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Boss 429 Pre-Production Engine - Rare Finds
When Bob Perkins restored the Hubert Platt factory Ford Drag Team "Cammer" Mustang, he made a trip to Arizona to Scott Dapron's collection of cars and parts.
Dapron worked for Mickey Thompson in 1969 and had quite a collection of "racy stuff," including, in Bob's words, "trick distributors, magnesium alternator pulleys, Holman-Moody oil filters, and more neat stuff that I used on my Hubert Platt car."
While looking at parts in Scott's shop, Perkins and noted collector Dave Steine (who also owns a famous racing Boss 429—KK1213) stumbled onto an old engine, pieced together, no doubt, that had steel Boss 429 heads.
Of course, Boss 429's came with aluminum heads, so what was this big-block? The spider design intake manifold was also "cool," Bob thought, and something he had never seen before.
Visiting with Scott, Perkins determined the engine was a pre-production Boss 429. Dapron believes Ford only built 10 of these motors. Bob wanted to buy the engine for his "Boss" showroom in Juneau, Wisconsin. The two could not chisel out a deal, however.
When Perkins attended the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction last January, he and I drove in my rental car to Dapron's shop in Prescott.
While Bob and Scott haggled over parts, I took a look around. I was intrigued to see a '69 Mustang body hanging from the rafters of the shop.
"That's the car I painted in 1968," Scott says.
I was staring at the remnants of a very historic Mustang Mach 1 flip top Funny Car, built by Mickey Thompson and raced by Danny Ongais. Scott showed me a photo (signed by Danny Ongais) of the blue Funny Car in his office.
I wondered what happened to the rest of the Mickey Thompson Mach 1 and how the body ended up hanging from the rafters. Scott explained he quit working for Mickey Thompson in 1971, so he didn't know what happened to the car when its life cycle ended to promote the latest Mustang body style.
Scott bought the body about 15 years ago from a man in Georgia. He narrowed this original car 8 inches in the front and 4 inches in the back, and lengthened the nose.
"We lengthened the nose 5 inches [Note: When the car was new.] I think they lengthened the nose another 10 inches," Scott says.
I wondered why Reeves changed the original body. Scott explained Reeves used this original body to make a mold for a more aerodynamic nostalgia, '69 Mustang drag racer. Scott knew of at least two cars built off this original, which served as a mold.
"It's all about speed, not with me, but everybody wants speed and ET."
In 1969, the flip top Mach 1, powered by a supercharged 427 Cammer engine, ran quarter-mile elapsed times in the mid 6-second range.
Scott was more than a collector and a historian, he was part of the history. Scott bought the Boss 429 in pieces 12 to 14 years ago in a large lot of other engines and parts from Holman-Moody-Stroppe's big service truck.
"I was after the 427 stuff, but this was all included. I got 13 other motors and that engine was in parts with the stuff."
Fritz Voigt, who worked for Mickey Thompson, built the engine at Scott's shop about 8 or 10 years ago.
Perkins managed to buy the Boss 429 pre-production engine on this January trip, with delivery scheduled for June. With the 429 in his Wisconsin shop, Perkins removed the Vertex magneto and replaced it with a Ford XE offset distributor, an N.O.S. Dominator carburetor, and an SK aluminum water pump.
Perkins found a date code of November 1968 and "HP" (High Performance) on the block. The valve covers are XE (for experimental). Rick Kirk, famous Ford historian who owns his own car museum in Ripley, Oklahoma, and collects all things Ford, including high-performance intakes and carburetors, believes the Boss 429 Cougars were supposed to get those steel headed Boss 429 engines.
If Kirk is right, Ed Meyer, who found one of the two Boss 429 Cougars built, will soon be phoning Bob Perkins.