be seen here is from the Ayala days as Bruce Geisler changed very little of the interior from the Ayala version. The only thing in this photo that was added when Bruce owned the truck, was the striping on the dash.

While working on the Pick-Up Jim discovered that the GMC was actually an 1949 model and not the 1951 it is mostly revered to. Most likely Gil used 1951 doors, which include vent windows, or modified the ’49 doors to have vent door installed.

Special thanks to Jim Bobowski for the new update.

(This article is made possible by)




Rik Hoving

Rik is the CCC editor in chief. As a custom car historian he is researching custom car history for many years. In 2004 he started the Custom Car Photo Archive that has become a place of joy for many custom car enthousiasts. Here at CCC Rik will bring you inspiring articles on the history of custom cars and builders. Like a true photo detective he will show us what's going on in all those amazing photos. He will write stories about everything you want to know in the realm of customizing. In daily life Rik is a Graphic Designer. He is married to the CCC webmaster and the father of a 10 year old son (they are both very happy with his excellent cooking skills)

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