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Once in a Lifetime Find: 1969 Boss 429 Hidden for Decades!
The Story of Boss 429 KK 1982: Finally emerging from its dusty hibernation, a 1969 Mustang Boss 429 with a mere 8,553 miles sees the light of day once again. A once-in-a-lifetime find
[Ed note: Sometimes a good story just falls in our lap via the email inbox or website, and this is a case of just that. Alex Myrman recently emailed the Mustang Monthly inbox (MustangMonthly@EnthusiastNetwork.com) about his Rare Find, a ’69 Boss 429 with less than 10,000 miles that had lived out of sight in a garage for decades. Alex’s words were so descriptive that we’ll just let him tell the story. If anyone else has a similar story or recollection about Mustangs and thinks people will enjoy reading it, feel free to send it to us and make sure to include high-resolution (at least 2048x1360 pixels) photos.]
Like most Boss Mustang enthusiasts a Boss 429 is usually on the wish list. Mine was way off in the “maybe someday” category. A list that started back in high school around 1980 when I was first bitten by the car bug after getting my drivers license. I was then immediately drawn towards 1969-1970 Mustangs, Mach 1s, Boss 302s, and 429s, a love that has not faded in nearly 40 years. I also learned quickly when it comes to buying a Boss 429 the choices will be far and few between. This, along with a budget in mind makes it even harder if not impossible to find the right car. So when opportunity knocked I needed to be prepared to jump.
My opportunity started last summer when I was hanging out at the office and talking cars with a co-worker. He heard I was working on older Mustangs and was curious about what kind they were. The discussion turns to the current projects I’m involved with, ’69 and ’70 Boss 302s. I showed him some photos of the cars and shop while talking about the work I’ve been doing with the various cars, mostly minor restoration projects, pretty much anything except paint and body work. He mentions his dad has a red 1969 Boss 429 that he bought brand new off the lot “back in the day”.
He continued on, saying it only has “like 8,000 miles on it and he hasn’t driven it in 20 years—it wasn’t running. My first thought was that I would really like to just go see this car but I also had to ask if his dad was thinking of selling it. The answer was no, he didn’t want to sell it. But whenever I come across folks that own ‘69-‘70 Boss cars I always just ask if I can come see it. I like these cars and I’m always interested in seeing other’s cars too. Also, I’m always looking for new projects to work on and I thought maybe his dad would like some help just getting it running again and back in shape after all these years. After learning that he really hasn’t been motivated to work on it over the last several years I thought it could be an opportunity to work on it. So we left it at that and he would let me know if his dad would be interested in letting me look at it or having help getting it running.
Several months went by and I didn’t hear anything. Not being very pushy and thinking that it wasn’t for sale, I didn’t pursue it. It was also winter and sometimes people are not very motivated to dig out old cars in the cold and snow.
About mid-January on the way to Arizona for some vacation I get a phone call from my co-worker saying that if I was serious about the car his dad would make arrangements for me to come over. Not sure what he meant by “serious about the car” I asked for clarification. Are we just going to look at it or was it for sale? It is for sale was the answer. I wanted to respond with “I’ll be over tomorrow,” but we were half way driving across the country on the way to Arizona. A few minutes later we learn his dad (who wishes to remain anonymous) will be traveling too about the time we get back and won’t be home for several weeks after that. But not to worry; we’ll all just wait until everyone is back from vacation. In the meantime, my co-worker sent me some photos, I ordered a deluxe Marti report.
It gets to be around late February and everyone is back from traveling. We have some conversations on the phone and the owner decides he would rather wait for nicer weather so he can get out in the garage and gather up items and be prepared to answer questions knowing I was interested in the car. By then I had learned that the camshaft was replaced in the early ‘70s along with having headers installed. I could also see from some photos that the smog and power steering pumps were removed, the air cleaner snorkel was missing, and the distributor replaced. I was also suspicious that the carburetor was swapped because of fuel line routing. The owner was not sure but felt very confident all those parts were there in the garage but with warmer weather he would get out there and round everything up, also any documentation he could find showing ownership dating back to the purchase.
Later in April the owner called me and said he was ready to show the car and we could meet up. Looking at calendars we settled on Monday April 30th, I mention that because I thought it would have been neat to do this on April 29th (Boss 429 Day) but Monday the 30th it was. My brother in-law, who has been following this story very closely over the last several months, was very interested in going along too. Honestly I really wanted him along because he’s very good at spotting body work/damage, mice damage and dealing with titles. So me being focused on verifying the car’s authenticity as a Boss 429 and him as the viability of it like any other car. So we would compliment each other’s skills and go check this car out.
Monday the 30th came, the weather was great, warm and in the 70s with a few sprinkles in the morning, clearing in the afternoon. The plan was to be there around 10am and inspect the car for about two hours. If it turned out to be too rough or in really bad shape we could just call it a day and leave after that. If it checks out, proves to be the real deal and we strike a deal then we could leave, get a bite to eat, come back with a trailer, load up and go.
