Custom Car Chronicle
Ayala Custom Shopdesign

House of Chrome Truck Illustration




When CCC Member Hudson Joe went out to buy an 1941 bike, he made an very interesting discovery. A beautiful 1951 Artist Impression of the House of Color Shop Truck.

In July 2016 Hudson Joe visited a guy who had an 1941 Schwinn bike for sale. It turned out to be a very righteous and kind person named David (Dave) Aguirre. Joe looked at the bike and decided to buy it. After the sale had taken place, Joe wandered around a bit at David’s place looking at all the cool bikes, toys and other stuff in David’s Collection. In the back ground Joe noticed a drawing/painting of a ’41 Ford custom pick-up embelished with the words House of Chrome on the door. What really caught Joe’s eye was the color. Joe has seen many pics of this truck in black and white but no color.

CCC-house-of-chrome-truck-portret-01Dave Aguirre, son of Phil Paul Aguirre who ran the House of Chrome shop in the 1950’s and 60’s. The illustration of the House of Chrome Shop truck is behind him on the left side of the photo, partly hidden from view. we are glad Hudson Joe looked a bit further than just the bike he came for.

Joe asked Dave, who’s truck is that? Dave said said, my fathers! Oh my god holy shit of all things holy! Joe said… Dave said his dad had a chrome shop next to Gil’s, then Joe finished his sentence, Ayala. Dave got goosebumps and started to tear up. He said you know about my dad! Uh yeah! There are pics of your dads truck all over the internet. You see Dave doesn’t have a computer or cell phone that has internet access.

CCC-house-of-chrome-truck-painting-05This is how Joe saw the illustration first, partly hidden behind some stuff on the shelves.

CCC-house-of-chrome-truck-painting-01The nicely framed illustration by Robert A. Cadaret.

Dave mentioned that the shop truck was restyled by the Ayala’s and that Gil Ayala had painted it a kind of Candy Purple with chartruse (a color between yellow and green) tonneau cover and interior. The painting was done in 1951 by GM concept artist Robert A. Cadaret who was working with Gil Ayala at the time.


About Robert A. Caderet

Robert (Bob) Caderet (1931-2000) – As a young boy, Bob loved to draw trains, fire trucks and automobiles. That love of cars was finally rewarded in his senior year at Franklin High School in Highland Park, CA . At age 19, he won the prestigious Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild award for designing and building the best model automobile in the nation and was awared a $4,000 scholarship. Using the award money, Caderet attended the Art Center School in Los Angeles and graduated in 1953. He was pre-hired by General Motor’s Chevrolet studio.
From tail fins to chrome bumpers and fenders, Robert Cadaret left a stamp on Chevrolet cars, which still endures today. Bob played a major role in the creation of all Chevrolet automobiles from 1953 to 1963, plus Corvettes from 1955 to 1963, including the famous Motorama Waldorf Show Cars. He was also instrumental in naming Chevrolets such as the Impala, the Nova, the Corvair Monza, and the Corvair Lakewood Wagon. His career at General Motors spanned from 1953 until his retirement in 1987. (info from





CCC-house-of-chrome-truck-painting-04Robert A. Cadaret’s signature on the illustration from 1951.

What is very interesting about the illustration is that it for the first time shows us the color of this Ayala Restyled truck, but also shows the truck with tear drop fender skirts and none chrome plated running boards. Which most likely means that most of the photos we have seen of this truck are taken later than 1951 when Cadaret created his illustration.

CCC-house-of-chrome-truck-01The real 1941 Ford truck that the Ayala’s had restyled for Phil Aguirre in the late 1940’s. 


Phil Aguirre rented a small shop building on the corner of Gil Ayala’s property on East Olympic Blvd. Here he ran the House of Chrome, an store selling all kinds of chrome details and accessories. Phil moved the House of Chrome shop to a new building, out on Beverly Blvd., near the Newhouse Automotive Speed Shop around the mid 1950’s. The House of Chrome was in business from 1946 till 1964.

CCC-house-of-chrome-truck-bike-01This is the wonderful 1941 Schwinn bike Joe came for… and which he took home with him.

Joe will be visiting Dave again very soon, to talk some more about the shop truck, the House of Chrome and the Ayala shop. Lets hope Dave has some more hidden secrets to shed some light on the Ayala’s and the House of Chrome… Stay tuned…

(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)

4 thoughts on “House of Chrome Truck Illustration

  • Hudson Joe, you made my day! What a great story. All the connections that unfold. The swoopy styled Schwinn alone is worth the seat at the CCC screen, but then that wonderful color rendering. Which let the stories flow out. The Ayala truck. In color. The chrome shop next door. And then, Robert Cadaret. And an example of just how tightly our traditional custom culture is inter-connected with styling that would come out of the major car manufacturers. Those design studios drew from a talent pool of kids who were hooked on custom cars. Like David North from Billings, MT, whose ideas found form in the GTO, the Riviera, and Toronado. Now Chevrolet’s Golden Years, and Bob Cadaret. Thank you for sharing, Hudson Joe.

  • Perfect article Rik! Much appreciated and well written thank you! The most important part of all of this is documentation. CCC is the place to insert any and all that we come across. Snippets of memory from a fellow hotrodder or custom car builder that you met while buying a bike is so random and serendipitous, almost as if we were supposed to cross paths to get the information to add the pieces of the most difficult part of a puzzle of the sky. My rule when buying cars, bikes, motorcycles, you name it. Ask questions, ask questions, and say thank you. Those simple two things, thank you are hardly ever used in life.

  • how kool out of the blue this pops up , we spent a lot of time in the house of chrome looking at all the goodies every time we went to gills like we were in a candy store good memories from back then,

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