All exterior chrome pieces are treated to the brushed-aluminum accents and there's an ultr
Maybe Flex isn't such a bad name after all. Had Ford's big, boxy crossover hit the market under its internal code-name (Hamptons) or the name worn by the concept version at the 2005 Detroit show (Fairlane), it would've come equipped with all manner of notional baggage as to what it should or shouldn't be. As the Flex, it's a cipher, a blank canvas: You can project whatever style or functionality you want onto its coolly restrained yet highly architectural form. So when Ford offered us the chance to create a unique Flex of our own, we jumped at it.
The topline vision for the Motor Trend Flex was "ground-based private jet," providing luxurious transport for two. The exterior would be subtle and elegantly understated; the interior as rich and luxurious as a Gulfstream V. We would've liked a 350-horse EcoBoost V-6 under the hood to give our Flex jetlike lift away from the lights, but the Ford folks politely declined to hand one over, not wishing to steal any thunder from the engine's debut in the Lincoln MKS later this year.
Rear two rows are replaced with a single pair of reclining seats and a full partition hous
Our start point was a triple-black Flex Limited: AWD, sat-nav, the works. The car was driven straight across the lot at Galpin Ford and straight into the workshop of Galpin Auto Sports, the on-site custom shop created by livewire Galpin V.P. Beau Boeckmann. Galpin and Motor Trend go way back: Located in what was the heart of the booming postwar hot-rod and custom-car scene, Van Nuys-based Galpin, still the world's highest-volume Ford dealer, began selling mildly customized cars in the 1950s. The very first "Galpinized" car, a 1952 Ford with a Lincoln front end and Mercury bumpers, appeared on the cover of the June 1953 issue of Motor Trend.
Later, Galpin did land-office business installing aftermarket sunroofs, kick-started the custom-van craze, and began fitting out 4x4 vehicles with everything from winches and wheels to lights and rollbars. Boeckmann, whose father Bert started at Galpin as a salesman and ended up owning the business in 1968, was merely channeling a long tradition when he hosted the fourth season of MTV's "Pimp My Ride" from the Galpin Auto Sports shop.