In the city of North Hills, California (a suburb of Los Angeles), there is a very famous car dealership called Galpin Ford. It is famous because it has been the #1 selling Ford dealership in the world for 24 consecutive years in sales volume – an impressive feat! But there is much more to the Galpin story than just selling cars.
Galpin Ford began in 1945 when company founder Frank Galpin opened up shop in San Fernando. Galpin hired Bert Boeckmann as a salesman in 1953, and eventually sold the business to Boeckmann when he retired in 1968.
From its early days, Galpin was more than just a dealership. They sponsored a NASCAR team throughout most of the 1960s. Frank Galpin was also interested in building custom cars, and he owned a large collection of customs from George Barris, Von Dutch, and Ed “Big Daddy” Roth.
Galpin was one of the first dealerships to start customizing cars for customers. These “Galpinized” cars offered unique paint jobs, racing stripes, and even restyled front ends. He was one of the first to offer sunroof installations in America. They even offered a rumble seat option for 1960s Mustangs!
Galpin also sponsored the creation of some truly outrageous cars that gained notoriety.
There was the Back Up Pickup, a Ford Econoline van that had a reverse driving position and did wheelies all the way down the track. There was the AVE Mizar, a car/airplane hybrid built using a Ford Pinto and a Cessna Skymaster which tragically crashed, killing its creator.
The car puts out an estimated 3,000 horsepower and can run the quarter mile in approximately 7 seconds at 180 mph. That’s incredibly fast even by today’s standards! One can only imagine the sensation this car must have caused back in the early 1970s.
Galpin Ford is still at it today, producing high-end vehicles such as the Galpin Ford GTR-1 which costs a cool $1 million dollars. Their heritage display at SEMA 2013 was a great look back into the company’s history of building some of the wildest cars anyone has ever seen.