Galpin Ford takes over the top spot on this year's list of the largest auto dealerships in Los Angeles County as Longo Toyota declined to submit revenue figures for 2007.

Galpin Ford reported $308 million in 2007 revenues, down from $324 million in 2006.

The North Hills dealership has been the highest-volume Ford dealership in the country for 18 years. It sold 6,148 new vehicles and 3,389 used vehicles in 2007. New vehicle sales were down 13 percent while used-car sales were up 6 percent.

Galpin Ford is one of Southern California's oldest auto dealerships. The company was founded by Frank Galpin in 1946. In its first year, the dealership sold 46 vehicles.

Current owner Bert Boeckmann joined the dealership as an employee in 1953. He became general manager at the dealership in 1957 and was promoted to vice president in 1960. He began a gradual buyout of Frank Galpin in 1960 and became president of the dealership in 1963.

Boeckmann was an innovator. He conceived the idea of leasing vehicles to individual owners in 1960. Twenty years later, Galpin Ford had 2,000 customers on leases when Ford Motor Co. introduced its leasing plan to the public.

Galpin Ford moved to its current location in 1966. Its sit-down restaurant was the first for an auto dealership. Boeckmann also introduced the sun roof to North American automobiles when he hired a German engineer to install them on vehicles sold at Galpin. Ford soon began incorporating sun roofs on vehicles produced at its factories.

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