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Ford Skyliner Concept debuts ahead of New York auto show

Fri, 11 Apr 2014

To call attention to its coming 2015 Transit full-size van, which arrives in midsummer, Ford commissioned a concept version of the big people mover. And when you say “Ford,” “concept” and “it better be done right,” there's only one place you trust to do it: Galpin Auto Sport, or GAS.

Those with discriminating taste and the right cable TV package already know that GAS was the home of the seminal reality series "Pimp My Ride" for several seasons. The Galpin in Galpin Auto Sport is the name of the world's largest Ford dealership, located just over the Cahuenga Pass from Hollywood, USA. In its 50-something years of operation Galpin has started every automotive fad from monster trucks to custom vans.

“I remember playing hide-and-seek in our van lot when I was a kid,” said GAS president and second-generation Galpinite Beau Boeckmann. “So it's only fitting that it has all come full circle now with the Skyliner.”

The Skyliner Concept started as a mere Transit van itself, but the thing about Transit vans is that you can make into them just about anything you want to. Ford is going to offer “60-plus” versions of the massive rolling blimp hanger.

GAS took a long-wheelbase, high-roof version and went to town. Outside, its bright silver color makes it look svelte.

“It started out black and then we went to silver to give it that 'wow' effect,” said Ford design manager Melvin Betancourt.

Inside are four custom seats that the build crew refers to, fairly accurately, as, “thrones.” The two front thrones swivel to face rearward for conversation. With all four seats facing the front, passengers can watch a movie on the screen that drops down from the ceiling. A rear projector runs the movie from the van's 16-terabyte infotainment system. Twenty-five Focal audio speakers provide the sound. There's also a full bar, refrigerator and a hand-laid wood floor.

“This thing is so awesome,” marveled Mad Mike Martin, whom "PMR" fans will know from the show.

When asked how much the Skyliner cost, Boeckmann just said, “We don't quite know exactly how much.”

But if you really want one, call GAS this summer when Transits enter showrooms.

By Mark Vaughn