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The Best 1970 Boss 429 Mustang in the World
Best of the Best: Rick Campbell’s 1970 Boss 429 is the first 1970 Boss 429 MCA Authenticity Award winner
This Grabber Blue 1970 Boss 429 is the one and only 1970 Boss 429 to date that has ever won an Authenticity Award in Mustang Club of America judging. That’s the major reason Rick Campbell wanted this car. He was after “the best of the best.”
Campbell said, “I first saw the car about eight years ago. Billy Jay [Espich] was having a private show at a private airport.” (Readers might recall the feature we did on Espich’s 1969 Boss 302-powered prototype Shelby G.T. 350 fastback: mustang-360.com/featured-vehicles/mump-0803-1969-gt350-shelby-mustang.
“Billy Jay told me, ‘Rick, wait until you see this Boss 429,’” Campbell added. Campbell helped the owner, Jim Cunningham, unload the pristine Boss 429 off its trailer and into his hangar. At the time he could see the Grabber Blue Boss was an unbelievable car, in his words, but he just wasn’t ready to buy such a highly restored Boss, even though he and his wife Peggy had been in the hobby for decades collecting old Mustangs.
“After that show, we were invited to another big show they were having in downtown Indianapolis in conjunction with the Formula 1 race. That’s the second time I saw the car, and that’s when Billy Jay told me, ‘Rick, Jim’s health is not real good and this car is for sale,’” but Campbell passed on the Boss-9 because he felt the price was too high.
Campbell and Cunningham became good friends, and Cunningham introduced Rick to Bob Perkins and got him into judging for the MCA so he became much more involved in the cars. Campbell missed out on the Boss 429 in 2005, a year after becoming the first Boss 429 to win an Authenticity Award in MCA, but by the time the car came up for sale in 2009, he knew so much more about the car’s history. As an MCA judge he also had a great appreciation for what makes up an Authenticity winner, so he took the plunge and bought the car.
Built on December 11, 1969, KK2547 was the 488th 1970 Boss 429 out of 500 built, and the last Boss 429 with the California fuel evaporative emissions control system. Cunningham, a former MCA senior assistant head judge for 1969-1970 Mustangs, bought this car in 1987 and spent the next 15 years gathering N.O.S. parts for his ultimate restoration. He disassembled the car and had the body stripped and media blasted. After the body was painted he trailered the body shell, parts, engine, and rest of the drivetrain to Wisconsin, where Bob Perkins spent about a year and a half completing the Boss 429 restoration, including critical undercarriage detailing as well as the driveline. From time to time, Cunningham would drop by Perkins’ shop to monitor and assist in the restoration. On one visit, Cunningham spent three days hooking up the California emissions in the trunk using all the original vacuum hoses that were color-striped and original to the car.
Cunningham’s goal of achieving Authenticity meant he needed original parts, which of course are not cheap. An original exhaust system (new old stock, N.O.S.), can cost $15,000 to $25,000. An original Boss 429 Group 29 battery can set a person back another 10 to 15 grand, ditto for an original set of tires. KK2547 had all these original and N.O.S. parts and much more. Otherwise Cunningham would not have won the MCA’s Authenticity Award in Springfield, Illinois, in 2004.
So this best-of-the-best 1970 Boss 429 is as original as a Boss-9 can be, and Rick Campbell can now count himself as its current caretaker.