November 23, 2015 - 12:01 am ET
LOS ANGELES -- The first selfie station in Galpin's Hall of Customs is next to the 1967 Volkswagen Microbus painted as Scooby Doo's Mystery Machine. Another is tucked next to the rotating Aston Martin DB10 project car from the latest James Bond film, Spectre. A lifted Ford F-150 painted in Gulf Oil's iconic orange and blue paint from the Specialty Equipment Market Association show is by the entrance.
And in the center of the room, sitting atop the "Rocket Launcher," is the Rocket, a custom collaboration between Henrik Fisker and Galpin Auto Sports that's based on the Ford Mustang. The Rocket Launcher gives a sound and smoke display every hour on the hour.
"It's Hollywood, man," laughs Beau Boeckmann, president of Galpin Motors Inc. The 45-year-old is standing in the middle of a 26,000-square-foot exhibit space at the Los Angeles Auto Show in downtown Los Angeles, surrounded by 37 customized vehicles from Galpin's 10 dealerships around Southern California.
Though Galpin and its Galpin Auto Sports custom shop have had a display at earlier L.A. auto shows, this is the first year the company has gone all-in. The room, sandwiched between the two main halls in the Los Angeles Convention Center, is open to anyone attending the auto show's 10-day run.
The goal is to plant the Galpin seed in the public's mind.
"We want to be creating that positive impression in people's minds so that when they are ready to buy a car they think of Galpin," Boeckmann said. "All we want is a shot, so if this helps us get a few more shots or a lot more shots, it will be worth it."
While Galpin enjoys strong brand recognition in Southern California, many consumers don't realize the number of brands the dealerships carry, Boeckmann said. By putting all the brands in one place, Galpin can drive that point home.
Boeckmann wouldn't say how much the display cost the company, which sells about 20,000 new and used vehicles a year. While organizers of the L.A. auto show "helped us out" because they didn't have plans for the Galpin exhibit space, the marketing cost was still significant, especially because it will be staffed by 12 employees each day of the show.
The hope is to give car fans and consumers of all stripes something to appreciate. In one corner is a customized Volvo XC90 with a matte purple vinyl wrap and black aftermarket rims. A Volkswagen GTI is parked next to a Subaru Impreza WRX STI. Aston Martins line the far wall.
Nearly every vehicle bears Galpin Auto Sports' handiwork.
"You won't find stock vehicles in here, except for a few Astons and that Lotus," Boeckmann said. "And everything is for sale."