VAN NUYS, Calif. — The Ford Transit team held a press event for its 2015 Skyliner Custom Concept design, which was fashioned to resemble “A Private Jet on Wheels.” The limo coach was built by Galpin Auto Sports, an experienced industry leader in vehicle customization.
Tim Stoehr, Ford’s Commercial Truck Marketing Manager, explained to the audience how the 2015 Ford Transit went through a complete re-design to create a vehicle that could adapt to a wide range of customers. The Skyliner Concept shows how the Transit can be transformed into a true luxury cabin, and Stoehr emphasized that a number of custom upfit companies are eagerly awaiting their Transit deliveries so they can get to work making creative new designs on the durable platform.
Melvin Betancourt, Ford’s Design Manager, explained the amenities of the SkyLiner beginning with the modern design bar, complete with glassware and sliding door ice chest, that moves to a wood-paneled flooring with four premium captain’s chairs in the cabin.
The chairs can be positioned into 10 different stages of recline, and are controlled by two iPad minis located on either side of the cabin. Pricacy shades and lighting are also controlled by the touch screen, and when guests want to watch a movie, they can use the “movie mode,” where the shades come down, lights dim, and a 52-inch projection screen descends in front of the bar for passenger viewing.
“Vans haven’t been cool for a long time,” said Tim Stoehr, but he said he feels that with the versatility of the Transit, talented custom designers will soon produce new quality vehicles that will reach many different markets, ranging from retail conversions, to commercial fleet limo-style buses, and also standard work shuttles as well.
Ford is offering the Transit in three different wheelbase chassis, the138-inch, 156-inch, and 178-inch. The design features a unibody construction for lighter weights and better durability. The entertainment system for this Skyliner uses Focal Utopia 7.2 surround sound with speakers handmade in France specifically for this conecpt vehicle, a KVH DIRECTV satellite for HD TV and a Kaleidescape media server with storage space equivalent to more than 300 Blu-ray movies or more than 1,000 DVDs.
The event had two Transits at the Galpin Auto Sports show floor. A standard Transit with shuttle seating was next to the high-end SkyLiner to show the range of how the Transit can be used.
“Galpin is especially excited about the launch of the Transit, which builds on Ford’s commercial van leadership with a new design, making it the perfect platform from which to modify,” said Galpin Auto Sports President Beau Boeckmann. The Transit Skyliner will make its auto show debut at the New York International Auto Show on April 16 at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, and Stoehr said that Ford plans to do a nationwide tour with the transit, stopping in cities across the country to educate customers on its uses and benefits.
PHOTOGALLERY: SKYLINER PREMIERE
— Tim Crowley, LCT senior editor