Help Galpin Ford find its first Custom

Southern California’s Galpin Motors, home to some of the leading automotive brands and the world famous Galpin Auto Sports (GAS), announced that it is searching for its long lost 1952 Ford Convertible, the “Galpin Custom” – it’s first custom car.

Galpin’s recent discovery of one of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s first customs, a 1956 Ford F100, which was lost for over 50 years, inspired Galpin to begin a search for its own missing custom. Galpin Ford is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year and would love to see this important piece of its history come home.

Back in the post-war era, automobile design changed frequently – some every year – making people constantly wonder what the next “future model” would look like. Rather than wait, Frank Galpin decided to build next year’s model – today!

Starting with a 1952 Ford Convertible, Galpin frenched and peaked the headlights and added Mercury bumpers with a centered Lincoln Capri bumperette, as well as a Mercury front valance, fenders, hood and grill surround with a custom tube grill. In the back, the Convertible had a molded on ‘52 Mercury Continental kit, raised fins, custom side scoop, Foxcraft half skirts and modified Lincoln taillights. It was finished off with a beautiful custom enamel cream-yellow over green two-tone paint job with matching interior.

Galpin Motors believes this was the first time that a new car was ever customized at a dealership and then sold as a new car, giving it historical significance.

The ’52 Convertible was first shown at the Third Annual International Motorama at the Pan Pacific Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif. in November of 1952 alongside notable cars such as the SoCal Belly Tank Racer, and Sam and George Barris’ ‘50 Mercury. From there it went on to be featured on the cover of the June 1953 issue of Motor Trend Magazine with the title, “Has the Customizing Art Come of Age?” The article continued with, “Keep these photos and compare them with the 1956 cars. You may be surprised!”

When Bert Boeckmann was hired at Galpin Ford in 1952, he remembered seeing the car on the showroom floor.

“It was truly a handsome car,” said Boeckmann. “When I first saw it, I didn’t know what it was – I didn’t think it was a Ford, in fact, I thought it was the new Lincoln! We showed the Convertible around for a while before Frank sold it and I don’t know whatever happened to it. I would love to see that car again.”

Galpin is offering a reward for any information that will help locate the car including any photos, magazine articles, original parts or the convertible in its entirety in any condition. Even if the convertible no longer exists, Galpin hopes to unveil the story behind an important piece of the dealership’s history.

The convertible was last seen in San Fernando Valley in the 1950’s. If found, the dealership plans a possible restoration – and a definite celebration!

If you have any information on the Galpin 1952 Ford Convertible, please contact or Jeff Skobin at 818-778-2255.