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1970 Boss 429 Mustang Surfaces After 29 Years!
Any car unearthed from its resting place nowadays is deemed a "barn find" even if it's nowhere near a barn. Regardless of where they may be parked, the folks who own these automobiles are usually aware of what they own, what they are worth, and have some emotional connection to them, which is why we often hear the famous line, "I'm going to fix it someday." Much of what eventually sees the light of day is the result of a combination of things. On the one hand there is an owner who is finally willing to cut loose with that prized car, and a buyer in a financial position to pay the asking price. These buyers are usually dialed-in to the whole collector car scene and as a result build a word-of-mouth network around them where things regularly land at their doorstep.
Over the years Charlie Lyons, the owner of Charlie's Classic Cars in Irvington, AL, has established such a network, and the revelation of this 1970 Mustang Boss 429 is the fruit of that network. (To read our original breaking-news story and amateur photo gallery, click here. He explains, "We own a restoration shop and we are known for buying collector cars in any form or fashion, whether it is a project or a completed car." This car came to him through his dentist when someone from there called and asked, "I've got a friend and he's got an old Mustang, and it's one with the Hemi head motor in it and wanted to know if you'd be interested in it?"
First off, this isn't a derelict that was left to sink into the ground. It was put away in the late '80s as a result of a medical condition suffered by the previous owner, who at the time was actively modifying the Boss into a show car. When Charlie cracked the garage door open, the car was under a number of covers and almost 30 years worth of stuff. It took over six hours to unearth the car. When it was finally dropped to the ground, three of the four tires still held air and the brakes weren't seized. As a result of the ongoing modifications, however, there were a number of Boss 429 specific items that were long gone. Nevertheless, the body on the car is absolutely flawless with no signs of rust or damage anywhere. It appears to still have the factory paint underneath an added coat of pearl-infused clear.
A number of period-correct aftermarket items were installed. The original hood is gone and a fiberglass replacement sits in its place. The underside of the car was fully painted in gloss black and is equally flawless. In the engine bay, the numbers-matching 429 is still in place but missing a number of key items like the smog pump, carburetor, exhaust manifolds, and distributor, along with a number of peripheral items. The interior is mostly original as it rolled off the Rouge assembly line, but that too is also missing a number of key items like the console, Hurst T-handle shifter, gauges, AM radio, and rim-blow steering wheel.
Beyond that, we can tell you that this Boss 429 is one of 499 built in 1970, and one of only 13 painted in Calypso Coral with a white interior. Of those 13 cars built, this is the fourth one to surface with that combination. According to the Marti Report, it has a build date of October 28, 1969. Ford initially built these cars on their assembly line, then shipped them to Kar Kraft in Brighton, MI for their final conversion, at which point a specific number was assigned to them. This one was assigned KK# 2315. It was delivered to the first owner in Mobile AL, but we have no additional information on him. The second owner, who has asked to remain anonymous, purchased it in 1976 for $1,500 with the intent to build a show and strip car. That is reflected in the changes that took place over the years with the body, under the hood, and the interior. Photos and a brief write-up that that appeared in the November 1989 issue of Super Ford magazine show what the car looked like as of late 1988. It was clearly not a trailer queen and very presentable, especially under the hood. When it was parked, it was undergoing mechanical changes in the form of a NOS installation that was never completed.
As the years passed, the owner knew what he had, and what his $1,500 dollar investment had grown into. He was always reluctant to put the car up for sale, and even more reluctant to let anyone know that he had it. It wasn't until recently that he had a change of heart and was quickly approached by someone else with an offer. As is often the case, there are always tire kickers that talk a good game, but often fall short in delivering the goods. Cold hard cash has a way of getting things done, and that is what it took to seal the deal on this car.
The future of this Boss is that it is staying in the Mobile area and will not be subjected to a full-blown restoration. It will be mechanically sorted, and the interior put back together, and possibly repainted. Beyond that, there are no additional plans for it.
"Barn finds" illustrate that these cars are still out there and will continue to pop up as owners get moments of clarity that they will never fix what they own. We hope to be there to show them to you.
Who: Charlie Lyons
What: 1970 Mustang Boss 429
Where: Irvington, Alabama
The numbers-matching 429 still lies under the hood on this car. At one point a hotter Crane camshaft was added with an eye towards racing. The distributor was also partially installed as part of the camshaft installation. Also added was an MSD Blaster 2 coil and Holley fuel pump. Missing is the power steering pump which was standard on all Boss 429s, as well as the original radiator, rev limiter, voltage regulator, shock tower brace, and smog pump. The previous owner was on a mission to add chrome under the hood so the radiator fan finger guard, the oil cooler bracket, and hood hinges were all plated. Aluminum pieces under the hood like the valve covers and intake were also treated to a full polish. The original air cleaner assembly is also a distant memory on this car. Based on a photo taken back in 1988, it appears that it had an aftermarket triangular mesh air cleaner.
The only induction system available on these cars came down to a cast aluminum, dual-plane, high-rise intake manifold and a Holley 735cfm four-barrel carburetor. As with the interior, much of what was planned under the hood was started but never finished. The original intake was at some point removed and polished and the factory-installed Holley carburetor replaced with a Holley 850 double-pumper. When the car was dragged out of the garage, it was missing the carburetor and was in the middle of a nitrous installation that was never completed.
Ford kept it simple with the Boss 429 when it came to shifting. The only available gearbox was the Toploader four-speed manual. This Boss still has its original gearbox in place, however, a performance clutch and pressure plate with a Lakewood blowproof bellhousing were installed. We were told that this was done out of fear by the previous owner as a result of Garlits' accident when he lost part of his foot.
All Boss 429s came equipped with Ford's bulletproof 9-inch rear. This one still has its original 3.91 Traction-Lok rear in place.
All Boss 429s came equipped with a "competition suspension" which consisted of unique spring seats, coil springs and a .85-inch sway bar. The front spindles on these cars were a heavy-duty design to accommodate the 15-inch wheels and added weight of the engine. At the rear, the heavy-duty leaf springs are still in place, as is the .625-inch sway bar. The bulk of the suspension was left unmolested, except for the addition of a set of Lakewood traction bars and Competition Engineering bolt-on subframe connectors. The factory-installed hydraulic shocks were also set aside and replaced with Konis.
Braking on the Boss 429 in 1970 was identical to that of the Boss 302. That consisted of 11.3-inch vented rotors up front, and 10 x 2-inch drums at the rear. These are still in place.
The exhaust was at some point removed. Another common swap done back in the '80s was to toss the factory cast iron exhaust manifolds and replace them with headers. This Boss 429 is wearing a set of rusty Hedman headers and custom pipes front to back.
There was only one wheel / tire combo available on the Boss 429 in 1970; they all rolled off the line wearing chrome Magnum 500s wrapped in F60-15 Goodyear Polyglas GTs. On this Boss those were replaced with Centerline Champ 500 aluminum wheels and BF Goodrich Radial T/A tires at some point during the '80s.
The body on this Boss 429 is remarkably straight and rust-free without any signs of collision damage at any point, however, there are a few items that were replaced along the line. The most obvious swap is the original hood. The one currently on the car is a fiberglass replacement, while the scoop is original to the car. These 429-equipped cars were nose heavy and we think that choice was made to reduce front-end weight. The rear valance also appears to have been swapped for one with cutouts for a dual exhaust. This Boss '9 rolled off the Dearborn assembly line wearing Calypso Coral, which was one of five factory colors available in 1970. All indications point to it still being the original coat applied at the factory, however, it was at some point oversprayed with a clearcoat mixed with pearl.
The rear tail panel, door mirrors, and lower portions of the body were also sprayed in gloss black, and pinstriping was added over the wheel arches. At the back of the car, a rear spoiler was also added, while the Mustang script that ran the length of the trunk lid was removed in favor of a smaller one centrally placed, and the fuel filler cap was replaced. At the front, fog lights were added above the license plate frame, and rally-style wire mesh headlight guards were added over the headlights. Underneath, this Boss is painted gloss black and is in immaculate condition.
One of the few options available in 1970 on the Boss 429 was a choice of either black or white interior colors, up from only black in 1969. Standard on all 1970 models was a center console, Hurst T-handle shifter, Philco AM radio, electric clock, 8,000-rpm tach, rim-blow steering wheel, and simulated teak wood inserts. This car was originally delivered with a white interior, which is still in place right down to the mint White Knit Vinyl Dcor bucket seats.
As you can see from the photos, it is evident that the owner was making changes to suit his tastes, so a few things were replaced along the line. Much of what was done reflects common interior upgrades that many car owners did back in the '80s. The AM radio swap is perhaps the most common on vehicles from that era. In this case a Radio Shack Realistic AM/FM radio with a cassette player and graphic equalizer were the choice to replace the stock Philco unit. That upgrade also usually went hand-in-hand with the installation of aftermarket speakers, which would often be installed in the doors and the package tray, as was the case with this car. All the factory gauges were swapped-out with Stewart Warner units after the car was parked, so actual mileage is a complete mystery, however, a good indicator of how much usage a car saw can often be determined by the wear on the pedals, and this one shows very little. The rim-blow steering wheel was also ditched in favor of a Grant GT removable wheel; this according to Charlie was done to prevent theft of the car. Additional items missing are the console and factory Hurst T-handle shifter, which was swapped with another Hurst shifter. The carpet also seems to have been replaced when the console was removed, and the teak wood inserts were sprayed in black.