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Ayala Custom Shop

Bob Lomax 53 Chevy by Ayala


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.

Bob Lomax with his 1953 Chevrolet. Los Angeles, California, 1956. This photo shows the car with a nice level, or perhaps a slight speed boat stance.

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.

Gil Ayala painted Bob Lomax’s ’53 Chevy in Matador red. By now it appears the rear has been raised a bit, for a slight forward rake. (which was unusual to do with the use of skirts)

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.

The 1953 Chevy rear bumper was updated with 1954 Chevy bumper guards. The ’54 Packard taillights look right at place in the extended, moulded in and reshaped rear fenders.

The car also looked really good with the padded top removed. The interior and tonneau of the car was done by Louie Chavez, most likely he also created the padded top.

Ansen Automotive was responsible for building the hoped up Chevy straight sic with dual car intake, and many other chrome plated goodies.

Louie Chavez did the upholstery in Bob’s ’53 Chevy in red and white rolls and pleats in a typical mid-late 50’s style.

1961 Redo

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.

Cover and spread of the September 1961 Speed and Custom magazine.

Removing the skirts and adding the forward rake with chrome wheels really changed  the looks of Bob’s Chevy. The new updates really fit the early 1960’s Custom Car styling trends.

Model Cheryl Williams posing with Bob’s Chevy, which looks amazing in Candy Red.


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. We have no idea what happened to the Bob Lomax Chevy after this, and if it might still be around today. If any of our readers knows more, please let us know.


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.


(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)

2 thoughts on “Bob Lomax 53 Chevy by Ayala

  • Beautiful car and another great article Rik.
    It is interesting that in the early years of customizing the trend was to add things and in the later style the trend was to remove things. 🙂

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