Geoff Stunkard
April 29, 2010

Decades later, Jerry Spinelli noticed what looked like a Mustang under a car cover in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania. After meeting the owner and uncovering the car, Jerry knew right away it was a Boss 429, but a 351 Cleveland was under the hood and the body was painted bright blue with "The Grabber" lettering. The owner wanted to keep the engine and didn't have a title, but Jerry went ahead and made a deal for the Mustang. After installing a 427 medium riser, Jerry decided it was too difficult to drive and sold it to his brother, Joe, who began researching the car's history. It was second-owner Lou Guglielmo who mentioned, "Oh, by the way, I bought the car from Al Joniec."

That changed everything, and Joe began to restore the Boss 429 as it was raced by Joniec. He contacted Joniec, who gave Joe permission to restore the car with his name on it. He did decide that, being a real Boss, it would need a Boss 429 under the hood. A low-mileage engine was found in Philadelphia. Joe sold a few of the scarce original pieces to help fund a performance buildup. The car was finished in 2006, where it was unveiled at the York US30 Reunion in Pennsylvania.

"Joniec flew up from South Carolina," Joe remembers. "When he saw the car for the first time, he was speechless. He pointed to the 'Heads by Bud' logo and got a little choked up about it, since Bud had been his long-time friend. It was pretty special."

Joniec couldn't believe how good the car looked, telling Joe that it was not a correct restoration-the car had never been so clean during its racing career.

"He says he never thought this car would be part of his life again," Joe added. "He was back in the spotlight, signing autographs and meeting old fans. That was a really cool part of all this. This being a real Boss 429 makes it very special. Misrepresentation was a big part of the story; some people thought Holman Moody had built it, or perhaps Dearborn Steel Tubing. No, Al and Bud built this car themselves."