Upon arrival the Boss 429 was tucked in the garage just as the photos had shown with a good layer of dust coating everything. But the odometer read 8553 and the car was being held up with the original Polyglas tires that looked great on their original Magnum 500s with the distinctive large Boss 429 center caps. Further inspection revealed an interior that has not seen sunlight in 20 years and not much beyond that anyway being such low mileage. No cracking, no fading, nothing worn out, no mouse damage, just dusty. Opening the glove box revealed a collect of invaluable paper work and factory manuals. The build sheet, Kar Kraft inspection sheet, warranty information, and registration all dating back to July 1969 when the car was purchased in the owner’s name.
The owner was working on a farm in Iowa at that time and read about Ford’s new Boss 429 Mustang in a magazine earlier that year. Thinking that he had to have one he went to Whelan Motors in Iowa early in the spring of 1969 with the desire to purchase a Boss 429. The car was ordered and he received notifications every now and then about the car’s progress and when it would be delivered. This car was actually built July 18th and delivered to the dealership on Monday July 28th. All 1969 Boss 429s were, for the most part, built identical with the only factory option being color—this one was paint code T, Candy Apple Red. Also being built late in the model year, one week before the 1969 production ended for Boss 429s it was delivered with a T code Boss 429 engine. No other options were installed (rear spoiler, slats, etc.) at the dealer and the owner took it home the next day on Tuesday evening July 29th.
After driving it for a while the owner faced a decision I think other Boss 429 owners en-countered in the early ‘70s, “can I get more performance out of this car?” After all, these cars were delivered to the public in a slightly detuned configuration and Ford was sending letters to owners describing how to squeeze more horse power from the Blue Crescent 429. So after some discussion he decided to install a new higher performing Crane hydraulic camshaft kit and headers. The factory dual exhaust was replaced with some Thrush mufflers dumping right out under the car before the axle—classic ‘70s muscle car modifications. The carburetor was also swapped out for a 850 double pumper and the distributer was upgraded.
Our inspection determined that the air pump/smog system was removed too, and also the power steering system because of the header clearance. All these parts were preserved and saved along with the snorkel for the air cleaner, heat shield, and the original camshaft with only a couple hundred miles on it. The distributor and carburetor could not be found. The paint and body were in very good shape after rubbing off some dust and we discovered all original glass and rust-free sheetmetal along with the original VIN-stamped engine and transmission.
There had been a minor repair on the left rear quarter panel that a receipt in the glove box had shown to cost $54 in 1973 to repair. A few rock chips behind the tires were the only signs on the paint and body of it being a used car—the owner said it was never driven in winter or rain. The tires still holding air did not have signs of dry rot or issues, leaky and fragile valve stems were the only thing to pay attention to. The only thing that made this car dirty were the trips it made down some Iowa dirt roads back and fourth to the farm.
Satisfied with the authenticity of the car and the supporting documentation for ownership in hand, we struck a deal. Even though we were missing a carburetor and distributor, we had located everything else to put it back to essentially day one and make it a complete Boss 429.
We didn’t bring a trailer with us, but I had reserved one nearby at a local U-Haul, just in case. A trip to the bank for a cashiers check and we retuned with the trailer. The car wasn’t running: it did crank over fine but after siting for all those years we didn’t want to try to start it. So it was winched up on the trailer after being pushed out in to the sunlight for the first time in a couple of decades. From its first view outside we could tell the paint, trim, glass, and interior should clean up great. And, putting a car like that on a trailer and driving 100 miles down the interstate is always a treat, with folks passing by looking and giving the thumbs up. Attention a car like that truly deserves.
A few days after getting the Boss 429 to its new home the cleaning began. A couple buckets of soapy water revealed excellent paint and glass. Later, my father would come over and help with waxing and buffing while my wife dove in on the chrome with some polish, which all turned out incredible after all those years. The interior was cleaned and aired out and the rims and tires cleaned.
About two weeks after purchasing the car I contacted the owner and asked about coming back out to look for the two missing parts, the distributor and carburetor. He had done such a great job saving everything else that it didn’t make sense these two parts were not around. He completely agreed and was very gracious in letting us return to search for the parts. He said he would sleep better at night knowing if they were there or not as well. When we got there we began a methodical search throughout the three-car garage. Within minutes the carburetor was located wrapped in heavy plastic looking like the day is was removed nearly 48 years ago. But after three hours of searching we could not locate the distributor. We were all puzzled but the owner stated that “If I ever come across, it’s yours.”
It’s very exciting to own this car and to think about the many years of enjoyment it’ll bring with working on it, driving it, and learning about all the unique features of the 1969 http://www.mustangandfords.com/featured-vehicles/1807-a-tale-of-two-super-cobra-jets/ 429. The plan is to leave it mostly as-is in a unrestored survivor type condition after just being cleaned and checked for mechanical soundness and drivability. One of my favorite parts is also to bring an unknown car out to the Boss 429 community to join the ranks, be viewed and enjoyed.
Thinking back about the wish list and how I couldn’t have asked for a better scenario to purchase a Boss 429: One owner (related to someone I’ve known), low miles, excellent condition, complete car. Truly a once in a lifetime find.