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George 'Pops' Boskovich's 1969 Boss 429 Ford Mustang
Anyone Who Cruised Van Nuys Boulevard In The '60s And '70s Remembers This Boss 429 "Cammer"
Those of us who remember George "Pops" Boskovich recall a kind gentleman who understood that a good time was only worth having in the company of good friends. That's just how Pops Boskovich lived his life. He worked hard and smart for most of his life, building a name familiar to most of us who love fresh produce--Boskovich Farms. We're talking the freshest produce, because George Boskovich wouldn't have had it any other way. That's the way he built his company. And that's the way he lived his cars.
For Pops, "fresh produce" often meant more than the riches of the land. In 1968, it also referred to a factory-fresh '69 Boss 429 Mustang straight off the truck from Ford's Kar Kraft shop in Brighton, Michigan. Pops motored onto the streets of Los Angeles in his new Boss Nine and decided to see what the beast was made of. He mashed the gas and thrust the shifter from First to Second. It didn't excite him.
Now that's not what you were expecting to hear, was it? Pops just wasn't impressed with the Boss 429 Mustang. Its lackluster, smogged-out performance didn't match its massive hemi-head demeanor. Big engines should equal big performance, Pops believed. He understood there were plenty of NASCAR-level pieces available for the Boss Nine--heads, rods, pistons, induction systems. He even toyed with a few of them. Then he turned to the tried and true--the "FE" series 427.
For a guy like Pops Boskovich, fitting a 427 wedge into the generous gap created for the Boss 429 didn't make sense. So he went to the 427 Cammer parts shelf and came up with a mill no one in Van Nuys, California, was ready for. Even the loudest, most egotistical upstart cruising Van Nuys Boulevard in 1969 wasn't ready for the original Pop's Toy. So he went to work building the nastiest, yet most gentlemanly, "Cammer" you have ever seen--or heard. It roared, yet it whispered. It spanked bottoms, yet it exhibited exceptional manners, thank you very much. It drew attention, yet it was stealthy in its approach to the street. Silence, please. All rise. Pop's on The Boulevard.
In an Apr. '83 article in Hot Rod, Pops was quoted as saying, "We used to run back and forth between Van Nuys and Canoga Park on Sherman Way. But when they removed the railroad tracks and installed traffic lights on Van Nuys Boulevard in the late '50s, we all made the switch. During the past 25 years, I'll bet I've made 5,000 passes up and down that street...and I always did it in a Ford." Pops passed away in 1994, yet the roar of his spirit lives on up and down Van Nuys Boulevard.
Pops lived his Ford passion probably more fiercely than most of us ever will. He built many fine rides sporting the Blue Oval--a Cobra-ized 289 Hi-Po Ranchero, a 427 Cobra, a Cobra Jet Mustang or two, a couple of Boss 429 Mustangs, and the Cammer Boss Nine his son, George II, and grandson, George III, enjoy today.
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This is the Cammer pipe dreams are made of--stroked to 472 cubic inches and sporting dual-quad Holley carburetion and subtle, yet radical bumpsticks. The cool thing about these camshafts is their residence in the hemi-chambered cylinder heads Ford conceived for this mill way back when. Both inspired and shot down by NASCAR, the 427 Cammer was designed for brute speed on the super speedways. When NASCAR said no to Ford back in 1965, Ford found other uses for its supply of 427ci Cammer engines. Many of them did duty on the dragstrip. Still more of them found use with enthusiasts like Pops, who built what is likely the only Boss 429 Cammer.
To look at this Candyapple Red shotgun, you wouldn't know it from the original Pop's Toy that left many cruisers holding their egos in Van Nuys long ago. Back in the mid-80s, Pops stopped to make a telephone call while he was out cruising in his Cammer Boss. He left the engine running, figuring he would be on the phone just a few minutes. It took just that long for someone to decide they wanted that Boss more than Pops did. Pops heard the roar, dropped the phone, and returned to an empty parking space. He was devastated. The car, with its extraordinary powerplant and reputation, was never seen again.
George II witnessed his father's grief and sadness and decided to build a replica of the original Pop's Toy. Duplicating the original was no small task. But this is the Boskovichs we're talking about. George tracked down another Boss Nine and Cammer and then went to work. The Cammer block was massaged to perfection, fitted with Arias domed pistons, a Bishop-Buehl stroker crank and I-beam rods (imagine, 4.155-inch rods!). The heads were stuffed full of Crane "Nitro" cams sporting a .562-inch lift. Those are Holley 660-cfm atomizers. An MSD ignition fires the mixture. Underneath, a Melling Cobra Jet oil pump and 8-quart pan keep things slippery inside. What may surprise you is the C6 transmission, which takes all the punishment the Cammer can dish out. Leave your clutch pedal at the door.
We decided to take George II up on his offer to allow the Cammer to breathe for us. We were pleasantly surprised. Open the hood and it's a radical mill in every respect. Shut the hood, spin the starter, and drop it in drive and it's not the radical beast you might expect. It idles smoothly, and it leans gently on the torque converter. But that's where passivity ends and coyote nasty begins. George mashes the pedal and a sedate idle becomes a ground-pounding scream. This is a short-stroke engine not afraid of high revs. A factory tach courts the 7,000-rpm mark, tires burn, the C6 makes short work of a 1-2-3 shift, and a Detroit Locker's ring and pinion go to work. Pop's Toy II is on take-off roll, reliving the memories of another Boss Nine Cammer leaving the light on The Boulevard many moons ago. George roars past us in a blaze of glory. You can almost hear his father's laughter and feel the confidence. Pops never met a man he couldn't beat. It's a spirit that transcends the generations, and so is Pops'.