Jerry Heasley
May 9, 2011

Boda said, I think the first offer I had was someone who came to a garage sale on the property. He was pushing hard to purchase both the Boss 429 and the Cobra Jet for $70,000. I wasn’t sure of their value.

Cole told Boda that the value was much higherin the neighborhood of $225,000 for both cars. Of course, someone needed to inspect the cars, so Cole suggested Randy Gillis, who owns a ’68 Cobra Jet fastback. Boda invited Gillis to the property, which resembled more of a car salvage yard than a residence.

An expert on high-performance Mustang parts and cars, Gillis gave an accurate description of the 428 CJ in as raced condition. He noted a sticker on the windshield, dated 1969, for the Kern County Racing Association, so the car ran at Bakersfield, California. Bill Stroppe’s shop had welded lift bars onto the frame. The hood was modified with four pins and there were no hinges.

Thanks to the Southern California climate, the paint and lettering were original. Gillis described the paint wear as bald spots on the corners where the car cover rubbed.

Gillis noted the Keystone Kustom mags, Goodyear all-weather front tires, and XS 250 M&H Racemaster slicks. The interior still smelled new with a pristine dash and nice original carpet. The floor had been modified to fit a Hurst vertical gate shifter.

He noted that the odometer showed 178 miles.

The radiator and engine were missing, but the transmission was still intact. Boda surmises that the engine blew up, probably while drag racing. Parts included one head, all eight rods (two of them damaged), Venolia pistons, C8AX-D cam, and original distributor, carburetor, and spark plug wires.

Gillis described the Balanger headers as very odd, as most race-prepped, 135 series CJs used Jardine’s or Doug’s headers. The Balanger headers were in great shape. They are most likely original to the car’s modification due to the presence of the vintage Balanger decals on the front fenders.

Garton was eager to purchase the car, but Boda was biding his time. In Garton’s words, He was searching for history and trying to put a drag racer’s name on the car. I had to let him be until he was satisfied but I checked with him every month.

October 18, 2010, was a busy day for Garton. He didn’t check his email until 11:30 that evening. To his surprise, he found a note from Boda. He was ready to sell. He even priced the car. Was Garton too late? Had someone else opened their email sooner and made a deal? An interesting midnight scene unfolded as Garton typed a reply and his wife asked if he was typing a letter to Santa Claus. Garton hoped Boda was still up and on his computer. But Santa had gone to bed.

The following morning I called and spoke to Boda’s wife, Garton explained. She confirmed that they had received my email and gave me Joe’s number at work. It was probably eight in the morning when I talked to him hoping the car was still available. Luckily for Garton, the car was not sold and he made the deal.

David has no plans to restore the carjust clean and detail to retain the original patina. A period-correct 428 Cobra Jet Super Stock engine will bring the car back to life.