Aimed at the International Sedan Racing
Class -- and the performance-orientated driver -- the new Boss was
more than just an appearance package. Standard features for the Boss
302 read like a performance junkie's wish list: four-speed
transmission with high capacity clutch, F-60 x 15 tires on 7" rims,
power front disc brakes, dual-exhaust, "competition" suspension with
a "Daytona" 3.50:1 rear axle, quick ratio steering, a fully
functional front spoiler, as well as a whole shopping cart of other
features. Created to compete directly with the Camaro Z-28s of the
day, it was a close match in nearly every way, from displacement to
horsepower to price.
The Big Boss
As if all that wasn't enough, Ford had one more trick up its sleeve.
In mid-January 1969, arguably the most powerful pony car ever was
unleashed with the mighty Boss 429. Like the Mach-1 and Boss 302,
the Sportsroof hardtop was the base for this performance model.
Stuffed under the hood was the race-car bred Boss 429 V8. Created in
part so that Ford could put into competition this unique engine,
production was very limited and Ford easily sold the needed 500
units. So special were these Mustangs that they were pulled off the
assembly line and sent to an outside contractor, Kar Kraft in
Dearborn, who completed the hardware modifications that went into
each of these cars, including structural bracing and a lowered and
The centerpiece of the package was the engine: the Boss 429 V8. It
featured aluminum "semi-hemi" heads, a driver controlled ram-air
intake, and was officially rated for 375 horses at 5200 rpm, providing
450 foot-pounds of torque at 3400 rpm. These were the "advertised"
ratings of this engine, somewhat conservative so as not to drive
insurance rates to the level of the Apollo astronauts on the way to
the moon at the time. Real horsepower ratings are a bit elusive as
over time legend, lore and fact have tended to blend together and have
resulted in some rather fanciful estimates. It's a safe bet, however,
that the number was over 400hp. Helping make this engine all the more
special was a large 8-quart oil capacity with oil cooler, five main
bearings supporting the statically and dynamically balanced
crankshaft, solid lifters and a 735 cfm Holley four-barrel carburetor.
A number of mandatory extra cost options were also part of the Boss
429 package, including the close-ratio four-speed transmission,
heavy-duty suspension, sway bars and staggered Gabriel rear shock
absorbers, trunk mounted battery, plus the nine-inch 31-spline 3.91:1
Traction-Lok rear axle. Front duo-servo self adjusting disk brakes
with extra-duty rear drums were including while a quick ratio "Fluidic
Control" power steering system that coasted to keep the feel of the
road (well, that was the intent anyway!) at the driver's hand. Mounted
on Magnum 500 chrome plated steel wheels were wide-oval fiberglass
belted F60 x 15 raised white-letter tires that were supplied to Ford
Despite the success with its racing programs and new restyling
program, Mustang production fell by 3.4% compared to the 1968 model
year figures, to 299,824 units. Prices ranged from $2,690 for a base
coupe to well over the $5,000 mark for the Boss 429 Sportsroof
For 1970, a number of subtle appearance changes and updates were
incorporated. Starting at the front of the car, a return to a single
headlight arrangement was accomplished with simulated front fender air
intakes mounted to the outside of the grille position. Rear end
styling was also revised, with now recessed taillights mounted in a
flush rear panel. The interior received only minor tweaking.
Returning were the same three basic body styles and model
configurations. Changes to the Mach 1 included a new stripe and decal
design, wide dark accented aluminum rocker panel molding with the
series name added, and die-cast lettering to the rear of the car. Also
available was a rear deck-lid wing and the new "Cleveland" 351 V8.
The new Cleveland replaced the four-barrel version of the Windsor V8,
which was a direct descendant of the 302 small block family. The
Cleveland still used thin-wall casting, but carried a larger molded in
timing chain cover up front, used revised heads, and four bolt main
bearing caps. Among the many other features of this new V8 was
improved engine cooling, heads with canted valves, and positive stop
rocker arms used to eliminate "valve float". Rated at 300 horses at
5,400 rpm, this robust engine would prove to be one of the most
popular performance options in Fords for the next quarter century.
