The Mustang Boss 429—Ford’s Ultimate Muscle Car
During the 1960s, American manufacturers recognized that “speed sells.” To meet this need for speed, they created a new type of high performance car using parts using parts that were already in production.
The formula for the American “muscle car” was simple. Take your smallest, lightest car body and cram it full of the biggest production V8 engine that would fit under its hood. “Warm” the engine by adding larger carburetors (or more than one of them), dual exhausts, a four-speed transmission, and a hotter cam shaft. Tighten up the handling by installing all the heavy duty brake and suspension pieces that you could find in the parts bin. Add a bright paint job, tape stripes, decals, wide red-striped tires, “racing wheels”, and hood scoops, and you had car that could thrash a Ferrari in a quarter mile race, scorch its rear tires at will and attract speeding tickets and young male drivers like the honey stand at a wasp convention.
Our exhibit poster car, Ford’s 1969 Boss 429 Mustang is a candy-apple red definition of the American muscle car. The lightweight Mustang platform, (built to accommodate Ford’s small-block V8 engine) carries a massive 429 cubic inch “hemi” V8, a racing engine designed to power Fords NASCAR race cars.
In building this car, Ford stretched the classic muscle car definition by fitting an engine that was two inches too wide to fit in the vehicle’s engine bay! Boss 429 Mustangs were removed from regular production lines transported to a separate assembly facility where the front suspension mounts were cut and relocated to accommodate the engine and exhaust manifolds.
Built to qualify the engine as a production piece for NASCAR racing, the 500 Bosses built became legendary in collecting circles. Ironically, most Boss 429 Mustangs weren’t as fast as their 428 counterparts, which used a warmed over production engine. It was a case of too much of a good thing. In stock form, the front-heavy Boss couldn’t get the engines tremendous power to the ground. But the tire smoke and the roar of a half-tamed racing engine must have been something!
Come and see the beast in our newest exhibit, American Muscle, American Factory Performance Cars, 1964 – 1972.