Being the Boss: pristine Ford Mustang icon up for sale
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"What's the best Ford Mustang ever made?"
It's one of those questions that appears on a loop, much like similar queries relating to the best Ferrari, the best hot hatch, and so on. And those questions only grow when you're dissecting a title as big as the one that sits on the boot-lid of America's most popular pony car.
There are many superb Mustangs in Ford's history, of course. Anything that sports the Shelby badge and striping is generally something to drool over, and the movie cars from Bullitt and Gone in 60 Seconds (the original version, obviously) tend to hold a lot of standing. My guilty pleasure is the Mustang Cobra R from the early noughties — I'll thank video games for that.
But if you did have to come up with a definitive number one, the Boss 429 would be close.
Ford made two Boss models at the end of the '60s; the Boss 302 and Boss 429. Like most of the properly potent performance cars of the period, both were 'homologation specials' — cars built to homologate engines and other parts for racing.
The 429 in particular was made to homologate its engine was use in that most American of racing series; NASCAR. This was a time long long before the series became a 'cookie cutter silhouette' class. Everyone ran real engines, with most manufacturers proudly painting the number of cubic inches they had on top of the bonnet in big, bold text.
The Boss 429 Mustang had to be altered in numerous ways to fit its special 7.0-litre Cobra Jet V8 (guess how many cubic inches it developed ... ). This was to the extent that these Mustangs weren't produced completely at the traditional Ford Rouge factory. Instead they were made by Kar Kraft in Michigan, with a reworked front end that featured a wider aperture, and a stronger structure.
Ford claimed these engines produced 280kW of power at 5200rpm and 610Nm of torque at 3400rpm, but these were the blue oval's conservative numbers. All the manufacturers played these games at the time ... underplaying their power figures on one hand, while working harder to make more on the other (some of this also linked to rising insurance costs in the period).
The Boss 429 Cobra Jet unit was said to actually produce between 500–600hp, or in the ballpark of 400kW. For reference, a current day 2018 Mustang GT (a car that most behind the wheel would label 'pretty blimmin' fast') makes 339kW.
Additional performance upgrades include competition suspension, a 3.91 Traction-Lok diff, and a close-ratio 'four on the floor' manual transmission.
The racing legacy of the 429 Cobra Jet, the unique parts, and the fact that it could show its taillights to anything else from the period (naturally including the equivalent Mustang Mach 1) meant that the Boss 429 quickly became a holy grail vehicle. And that's only been magnified as decades passed.
This white 1969 example is up for sale at this week's Mecum Auctions Kansas City event, and it's expected to fetch high numbers at auction.
This isn't just because it's a Boss. It also has exceptionally low mileage, with just 18,000 miles (29,000km) on its odometer. Couple that with pristine bodywork and paintwork, plus an interior that looks just like new, and it's not too much to expect it to attract some healthy bids.
What constitutes a healthy bid on a Boss 429? Evidently, quite a lot.
Mecum don't touch on expected prices themselves, but it should sell for well over six figures. American classic car specialists and insurers Hagerty suggest that a concours quality Boss 429 is worth around US$434,000 ($626,000) at the moment. Although the amount of miles on this Mustang probably disqualifies it from claiming to be some kind of 'mint in packet' concours-condition example.
Instead, expect this white stallion to sell for around US$300,000. Still not a number to be sniffed at, and a deserving value for one of the meatiest, loudest homologation specials to ever come out of America.
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