Custom Car Chronicle
Ayala Custom ShopEarly Custom CarsThe Wally Welch Collection

Wally Welch Other Customs




Before Wally Welch had his famous 1941 Ford and 1950 Mercury, he had a few other Custom Cars as well. Lets take a look at some snapshots of those from his old Photo Album.

When we mention the name Wally Welch, most people will think about the 1950 Mercury he owned in the early 1950’s. A great custom that was created by the Ayala shop and featured in color on the cover of the Aprill 1952 issue of Hop Up magazine, some might think of the 1941 Ford The Ayala did for Wally before his 1950 Mercury. But when we had the chance to look in the Wally Welch Photo-album in 2011 we noticed that Wally had several other custom cars prior to his 1941 Ford as well. In this article we would like to highlight the photos of Wally’s other Custom Cars he had owned, and which photos we had found in the Wally Welch Photo-album.

William Wallace (Wally) Welch was born on September 24, 1928 in Glendale, California, but he grew up in Burbank Ca. For as long as he could remember he had a passion for cars. Custom cars, and hot rods to be precise. He studied advertising, but before getting his degree, he changed careers, and went into sales and management. He worked for the well known hot rod and custom dealer: Andrews & Evans. Wally Welch enjoyed a good career, working at various dealerships in sales and management. Wally’s daughter Terri shared the Family Car album with us at the GNRS Customs Then & Now Exhibit in 2011. Thank you for letting us scan this amazing album.

We do not know much about these cars at all. Terry had no additional information from her father about these car, and as far as we can tell, none of them have ever been featured in any magazine or book. The photos have been taken in the early/mid 1940’s, most likely all in Wally Welch his hometown Burbank California. We also do not know who build these cars. Wally had a close connection with the Ayala’s so perhaps some of them were done by the Ayala’s. But we do not know for sure, they could as well have been done locally in Burbank. All we know right now is what we can see in the photos, so lets take a look.

1936 Ford Convertible

The Photo-album had four photos of Wally’s 1936 Ford Convertible with padded top in it. All the photos were taken in front of Wally’s home, most likely in the early to mid 1940’s indicated by the black wall tire, and the overall styling. The car’s running boards where removed a filler panel has been installed to cover the frame and both the front and rear fenders were restyled when the running board holes were filled in. The windshield was chopped and a padded top added. The car was lowered a bit, and kept level. The photos appear to show the car in primer only.

CCC-wally-welch-other-customs-01This side view shows the filler panel to cover the frame, and also shows the nicely reshaped rear section of the front fenders. The teardrop shape fender skirts look very nice on the car.


CCC-wally-welch-other-customs-02This front photo shows the 1941 Ford bumpers. a popular choice for any 36 Ford back then. And also shows the “BURBANK” letters in the windshield. This was another popular thing to do back in the 1940’s. I have seen it on may old photos. It appears the car was still in progress.


CCC-wally-welch-other-customs-04The letters “BURBANK” are a bit clearer to see in this close up snapshot.



1936 Ford coupe

There was only one photo of this light colored 1936 Ford coupe in the Photo-album. Wally is posing here with the mildly customized coupe in front of the family run Welch Drug store in Burbank. The car has been lowered a bit, Spotlights added and some custom hubcaps and wide white wall tires.

1938 Ford Convertible

There were 5 photos of this 1938 Ford in the album. Another Convertible with padded top. This time the car was finished with a nice gloss paint job, color unknown. The windshield frame was chopped, and a nice padded top was added. The car was lowered and dressed up with single bar flipper hubcaps and teardrop shaped fender skirts. It appears that the license plate was set in low on the Trunk. The hood on the car had to be modified on the front to fill in the hood grille section with smooth body work, and to modify the opening mechanism. A set of 1937 De Soto bumpers was added front and rear.

CCC-wally-welch-other-customs-05Wally posing with his 1938 Ford Convertible. Wish we had some more and clearer photos of this one. It looks to be a very nicely balanced early custom. I love the cars in the background of this photo. Gives a good feel of how special Wally’s custom must have been back then. The location is out in front of Burbank High School. That school had a really good and active Auto Shop that supported Rod and Custom Car building by the students. (thanks to John Williamson for identifying the location)


CCC-wally-welch-other-customs-06Front view shows the modified front section of the hood, and the DeSoto bumper.


CCC-wally-welch-other-customs-09Close up with the hood open, does not show the engine, but it does show the modified hood sides.


CCC-wally-welch-other-customs-08A bit out of focus snapshot of the ’38 parked in front of Wally’s home.


1939 Chevy Coupe

Another early ride for Wally as this bit sinister looking 1939 Chevy Coupe. The coupe was another mild custom car with a minimal amount of body work. These 1939 Chevy’s are rarely seen as customs, but this one sure shows how nice they can be. Wally’s Chevy has been mildly lowered with a mild speed boat-stance. Black wall tires and single bar flipper hubcaps and beauty rings. He added fender skirts in the back and a set-in license plate was added to the lower section of the trunk.

CCC-wally-welch-other-customs-10Wally posing proud with his super black 1939 Chevy Coupe.


CCC-wally-welch-other-customs-11This photo of the rear shows the set-in behind glass license plate in the trunk as well as the 1940 Chevy taillights, which looks really great on the car. Sadly we cannot see the top portion of the license plate to help date the photo.


1939 Ford convertible

Wally’s 1939 Ford convertible was another mild Custom he owned. Black wall tires indicate that this one was from the early 1940’s as well. Perhaps something done during WWII, perhaps shortly after that. The car had a mild speed boat stance, single bar flipper hubcaps and a set of Spotlights. the 1941 Ford bumpers are typical for the early/mid 1940’s. Also typical for the era are the home town name stickers in the windshield. Burbank in Wally’s case.

CCC-wally-welch-other-customs-12There was only one photo of Wally’s 1939 Ford in the album, its a very nice one though. 


(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 “Wally Welch Other Customs

  • Back in the day, a lot of us felt the 38 and the 39 Standard Fords were the ugly step-child of Henry Ford. Wally Welch gives us a glimpse into some custom potentials! Over time, and as more desirables got gathered up, we can maybe realize the streamline modern/art deco potentials these cars may offer. Hmmmm.
    Larry Pointer

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