1969 Ford Boss 429 Mustang - The Gasser
Ohio George Montgomery's Boss 429-powered, twin-turbocharged '69 Mustang survived the NHRA Gasser wars of the late 1960s.
But Montgomery believed the Boss 429 had more potential than the Cammer. The Boss 429's bottom end was rugged because Ford engineered it for NASCAR. For reasons unknown, or perhaps just good luck, Ford assigned engineer Danny Jones to help Montgomery with his drag car. Jones had worked on Ford's Indy car program, specifically their world-beating four-cam V-8. Jones applied technology from the Indy car program to the Boss 429 for Montgomery's Gasser.
For the Boss 429 build, Jones suggested turbocharging, but not just one. He suggested two. However, there was more to the build than a pair of turbochargers.
Montgomery offers insight when he says, "We ended up making that engine think it was two four-cylinder Offys," referring to the famous Offenhauser four-cylinder Indy engine with double overhead cams.
Indy racers knew how to turbocharge a four-cylinder to the max. On the Boss 429, each turbocharger pumped four cylinders, but not one turbo for each half of the V-8. Instead, each turbo supplied two cylinders on each side, which explains the tubes crisscrossing into the intake manifold.
Unfortunately, before Montgomery could get the twin-turbo Boss 429 built, Ford canceled their racing budget and he lost Ford's financial backing. Still, he didn't quit. He learned that Danny Jones could still help "without causing waves."
Montgomery says, "Some of that stuff I had to pay for. But you can't say the engine was developed without total Ford blessing."
Montgomery was able to get the job done. His then-15-year-old son, Gregg, was helping him at this time. To this day, neither father nor son will divulge details about horsepower or technical specifications. The body was a one-off and so was the twin-turbo Boss 429. Perkins tells the story that Montgomery wouldn't open the hood in the pits because he didn't want anyone to see the engine.
Perkins also says the twin-turbo Boss 429 was rarely beat on the strip due to its incredible mid-range torque. At the end of the quarter-mile, the Boss "just kept pulling."
Gregg Montgomery was more specific in his assessment. He says, "That car was outrunning cars it shouldn't. Say we ran an AA-Altered and were slow off the line. We should not have been able to make up for the slow start on the other end. But we did."
Part of this enigma is wrapped up in the mystery of the turbochargers. A turbocharged big-block was way ahead of its time in 1971, not to mention a twin-turbo Boss 429 with exotic valvetrain and semi-hemispherical combustion chambers. Basically, the twin-turbo Boss 429 was superior, technologically speaking, compared to the other supercharged V-8s of that era. Where other Gassers could not catch up, the Boss 429 twin turbo could and did, time after time.
After winning the 1973 and 1974 Gatornationals, Montgomery retired the Mr. Gasket Gasser and built a turbocharged '74 Pinto. The Mustang was retired from drag racing in 1975 when Montgomery stored the car in "a little spot behind my office." Perkins lusted after the car for years, saying that George preserved the car in a Plexiglas cubicle. He sold the '33 Willy, now in the possession of the Henry Ford Museum, and the Malco Gasser '67 Mustang, on display in the Petersen Museum, but the '69 Boss was his favorite car. He says the '69 was never restored because "it never got dirty."
Montgomery retired from drag racing in 1985 at the age of 53 and still operates, with his son Gregg, George's Speed Shop in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio.