Written by David Neyens
For today’s hard-core “Blue Oval” fans and demanding collectors, no other performance car compares to Ford’s mighty and rare Boss 429 Mustang of 1969-70. Designed and built at the height of Ford Motor Company’s all-out “Total Performance” corporate campaign, the storming new Mustang had just one purpose – to homologate Ford’s new hemi-head Boss 429 engine for NASCAR Grand National racing. Ford was motivated by an urgent need for a racing powerplant with better high-rpm breathing than the venerable 427 “Wedge” and NASCAR’s refusal to approve the exotic SOHC 427 “Cammer.”
While Ford’s then-current NASCAR contenders were the Torino Talladega, Mercury Cyclone and Cyclone Spoiler II, Ford went to extra lengths to fit the huge new “crescent head” Boss 429 V8 into the Mustang. While an expensive, labor-intensive move by volume-oriented Ford, only 500 Boss 429 engines needed to be installed into a production Ford Motor Company model – any would do. Consequently, extensive modifications were required to create the “Boss ’9” Mustang, with the cars essentially hand-built by Ford racing subcontractor Kar Kraft of Brighton, Michigan, with structural modifications including the intricate cutting and relocation of the factory-original front shock towers and a lowered front ride height.
A complete package and far more than the sum of its many specific parts, the Boss 429 Mustang was loaded with Ford’s best specialized high-performance components. Among them were a stout Toploader close-ratio 4-speed transmission, 9-inch Traction-Lok rear end with 3.91:1 gears, engine oil cooler, trunk-mounted battery, competition suspension with front and rear anti-roll bars and staggered rear shocks, power front disc/rear drum brakes, and chrome Magnum 500 wheels with aggressive F60x15 belted raised-white-letter tires. A large cold-air intake scoop atop the long Mustang hood, discreet Boss 429 decals at each front fender, and a decidedly menacing forward-raked stance were the only external clues of the mechanical mayhem ready to be unleashed by the Boss 429.
Ford officially rated the “street” Boss 429 at 375 horsepower, a figure well below both its actual and potential output. Listed from $4,087 new, the Boss 429 Mustang was the priciest non-Shelby Mustang Ford offered at the time. Depending on the source consulted, production reached 858-859 (including two Boss 429 Cougars) for 1969, followed by 499 or 500 more for the model’s last hurrah in 1970. True to plan, the Boss 429 engine was very successful in competition, with Cale Yarborough scoring Ford’s first Boss 429 NASCAR victory at its debut, the March 30, 1969, Atlanta 500 – a race he utterly dominated, leading 308 of 334 laps. Once released in sufficient numbers to meet Ford’s NASCAR agenda, the Boss 429 was successfully campaigned on drag strips in the wildly popular new heads-up Pro Stock class, cementing the Boss 429 legend. Despite its short two-year production cycle and small production numbers, the Boss 429 made a huge impact on motorsports history and generations of Ford and Mustang fanatics worldwide.
This Royal Maroon 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 is among the first 279 cars of the series produced with the special “S-Code” engines featuring heavier-duty NASCAR-spec connecting rods, beefy ½-inch rod bolts, and cross-drilled forged crankshafts. Assigned Kar Kraft serial number 1358, the hairy Boss 429 was delivered new to Burk Ford in Perry, Iowa, for sale. The handsome product of a recent and complete restoration at Muscle Car Restoration in Owasso, Oklahoma, the Boss features such correct specific features as a RUG AE2 coded 4-speed manual transmission and N case 3.91:1 rear end, a correct HP engine block with early-style intake, a correct carburetor and distributor, correct KKX spindles, a rear sway bar, and a trunk-mounted battery. Selling with No Reserve at the upcoming Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas auction June 30-July 2, this freshly restored and visually stunning 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 signifies Dearborn’s reply to Chrysler’s Hemi cars on the track, in the ultimate NASCAR S-Code early specification.
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