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Is there a Ford in your future? In the case of this stunning Candy Apple Red 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 selling with no reserve during the 2019 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction, there’s an amazing twist of fate in its ownership history.
Back in late 1969, teenager Rich West was working as a delivery driver for a Delaware-based Esso gas and service station. During a routine parts pickup trip to a nearby Ford dealership by the name of Future Ford (a play on Ford’s longstanding “There’s a Ford in Your Future” marketing theme), the young baby boomer was stunned by the sight of a factory-fresh Candy Apple Red Boss 429 sitting on the showroom floor.
At the time, West was earning good money thanks to a strong work ethic and plenty of overtime pay. Though the new Boss’ huge hood scoop, shiny 15-inch Magnum 500 wheels and wide stance attracted his eye, sparks flew when the hood was lifted to reveal the massive Boss 429 engine. One of only 857 built (plus two Mercury Cougars and another 499 Mustangs for 1970) to homologate Ford’s new Boss 429 engine for NASCAR and NHRA race duty, the Boss 429 was different from other big-inch Detroit muscle car V8s — very different.
While the engines powering muscle-bound pony cars based on the Camaro, Firebird, Barracuda, Challenger, Javelin, Cougar and lesser Mustangs were big on the inside, externally they didn’t grow much after being bored and stroked for the extra displacement.
But not the Boss 429! Thanks to its “twisted HEMI” combustion chambers, laterally opposed valves and direct-shot ports, its cylinder heads are wide. Making matters more critical, despite initial plans to celebrate and incorporate the huge new engine aboard special-edition Ford Galaxies, the surprise arrival of “Bunkie” Knudsen as Ford president changed everything.
Young West was so taken in by the car, he put his money where his heart was and bought a brand-new 1969 Boss. But there’s a twist.
Thanks to the Boss 429’s $4,000-plus window sticker and the insurance surcharge penalty paid by young drivers for big-block engines at the time, West had to step back a bit. Instead of the red 429, he opted for an aqua blue Boss 302, the Boss 429’s SCCA-inspired brother. Its $676.15 option price was a better fit to West’s wallet and its 302cid didn’t attract insurance scrutiny — despite the 780 cfm Holley, solid lifters, canted valves, wide-ratio Toploader 4-speed, 3.50 axle ratio, staggered rear shocks and other Boss 302-specific features that flew in under the radar.
West enjoyed the “small” Boss and was a devout Ford man. In the early ʼ90s he met the original owner of a Boss 429, and West persuaded the man to give him first right of refusal if he ever decided to sell. The call came in 1996: the owner was ready to sell. After some coaxing from his wife, West bought the car, wondering if it could be the same Boss 429 he drooled over in 1969. It was painted a different color, had been drag-raced in the early part of its life and then stored.
But the original parts were all there, included the matching-numbers engine and Toploader transmission. Moreover, all of the critical paperwork was present, including the original Kar Kraft door label showing KK 1807, KK invoice identifying it as Boss 429 No. 605 (out of the 857-unit run in 1969), build sheets, warranty card, Marti Report and — the smoking gun — a dealer invoice from Future Ford. A little more sleuthing proved it was the exact same car, originally Candy Apple Red, that West inspected 27 years earlier.
Like most muscle car enthusiasts who grew up in the ʼ60s, West appreciated and understood the Mustang’s historical significance. By the late ʼ90s, West decided to restore the car to concours condition using NOS parts. He then hit the show circuit, where the Boss garnered numerous MCA National awards, a Grand National Gold award and a Boss Nationals Gold award, while adding only 9 miles to its odometer. Later he lent the car to museums for exhibit, including the AACA Cruise Through Time display at Hershey.
The car’s current owner and consignor purchased the car in 2015 from a record producer, who had acquired it from West. The consignor, who is now in his late 50s and has restored more than 10 vintage Mustangs over the past 25 years, says, “I wish I was old enough to experience the shocking wall-to-wall engine overdose of the Boss 429 Mustang when it was new. But you know what? I still get it today when I pop the hood of a new 2015 or newer Mustang GT. The new 5.0-liter Coyote engine is a great-looking power plant.”
Despite the Boss 429 Mustang’s carefully preserved condition and believed-accurate odometer reading of just over 4,500 miles, the consignor pulled the engine and had it resealed. He also called the previous owner, West, who sent him the original tags and battery, as well as a number of photos. A little detective work turned up the car’s missing original dipstick and solenoid, bringing it back to showroom condition. “This was my second Boss 429,” he says. “They’re like artwork to me.”
Originally sold new by Future Ford, we have to ask, is there a Ford in your future? There could be if you’re the lucky high bidder on this ultra-clean piece of Ford muscle car history.