California firm awaits orders to build $1M car

Charles Fleming
Los Angeles Times

Montery, Calif – .— Brandon Boeckmann slips into the driver’s seat of the low-slung, gull-wing sports car, grins, and says, “So, how fast do you want to go?”

A minute later, on a Monterey, Calif., back street, he punches the gas pedal and demonstrates how a 1,058-horsepower supercar that weighs only 3,600 pounds goes from zero to 60 mph in under three seconds.

Boeckman is the scion of the family that has owned the huge Galpin Ford auto dealership in the San Fernando Valley. His grandfather Bert went to work for Galpin in 1953 and purchased the company in the 1960s; his father just retired from Galpin, where his uncle is still president.

The younger Boeckmann had come to Monterey Car Week to show off the Galpin GTR1, his company’s latest offering.

The custom-made, “coach-built” automobile runs a 5.4-liter V-8 dual overhead cam engine, supercharged, that produces 977 foot-pounds of torque.

Track-tested, outfitted with fully adjustable suspension, the aluminum-body car burns 110-octane gas and roars with what Boeckmann calls “the raw, beastly sound of power.”

The car at Monterey is the only one of its kind, and starts at about $1 million.

Galpin has six Ford GT chassis standing by, and will build only six GTR1s, and will start building the second one as soon as someone orders one.

But Boeckmann said that, as the annual Pebble Beach car extravaganza approached the weekend and its highest traffic point, no one had yet placed an order, though many had expressed interest.

The sleek street beast sits just a little taller than its GT-40 predecessor — so named, at the time of its mid-1960s introduction, because the roofline sat just 40 inches off the ground — and offers a real race-track experience.

Those who buy a GTR1 will get access to a support staff that will pick the car up at their homes, tune the suspension for whatever local racetrack the new owner wants to try out, then re-tune the suspension for the street after their track day is over and return the car to its home.

That price point is pretty steep by anyone’s standards. But at Monterey Car Week, where vintage Ferraris were being sold for 25 and 30 times that much, to collectors who already have garages full of Aston Martins, Bugattis and Lamborghinis, $1 million really isn’t that expensive.