Jim Smart
October 1, 2008

With help from friends and family, it took Jan a year and a half to restore the low-mileage Boss. When necessary, he looked to professionals, such as Gerald's Automotive in Steeleville, Illinois, which rebuilt the hemi-head Boss 429 engine. Because the engine was low mileage and surprisingly corrosion-free inside, all it needed was a freshening with new bearings, rings, a timing set, gaskets, and a cam/valvetrain. The block required light honing, but no boring. Jan's wife, Marsha; his son, Mark; and his brother-in-law, Stan Gerlach, helped lower the massive engine onto the chassis without scratching the paint. Jan laughs when he says, "How many guys can say they have a wife who can install a Boss 429 engine?"

Because Jan is an auto body professional, the rest of the car came naturally for him. Although he would have liked to have used Grabber Green in the original enamel, he was forced by evolution to settle for PPG basecoat/clearcoat. Aside from a couple of minor door dings, body repair wasn't required. The original factory finish was wet sanded, then sealed with a primer sealer. He followed that with three coats of basecoat pigment, then two coats of premium PPG clearcoat before baking the body for 35 minutes at 160 degrees for good paint cure. Color sanding followed with 2000 grit wet, then 3000 grit, also wet. Jan used 3M compound and a white pad to achieve the luster shown here.

Jan's Magnum 500 wheels suffered from major pitting, so he shipped them to Tru Design Wheels in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, for restoration. The diaphragm in the power brake booster didn't survive 35 years of storage, so it was rebuilt by Power Brake Booster Exchange in Portland, Oregon. Jan looked to Holley to rebuild his 735-cfm carburetor to factory specifications.

When it was time to power up the Boss, Jan was surprised to learn that everything worked. Even the clock, which stopped in 1971 when the battery died, started right up and continues to keep time.

It's easy to see Jan as the ordinary working class guy who got a break and found the car of his dreams. We tend to think of him as the guy who won the lottery-and we feel Grabber Green envy every step of the way. However, this is a dream that didn't come easily for Jan. This car could have easily escaped. It was Jan's due diligence that enabled him to achieve what no one else had the determination to pursue.