You know that hideous gray primered ride on blocks in your front yard that everyone’s telling you to get rid of? Well, you might want to keep it after all. That’s right, put the rims and tires back on because the guys over at Galpin Ford in North Hills, California, just might love its trashed-out appeal. And, no, the dealership isn’t going to buy your daily disaster-mobile either.
Last October, on a sleepy overcast Sunday, Beau Boeckmann, president and chief designer of the Galpin Auto Sports garage and showroom, was with a video crew who were holding the first ever open casting call for the next season of MTV’s Pimp My Ride series. Beau is also a “consulting producer” For the popular show so customizing cars is the perfect vehicle for the show and the dealership.
“Business has been fantastic,” related Beau during a friendly walk-through. “This is our first open casting and so far it’s been a goldmine of crap! We’re trying to get MTV to do a ‘box’.” Beau was referring to a boxy Scion xB, which one owner drove in and which smacked of “do-me” desperation. The call was a search for the absolute worst cars in Southern California and you know what? There are a lot of highway heaps out there with owners who dream of PMR hooking them up and getting a little claim to fame, too.
“Wanna ride?” “No, that’s okay, I’ll choose another less risky way of cheap transportation to my doctor’s appointment, but thanks anyway.” These owners have heard it all. It’s not that they’re careless in any way. We found out that they really love their rides and are fond of their cool vintage heritage and honestly do want to fix the trash bag windows and gnarly stained seats, even if the fix-it solutions and ideas are out of their control. Thus, Galpin had two parking lots full of barely legal buckets with some original charm and international flavor.
One guy who refused to let his ride die was Luke Jonavic from Ontario, California, who we found eating lunch on his hood says his ’75 Cadillac hearse might be, “haunted and determined to remain non-functional. The hearse is one of the coolest cars ever made.” He went on about how the ride could use a new engine, new working gauges, new upholstery and a whole lot more to bring it back from the dead.
Take Lance Carter from Compton, California, who had a ride closer to the flavor of a lowrider with a four-door ’65 Chevy Impala called “Two-Tone Ugly” (that’s cold!). The ride has an old radio and one speaker. His idea of a clean hookup is “22-inch rims, paint job, sound system and a digital dashboard.” Like Vanna White showing off a boat, Lance pointed to a serving of rusted and well-worn bodywork, “Older cats like it, Pops likes it. People wanna buy it.” He also admits that he doesn’t get any looks from the ladies. Gee, wonder why?
One owner who surprised us was Benno from Irvine, California, who displayed no visible signs of bodily pain when he exited the front seat of his four-door ’71 Plymouth. There was a giant crater with protruding springs in the driver’s seat! “I’ve had the car for six years and love it,” he says with a grin. His fix-it aspirations are to have the rear doors “suicided,” shave off all of the emblems, get a sound system with a drop-down DVD monitor and much much more. Still others had tales of multiple hit and runs; runaway shopping carts; sneaky potholes that they didn’t see; front, rear and side fender benders; burglars and just plain ol’ bad luck. There seemed to be several vicious culprits in how their precious cars came to be in their present condition.
The MTV and G.A.S. event lasted all day and owners were interviewed by the crew and given waiting instructions for the months to come regarding a spot on the show. So with a duplicate set of keys and broken alarm fobs, they sparked, sputtered and billowed exhaust back home with their fingers crossed and good luck charms swinging from the mirror.