By all odds, there is not a finer restored Ford Mustang than this 1970 Boss 429, and for three main reasons; the first being a starting point of just 1,608 original miles. Reason No. 1’s importance, originality, matches Bob Perkins’ restoration philosophy of the last 37 years, which he summed up, off the cuff, as we talked about the undercarriage of this car. He said, “The best cars, when they’re done, were the better cars to start with.”
Perkins’ 20/20 vision of foresight, which he has possessed since his start in the hobby in 1981, has led him to buy the best Mustangs. He’s bought cars such as a Black Jade Boss 429 with 902 miles, a 1970 Grabber Orange Boss 302 with 1,554 miles, and, of course, the 1969 Mach 1 with 54 miles that has never been titled or dealer-prepped.
In his words, “30-odd years ago” Perkins first saw this Grabber Orange 1970 Boss 429, right after Gary Erickson bought the car from its original owner. “He came by my old shop in Oconomowoc [Wisconsin] with the car and being that it was Grabber Orange, the same color as my Boss 302, I thought, ‘Boy, what a pair of cars that would be.’” Erickson was so proud of his new purchase he would not sell. Over the years, the two men bought and traded parts and kept the car in the conversation.
Perkins-restored inner fenders, brakes, and associated hardware. Dearborn Assembly sprayed the black sound deadener with a powerful, high-flow airless gun (which creates a strong demarcation line that restorers with syphon-feed guns cannot duplicate). The sound deadener protected inner fenders from road debris, such as stones, and was applied after the Grabber Orange paint.
Perkins took detailed photos before restoration, including the paint marking on the coil spring and the white chalk writing on the right, which might read NG, NQ, or ATQ, a writing that Bob has seen on other Boss 429s. Perkins also reinserted the tag (which is an engineering tag with an engineering part number), complete with orange paint overspray, back inside the coil spring. These are the type of original features found on low-mileage cars.
Perkins has seen these stainless steel, acorn-shaped lug nuts on maybe two or three Boss Mustangs—they came on this car. Note: these lug nuts are not the same as the more common 1969 Boss 429 stainless steel lug nuts that have been reproduced and are a different shape. Most lug nuts are chrome.
In November of 2015, Perkins told his friend and Mustang collector Dave Steine, “I bet Gary Erickson will show up in Chicago [Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals] because he will not be able to stay away from an event where one of every color Boss 429 will be on display.” Sure enough, Gary showed up. Bob introduced him to Dave Steine, and by the end of the show Dave made an agreement to buy Gary’s 1970 Boss 429.
Perkins had a plan: Steine had two of the three Ford West Coast Drag Team cars of 1969-1970—the Cobra Jet Super Stock Mustang and the Pro Stock Mustang, both driven by Ed Terry. He lacked the third car, the Fairlane Cobra, which Bob Perkins owned and was restoring to its racing glory. “I think that Dave knew eventually that we were going to trade. That’s the only way he was going to get the Cobra Fairlane out of me,” said Perkins.
This past year the deal was done. Perkins tossed in a 427 SOHC engine built for him by George Montgomery (aka Ohio George). With his dream Boss 429 in his garage, parts gathered over the past 30-odd years, and restoration expertise, Perkins went about building a masterpiece.
Tires are N.O.S. Goodyear Polyglas F60x15, date-coded November 1969 (on the reverse side). The rectangular stamp is from Goodyear Tire & Rubber to the Goodyear store. Another restoration detail is a pink paint daub on the lower right of the tire. When Ford balanced tires, pink specified a 1-ounce weight (placed next to the paint mark). A white mark specified a ½-ounce weight.
The original gap between the front fender and the door comes from the factory, and it’s “perfect,” in Perkins’ words.
The gaps between the hood and front fenders is even. The “Sports Performance” was Ford’s slogan for 1970. Perkins got this original Ford cardboard tag from John Vermeersch of “Total Performance.” The 1970 Boss 429 black hoodscoop is fiberglass and was painted acrylic lacquer at Kar Kraft.
People might wonder what difference it would make if the starting point of a restoration was 1,608 miles or 56,608 miles. Certain aspects of a restoration are easy to duplicate, and others are hard to duplicate. For example, 100 percent virgin sheetmetal is a major plus in a restoration. The higher the mileage, the more likely to find rust pits that must be repaired in the metal. Perkins cited date-coded door strikers, which show wear even when replated. “You can see where they’ve been opened and closed on a car with, say, 50,000 miles, and that’s where low mileage makes a difference.”
Another issue with these high-end restorations is the interior. Ford did not sell new interiors. “You couldn’t buy a new seat,” Perkins said. This 1,608-mile car had mint seats, dash, and instrument cluster.
Reason No. 2 that this 1970 Boss 429 is by all odds the best restored Mustang ever is Perkins’ massive storehouse of N.O.S. parts. Over the past 37 years, he’s stopped at more than 3,000 Ford dealers in his pursuit of N.O.S. Mustang parts, heavy on his favorite—Boss Mustangs. At one dealer, he recalls finding an N.O.S. 1970 Mustang carpet in its original box, date-coded December of 1969, fitting the window of production for this Boss 429.
Another earmark of a low-mileage car is the stance. This body doesn’t sag at the front or rear. It sits level. The gap between the top of the tire and the fender is even. Gary Erickson never drove this Boss 429. The mileage remained at 1,608.
