Geoff Stunkard
February 1, 2009

It takes a lot to shock and awe the experienced collectors at the Forge Musclecar Classic. Now in its sixth year, the 2008 event featured a comprehensive collection of Boss 429 Mustangs; efforts to find one of each color from both '69 and '70 brought cars to Tennessee from as far away as Montana and Texas. On the Friday evening before the show, the last vehicle to arrive was a Candyapple Red '69 Boss 429. Although not overly shiny or prepped like most of the others, it instantly became the focus of attention.

This is truly low-mileage for a 40-year-old muscle car.

That was because everything was original--the paint, the tires, the belts, the interior, and so on. The original purchaser (and still owner), Bill Schwartz, along with his wife, Helen, looked on with amusement as a half-dozen excited Ford collectors walked around and shook their heads in disbelief. The odometer had turned only 775 miles since coming from Don Rice Ford on March 28, 1969.

The 45th Boss 429 in a batch of 100 built by Ford's subcontractor Kar Kraft, this Boss had been known to Mustang expert Ed Meyer for the better part of 20 years. Having heard rumor of its existence in the '80s, he followed leads to find it, then spent time gaining the trust of the Schwartz family to inspect it on several occasions. He recounts one humorous incident:

"I was looking at the car and asked Bill to open the trunk. Bill said he had not seen the keys in years and figured they had been misplaced. Well, on a subsequent trip, he had located them and we went out together to open the trunk for the first time since 1969. Everything was untouched, including the spare tire and headlight adjusters, plus all the original smog equipment that the dealership had taken off to do the warranty work two weeks after it was purchased."

How had this car come to exist 40 years later without seeing 1,000 miles? After buying and driving the Boss 429 for less than two weeks, the exotic engine seized up. Bill wanted a replacement. But by that point, the factory was installing the T-series Boss 429 and not the NASCAR-derived S-series as used in Bill's Mustang. Bill insisted on getting an S-series replacement. The disagreement eventually ended up with lawsuits and lawyers before it was settled in Bill's favor.

The current engine is the replacement S-series Boss 429 that Bill finally received from Ford in a warranty dispute. He still has the original block in storage.

In the meantime, Bill had ordered a '71 429 SJC Mustang hardtop. With the Boss in storage, he simply tucked the replacement engine away with the stored car and kept racing the newer Mustang. While he never thought about it as a collectible, he told Ed he knew the car was special since the factory had discontinued production. It became simply out-of-sight, out-of-mind.

Forty years later, it's a virtual time capsule. The temporary tags are still with it. All the warranty paperwork, mail-in literature, and dealer paperwork is untouched. The owner's manual envelope and its associated paperwork is still in the glovebox. Bill himself had carefully peeled off the window sticker on the day the car was delivered. All of this created a Boss 429 reference that Ed says is the best he has ever seen. Indeed, Ed has often used this particular car as a reference when researching other Boss 429 Mustangs.

Like all Boss 429s built that year, standard equipment included the Boss 429 engine, close-ratio four-speed, and 3.91 gearing in a Traction-Lok rear. Candyapple Red was one of five colors available in '69, with the external identification signs being the hoodscoop, Boss 429 decals on the front fenders, and a small front chin spoiler. Kar Kraft did need to make some underhood modifications to fit the wide 429, reworking the shock towers, using a thinner replacement booster on the standard power brake layout, and moving the battery to the trunk.