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1970 Ford Mustang 428 Super Cobra Jet Convertible - Trading Places
Richard Jonec Swapped A Boss 429 For This Rare Super Cobra Jet Convertible
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We've known Richard Jonec for a long time, becoming acquainted with him when he worked at Eibach Springs a decade ago. In those days, Richard had a '69 Boss 302 Mustang and was clearly a guy crazy about high-performance Mustangs. Eibach Springs was a natural employer for Richard because he enjoyed rounding the esses and cutting the apexes while helping others do the same. Today, Richard makes his home at Vogtland North America, also a suspension manufacturer; proof positive he keeps both feet and four tires squarely on the pavement.
But would you believe Richard traded a Boss 429 for this '70 428 Super Cobra Jet convertible?
We felt compelled to ask Richard why he would swap a highly desirable Boss 429 for a SCJ convertible. With confidence, he replied, "According to the 428 Cobra Jet Registry, this is an extremely rare Mustang." He added, "Only 47 428 Cobra Jet convertibles were produced in 1970, and of those, only five were Q-codes. A total of nine Super Cobra Jet convertibles were produced in 1970."
Richard acquired this bright yellow convertible from a collector in Santa Clarita, California, who wanted a Boss 429. It was a match made in heaven because each of these gentlemen had what the other wanted. He calls it good, old-fashioned horse-trading because the Boss 429 needed a full-scale restoration while the Cobra Jet convertible was already restored. Richard insists he came out on the better end of the deal.
When Richard brought his SCJ convertible home, he became obsessed with its background, eventually contacting the third owner in Louisiana. The car's DSO code of 64 indicates it was sold new in the New Orleans sales district. He also learned it had spent most of its life in Baton Rouge. When the Arab oil embargo hit in 1973-1974, the original owner unloaded the car for $600. It was sold again in 1978 to the third owner. In the late '80s, the convertible received a full-on restoration, which included some modifications that weren't true to its original identity, such as the Shaker hoodscoop and hood stripes. Although Richard questions the previous owner's judgment, he has come to accept the modifications. He explains, "Although ram air is not correct for this Mustang's Q-code identity, it does remain true to its musclecar image."
Another issue that concerns Richard is the 428 SCJ's radical demeanor. When the engine was rebuilt, balanced, and blueprinted, the previous owner fitted it with a high-lift camshaft, which makes the car temperamental. You've got to give the previous owner credit for one thing, however. He fitted the Cobra Jet with a 428 Police Interceptor aluminum intake manifold, something Ford should have done with all Cobra Jets to reduce front-end weight and help dissipate induction heat.
Close investigation of Richard's convertible demonstrates this car's original purpose-brute, straight-line performance under the open sky. The car has manual drum brakes on all four corners and no power steering or air conditioning. The standard black vinyl interior has nothing more than an AM radio and a basic complement of instruments, sans tachometer. There's nothing fancy about the 14-inch steel wheels with sport wheel covers, other than the fact that they're wrapped with Goodyear Polyglas GT tires.
Richard enjoys the crisp, clean acceleration that goes with Super CJ power, a C6 automatic, and 3.91:1 Traction-Lok gears. It's the quintessential combination of power, convenience, and gearing needed for musclecar acceleration-the whole idea behind an SCJ convertible.
We asked Richard if he'd ever consider selling the car. He answered, "Only if something more unique caught my eye. "
You could easily figure Richard has something just as unique in the '70 Boss 302 sitting in his garage. Both engine and body are ready for marriage. . . and another photo shoot for Mustang Monthly when the car is complete. Meanwhile, Richard is content with open-air motoring in a single-digit production powerhouse, a uniquely unique Mustang.