Porsche Santa Clarita Delivers Enthusiasts a Deep Porsche Experience
September 24, 2020
SANTA CLARITA, California-Porsche Santa Clarita’s grand opening, scheduled for earlier this year, was disrupted by the mandated shutdown of non-essential businesses in California. Now operating both in service and sales, though, the latest addition to the Galpin-dealership family is a state-of-the-art facility; even better, the establishment offers an all-inclusive Porsche experience for customers and fans.
This new Porsche Experience features an exclusive underground Porsche heritage exhibit, a design center, boutique store, kids play zone, and the aptly named “Boxenstopp” restaurant where you can order a Boxster Burger. Conference rooms are also available on the second floor for car clubs seeking to host meetings in a modern space. The underground exhibit, dubbed Wunderground, has displayed Porsches owned by Adam Carolla, Jerry Seinfeld, and most recently Rod Emory and Cameron Healey’s 1951 Porsche 356 SL Gmünd Coupe.
We spoke with Beau Boeckmann, president and chief operating officer of Galpin Motors, as we toured the West Coast’s newest Porsche dealership and must-visit destination for a great experience open to the marque’s fans.
This dealership could just as easily have a BMW, Audi, or Mercedes-Benz logo outside. Why Porsche?
Beau Boeckmann: Where we are now used to be a Saturn dealership, which I helped open back in 1994, that later became Mazda and Subaru. When we found out Porsche was looking to come into Santa Clarita, we applied for the store, and Porsche awarded us the franchise. Porsche is the admired brand in the industry, whether you are a customer or a dealer. I’m the new kid on the Porsche block, and I am so proud to have Porsche as part of the Galpin family.
What trait distinguishes Porsche from its competitors?
BB: I expect Porsche cars to be the absolute best, which they are, but to me, the most surprising thing about Porsche is the organization itself. From Klaus Zellmer, [the now-outgoing] president and CEO of Porsche Cars North America to the whole management team, they are incredibly down to earth and family-oriented. When Porsche does not achieve the top spot in whatever it enters, it doesn’t make excuses and instead plans for how it is going to return to the top spot. The Porsche organization is humble, and when you don’t think you are the best of everything, that type of humility allows you to get better. Porsche was the right choice.
What was it like to open a new store in the middle of a pandemic?
BB: After all these years of planning and preparing for our grand opening earlier this year, we were open for two days and then forced to shut down. Although it was bittersweet, we’re glad to be officially open now, and we look forward to our first year in business.
It seems the Porsche experience is a top priority for Galpin Motors, having created so many amenities and attractions at Porsche Santa Clarita …
BB: My father started working for Galpin Ford in 1953 as a salesperson, and he worked his way to eventually becoming the owner of the business. He has always taught me the “servants mentality” and the importance of taking care of our customers. The only reason we are in business is to serve our customers. We are always looking at what we can do better, how we can improve, and the best ways to serve our customers. Porsche is very much the same way on not just the quality of the cars, but the quality of the car buying and ownership experience.
What was the genesis for the Wunderground underground exhibit?
BB: With Porsche having such a celebrated history, we wanted to bring some of that to the dealership experience. Luckily for us, the space for an underground car exhibit was already here when we were making the design plans. The parking deck below used to be where the Saturn dealership stored its inventory, and it was the perfect place to exhibit cars and other artifacts from Porsche’s heritage. It’s a walkthrough of Porsche history, racing, culture, and everything Porsche. Inspired by the James Bond films, we wanted to make it fun for our customers and installed a section of glass on the showroom floor to give them a sneak peek of what is down there.
The space and your Porsche “experience center” has attracted cars from famous and highly influential owners, such as Rod Emory, too …
BB: Rod Emory and Cameron Healey were kind enough to let us have their 1951 Porsche 356 SL Gmünd Coupe on loan to exhibit in the Wunderground. I am good friends with Rod, and I have always been a big fan of his Outlaws. The Porsche 356 SL Gmünd Coupe is the first [Porsche] racing car to enter Le Mans and win its class. In my opinion, this car is one of the most significant in Porsche’s history and a great introduction to the brand.
Customers who bring in their Porsche for service get a pretty epic view of the garage. Do you find it has an impact on the customers?
BB: Our goal is to be as transparent as possible to make the customers feel at ease. A genius way of doing that was to have a massive glass window that gives our customers a front-row view of the service department while they wait in the lounge room.
Then there is the Boxenstopp restaurant where you can order a German sausage platter and pair it with freshly baked pretzels. And of course you have the Boxster Burger. Why a restaurant?
BB: At Galpin Ford, we were the first dealership in America, if not the world, to incorporate a full-service restaurant called The Horseless Carriage, and our chef came from the Beverly Hills Hotel. Still operating today, The Horseless Carriage was sort of, you could say, the blueprint for the Boxenstopp restaurant at Porsche Santa Clarita. The concept of having a restaurant at a dealership is that we want to make it an experience for the customer, and not just another typical dealership visit.
When we presented this idea to Zellmer of turning a dealership visit into a Porsche experience, he said we are effectively reversing the sales process by immersing the customers in the brand first. As a car dealer, it sounds silly to say this, but we are not here to sell you a car. We want you to fall in love with something and for you to want to buy it. My dad built the business, not on a one-time sale but by building relationships with customers to the extent they felt comfortable referring family and friends. Ownership experience is a top priority for Galpin, and we’re here to help and want to be here for life.
What is your message for Porsche enthusiasts—or potential enthusiasts—out there?
BB: Porsche Santa Clarita is the place where the Porsche community can meet and be comfortable. And when I say “comfortable,” I mean come on over and have some fun. We welcome and embrace all the Porsche clubs and, guess what, Santa Clarita has beautiful open roads devoid of traffic [for a great on-road Porsche experience, too].
Porsche Santa Clarita
Address: 23645 Creekside Rd., Santa Clarita, CA 91355