VAN NUYS, Calif. – Galpin Ford has been the World’s #1 selling Ford dealer for decades. It’s a family owned and operated dynastic institution descending from founder Frank Galpin, to sales manager then later owner Herbert F. “Bert” Boeckmann II, and now with a third- and fourth-generation Boeckmann family members running the store. Annual open houses and car shows have been a part of the company’s outreach since the 1960’s, and the Galpin Gang pulled off another dandy among them on October 7, 2018.
For some time, the main Ford dealer property contained the car show, but it ultimately outgrew even those expansive grounds. Last year, the Galpin team decided to open the doors to its “Galpin Square” department store of car dealerships and brands a little wider. Galpin owns several blocks along Roscoe Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley, just east of the 405 Freeway. And among its brands (in these locations and others) are Ford, Lincoln, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Volkswagen, Mazda, Volvo, Lotus, Honda and soon to be Porsche, plus the Galpin Auto Sports (GAS) toybox, Ford Performance Parts outlet, and Shelby ModShop – and what may be the nicest Starbucks you’ve ever seen.
With many of those dealership fronts lined up shoulder-to-shoulder along the boulevard, Galpin decided to open up all the stores’ grounds for last year’s annual car show, continuing the same plan for 2018. Much of the new and pre-owned inventory was moved out (Roscoe Boulevard was lined up with shiny new F-150s for about half a mile), and all of the dealership group became the show field.
Most of the Ford and Shelby cars and trucks were at the main Galpin Ford locale, while the Volkswagen store got the VWs (and lots of free carnival rides for the kids), and the Lincoln/Volvo/Aston Martin properties housed those brands and anything falling into the exotic car realm, plus Mazda hosted all the Japanese classic JDM style hardware. Many of the hotter Mustangs and hot rods hung out in the GAS front yard. It was a “run-what-you-brung, anything-and-everyone-welcome” kind of affair.
Galpin’s chief car-culture geek and company COO Beau Boeckmann, in the name of automotive inclusion, decided to add a substantial low-rider element this year, including a low-rider “hop” contest (mostly Chevys) offering big cash prizes to the highest and best choreographed hydraulic hoppers. Bring the family and the dog, there’s plenty to see, with special areas for the kids and lots of food on hand, too.
Of course it wouldn’t be a car show without vendor booths, so there was also all kinds of stuff to ogle. The main Galpin Ford showroom looked like a cross between its mid-60’s self – packed with all manner of great early Shelby Mustangs and Cobras, plus Ford GTs, old and new – and even 2018. Particularly cool was a drag-racing starting line display, replete with a NHRA style tree, showing off an immaculate pair of white ’68 Mustang 428 Cobra Jets. Yum.
You couldn’t miss the several historic Galpin-built or -sponsored race cars lined up out front. Ever seen a funny car running four small-block Ford V-8s? You did here – of course the famous Galpin Mach IV funny car powered by a quartet of injected 351 Windsor motors. Each engine is good for about 400 horsepower, and in case you’re wondering, the 1,600 horsepower is enough to smoke all four tires on this all-wheel-drive exhibition flopper, famous for its quarter mile-long burnouts.
There were lots of old 427 SOHC “Cammer” motors on the property, too . . . truly something(s) for everyone. And if you love flatheads, there was a parking lot full of traditional style hot rods, most powered by Ford, Merc and Lincoln flatties of all stripe. Plus Edsels, ’55-57 T-Birds to boot, and a gaggle of trucks.
All of the Galpin gift and goodie shops were open, selling parts, this year’s show commemorative T-shirts, and all kinda Ford and Galpin stuff. There was no charge to attend the show, so why not leave a few bucks behind for some schwag?
Since the cars and crowd were spread over so many areas, it was hard to accurately gauge the number of attendees this year, but I heard the number 10,000 batted around a couple times. After covering the whole show throughout the day, I’m sure it was even more as the herd ebbed and flowed. Should we expect another great, big Galpin show next year? Bet on it – and likely bigger and better than ever. We’ll be there, and you can keep track of the happenings – and enter your car – at www.Galpin.com.
FORD PERFORMANCE PHOTOS COURTESY MATT STONE / INSPIRED COMMUNICATIONS