Galpin Motors has been a family owned business since Frank Galpin opened it in 1946. Bert Boeckmann started working as a salesman at Galpin Motors – at age 23, in August of 1953. Fortunately, it was a meeting of like minds as Galpin and Boeckmann agreed on how business should be conducted and how customers should be treated, taking fresh and innovative approaches to automotive retailing and service. Bert quickly rose through the ranks at Galpin becoming top salesman at Galpin Motors in 1954, manager at Galpin the following year and eventually became Galpin’s sole owner in 1964.
About this time, Galpin and Boeckmann divined that the business and its potential were somewhat limited by the size and location of the original San Fernando Road dealership properties, and began developingtheir idea of an “automotive department store.” This dealership would feature dazzling architecture, comfortable spaces, elegant showrooms and offices, a state of the art service facility, room for a massive inventory, plus a quality comfortable restaurant as a highly innovative customer service amenity. Property was secured “on Roscoe Boulevard, just off the 405” freeway in a more northern and fast growing part of the Valley. Planning and construction began in 1965 for what would become “Galpin Square.”
This new, larger, multifaceted property allowed Galpin Motors to expand in many directions. Among them was the notion of dealer level customization, ultimately coined as Galpinizing. Of course, custom shops and custom builders had operated in Southern California, but Galpinizing gave customers the opportunity to make their new cars truly theirs with all manner of custom paint treatments, special wheels, specially trimmed interiors, and performance options. Boeckmann and various Galpin teams used this innovative approach to commercialize the growing conversion van – one being known as the “Surfer Van.” Galpin was the first dealership to create custom conversion vans and sell them to the public, virtually creating a whole new segment of the R.V. business and recreational vehicle movement of the 1960s and 70s. These vans were equipped with beds, carpet, linoleum, bathrooms, custom cabinets and even raised roofs. Galpin also was the first dealership to sell 4x4 customized off road trucks with wenches, gun racks, spotlights, hoists and body lifts. The Galpin Square properties were so attractive and customer friendly that they appeared in many Ford advertisements and television commercials.
Bert married his elegant and accomplished wife Jane in 1966, and together they are the proud parents of 5 children, and so far, 12 grandchildren. Galpin Motors has grown to become one of the most successful and influential transportation dealership groups in the world, now numbering more than ten premium automotive brands with dealerships in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys, plus Hollywood Studio Rentals and a substantial commercial truck leasing division. Galpin Ford is #1 in the world in Ford sales for 28 years in a row! Listing the many government, civic, and service awards recognizing their considerable community, faith based, and political achievements would fill many more pages. Bert is particularly proud of the many top sales and service awards he and Galpin have been recognized with over the past eight decades. Bert enjoyed a successful 16-plus year tenure as a Los Angeles Police Department Commissioner, and was inducted as an honored member of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans in 1995, being the first automobile dealer to earn this distinction. He and Jane have each, and individually, been bestowed the Fernando award (Jane being the first woman to be so recognized), which is the highest civilian award for volunteerism and philanthropy in the San Fernando Valley, supported by the Valley Chambers of Commerce, civic and philanthropic organizations, entrepreneurs and corporations located in the San Fernando Valley.
Several of the Boeckmanns’ children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and other family members are taking ever more active roles in their various business interests. Son Beau, who literally and figuratively grew up at Galpin Square, has taken active and important management roles at the company, currently President and Chief Operating Officer of Galpin Motors. Beau has brought fresh thought and innovation to the company in many ways, and has been the catalyst for the addition of many new vehicle brand lines to the Galpin stable. His taste for and interest in dealer level customizing, and the continuation and expansion of the original Galpinizing philosophy led to the birth of the Galpin Auto Sports (GAS) custom/restoration shop and parts and accessories showroom at Galpin Square; The younger Boeckmann was also one of the hosts and prime movers during the Pimp My Ride television show’s filming and production tenure at Galpin.
The Boeckmanns clearly have no immediate plans to retire, freely admitting that everything they do is too much fun to give up in exchange for the proverbial rocking chairs.
Learn more about Galpin Motors by visiting galpin.com
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