On the reverse side of the hoodscoop is a paper tag, and how it was acquired is a story in itself. To get this tag, Perkins tracked down and drove to Brighton, Michigan, to meet the man that painted every Boss 429 hoodscoop at Kar Kraft in 1969-1970. “I ended up buying a hoodscoop just to get the paper tag,” Perkins said. The tag has the paint code, brand, and color. (Note: We don’t show a close-up of this tag to prevent people from reproducing it.) The date on the scoop is handwritten as 10-3-69.
The “final acceptance” stickers on the side glass and windshield are N.O.S. from Dearborn Assembly. Jim Osborne acquired these stickers from his connections at Ford Motor Company to make reproductions. Perkins said this car has no reproduction stickers or tags. They are all 100 percent original.
“There’s never been a shoe placed on the heel pad. Nobody has ever stepped on the pad on the front of the carpet in that car,” Bob said as we took pictures of his incredible 1,608-mile 1970 Boss 429—a car that we pushed in and out of the shop for photos and that he will never start up or drive. “Most likely, no one ever sat in the rear seats of the car.”
Perkins turned passionate about a “100 percent perfect trunk wiring harness,” which he said is ultra-rare, and an N.O.S. trunk mat and underlayment, the latter not readily visible but MCA-judged. Also high on the list is the pair of N.O.S., date-code correct 1970 Boss 429 mufflers, the only set Bob has ever seen on a car at a show. “In the back of my mind, I had been saving all that stuff for all those years because I had the feeling that eventually I would get that car.”
Reason No. 3 that this 1970 Boss 429 is by all odds the best restored Mustang ever: Bob Perkins’ restoration skills and understanding of the stock show car classes in the MCA—classes that are constructed to nurture authentic restorations. Perkins has been one of the key sources of information and expertise in the development of these rules.
Due to incorrect storage, the original Grabber Orange paint, except for some areas in the doorjambs and under the decklid, could not be saved. However, the car had a wealth of other original features that he could integrate to win MCA’s Authenticity award in the Thoroughbred class.
This Mustang is one of four Boss 429s to achieve this MCA Thoroughbred Authenticity award—we have photographed the previous three for features seen here. Whether or not this fourth Boss 429 is the best restored Mustang ever, it is Bob Perkins’ masterpiece.
With a classic Mustang full of original, trick pieces, maybe this little plastic strap hanging off the parking brake cable is the most puzzling. Perkins has only seen a few of these straps. When they shipped the rear axle assemblies, they wrapped this strap around the long cable and the rear axle assembly and hooked it onto the wheel stud so the cable would not hang loose and get tangled up or trip somebody. Assembly line workers usually pulled these straps and threw them away, but once in a while one got by.
The Boss 429 engine has either the original part that came on the engine new, or a date-coded part that is 100 percent correct—from the spark plug wires to the engine tag to the carburetor tag, and including the small aluminum identification tag that goes between the master cylinder and the brake booster, the rarest tag of all. Since brake fluid denigrates aluminum, most of these tags are not readable or have disintegrated. This car came with an absolutely mint, perfect tag. Belts and hoses either came with the car or are N.O.S. from Kar Kraft. None of the hoses are re-stamped—they have their original factory stampings. Perkins was fortunate to purchase Bud Moore’s inventory of Kar Kraft’s leftover parts.
The original window sticker and warranty tag, as delivered, that came on the car. The original buyer was Robert Krigbaum, the son of the owner of Krigbaum Ford located at “By Pass 66 & Old Rochester Road” in Springfield, Illinois.
This trunk has more thought than some museum displays. The space-saver spare tire and jack are original to this car. Bob had a vintage Group 29 Autolite battery. The trunk mat is N.O.S. This car still had the plastic steering wheel cover, which Bob saves in the trunk for display. He also displays the safety letter that BFGoodrich mailed to the original owner with a new sticker that the owner was asked to apply to the wheel to warn against getting frostbite from touching the painted part of the canister. The original owner had saved this paperwork in the glovebox.
A close-up of the Group 29 battery shows the special tool (red) for removing and installing battery caps, on top of the hold-down stud. Under the battery is a buildsheet that was in the trunk when Bob got the car.
Ford shipped the four Magnum 500 wheel caps in a separate box (with engineering number), which was still in the trunk of this car. (Installed hubcaps or center caps were often stolen in transit.)
The interior is a trip back in time, starting with the “better idea…buckle up for safety” service paper mat, an original that uses Ford’s slogan for 1970. The three-spoke steering wheel is mint. There is a paper tag on the clock that was on the car prior to dealer-prep that they had shoved into the owner’s manual packet with the extra set of keys. The seats are still “puffy” due to low miles.
“You can re-chrome a shifter, but you won’t have the definition in the Hurst letters,” Perkins said. This one is mint and seldom used. The face on the radio plate is crisp, not foggy. Also, original chrome from 1969 has more of a goldish appearance, compared to a whiter finish today.
Perkins bought this N.O.S. front spoiler, still in its original plastic, from Bud Moore’s leftover stock of Kar Kraft parts. The dealer installed the front spoiler, which came in the back seat in a plastic sleeve, just as seen here.