For Beau Boeckmann, October is a scary month — and it’s not because of Halloween. It’s because Galpin Auto Sports (GAS), his family-owned automotive customizing business, is busy cranking out cars for the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show that will open Oct. 31.
On top of that, GAS, which is the home of MTV’s popular “Pimp My Ride,” has two project vehicles in the works for the show’s next season and has to start two more immediately, plus two other cars that need to be done in 10 days.
“We’re starting to tape for the next season of ‘Pimp My Ride,’ plus everything we’re doing for SEMA,” Boeckmann says. “Our crew is going to be working 24/7 for the next eight months.”
It’s not likely that Boeckmann’s father, Bert, envisioned such an incredible operation when he joined the Galpin Motors Ford dealership in North Hills, Calif., back in 1953. It is, however, perfectly in keeping with the elder Boeckmann’s automotive pioneering spirit. By 1968, Bert Boeckmann had become the sole owner of Galpin Motors, and his philosophy of providing superior customer service led to a number of innovations in the auto industry.
Galpin Motors became one of the first dealerships in the country to install sunroofs, working with a young man named Heinz Prechter, who happened to own a gas station up the street from Galpin. Prechter would go on to found ASC, which would become one of the preeminent sunroof installers in the country.
Galpin Motors also offered some of the first conversion vans, in the mid-1960s.
“A family friend wanted to take his van across country, so Galpin installed a couch that folded into a bed, and a dresser and a sink,” says Boeckmann. “From there, we started building some really crazy stuff, like fireplaces and replicas of Western saloons, in the back of vans.”
So the groundwork had been set for Beau when he joined the company seven years ago.
“I had grown up with custom cars, and I thought it would be fun to do some really wild cars, take a chance and show what we can do,” says Beau Boeckmann.
They started out with four to six projects a year, including a Polynesian-themed Tiki truck with a Jacuzzi in the back. It seemed a natural progression when MTV producers approached Beau to provide GAS’ facilities to shoot “Pimp My Ride.” The results have definitely been wild.
“We put a hair salon in the back of a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle and a movie theater in a Cadillac limo,” Beau says. “We even created a fully automated ice-cream truck, complete with touch-screen order pads and robotic arms to serve the customers. Our motto is ‘Having no reason to do something is the best reason to do something.’ ”
Beau promises some restraint for the Lincoln Navigator and Ford Mustang that he and his crew are creating for SEMA.
“The Navigator will be very sophisticated and understated, with Edelman leather and gorgeous burled walnut trim,” he says. “We’re painting the Mustang in Grabber Blue, and we’re installing a new Boss 302 engine from Ford Racing. We’re redoing the interior, but not too much. We want to keep weight down for better performance.”
October may be a scary month, but you get the feeling that Beau Boeckmann wouldn’t have it any other way.