The Boss 302 package returned equipped virtually identically to the
1969 version, with the exception of the basic Mustang changes.
Available in eleven different colors, including three bright "Grabber"
hues of orange, blue and green, the Boss 302 looked like a million
bucks. One popular option for the Boss 302, as well as other
Sportsroof models, was the Sports Slats rear window louvers. This
feature provided better air-flow over the car, and offered a bit of
shade to the passenger compartment without hindering the rear-view for
Also returning, again in very limited numbers, was the Boss 429. As
with the previous season, these were special cars that weren't for the
faint of heart. Colors were somewhat limited and exterior marking was
kept to the bare minimum with the performance package noted on the
front fenders with either black or white decals, dependent upon the
base color of the car.
Building on the competition successes of the Mustang, a factory "Drag
Pack" was offered all Mustangs which included either the Boss 429's
3.91:1 rear axle or a Detroit "Locker" 4.30 unit, heavy-duty
suspension packages, and the availability of either four-speed or
Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmissions. Needless to say, this wasn't
exactly a "street legal" package and was available only to qualified
race teams, sponsors and drivers. But wouldn't you know it, many ended
up in the hands of wanna-be street racers. Imagine that.
Prices rose for 1970, with base models starting at $2,721, and again
topping the $5,000 mark for the ground-shaking Boss 429 edition.
Towards the end of the model year, Ford withdrew from further factory
sponsored racing efforts with the Mustang, but only after it had
captured the Trans-Am title for 1970, beating out such competitors as
Camaro, Firebird, AMX, Charger and 'Cuda.
Sales plummeted this season, dipping to just 190,727 units, a 36% drop
from the previous year. All new styling was around the corner for
Mustang, but it was clear that its glory days were over. The usual
story of emission controls, skyrocketing insurance premiums apply, but
often overlooked was a deepening pessimism of the country's mood and
the increasing popularity of small, economical Japanese imports among
the youth of the day.
In today's market, the 1969 and 1970 Mustangs are strong players.
While in base or even Grande form the coupes are generally over
looked, they make pleasant driver editions of the sporty Mustang. Just
14,746 convertibles were produced for 1969, and that number was almost
sliced in half to 7,673 for 1970. Both numbers are amazingly low
considering the numbers of first and second generation Mustang
convertibles on the road.
Authentic Mach 1 fastbacks were produced in good numbers, with 72,458
coming off the line in 1969 and 40,970 for the 1970 model year.
Identified on the body data plate as style 63C, the 1970 version finds
slightly more interest due to the stronger badging of the model and
the availability of the 351 Cleveland V8.
Moving to the Boss 302, the 1969 version is relatively rare, with one
source placing production at 1,628, while other quotes the number to
be 1,934. Identified in the VIN by the letter "G" that represents the
exclusive engine installation, they were considered to be a trim
package on the base fastback and carry body codes 63A. For 1970, this
number was reportedly raised to either 7,013 or 6,318 units, depending
on what source you use. With the special engines used on the Boss 302,
the car's unit identification number was stamped onto the back of the
block in a bossed surface.
The rarest of the breed, the Boss 429, is also easy to identify.
Carrying body code 63B for the Deluxe version of the fastback, these
cars all have the letter "Z" as the fifth character in the VIN to
identify the special 429 under the hood. When Kar Kraft received these
cars from Ford, they also assigned each one an internal identification
number that was attached via a silver adhesive stripe to the rear face
of the driver's door adjacent to the Ford identification tag. Using
the letters "KK", the series started at 1201 and ended at
2059 in 1970 which would indicate that only 859 Boss 429s were
produced over the two year run. Some sources put that number at 867.
As with the Boss 302 engines, the original Boss 429 blocks were also
stamped with the full VIN.
Prices for the basic Mustang coupe, convertible or fastback are in the
affordable range, with the Grande commanding just a slight premium.
The installation of higher performance V8s, appearance, comfort and
convenience options can make a huge difference in value. While the
Mach 1 fastbacks were produced in strong numbers, actually out
numbering the base units, they command a large premium over similarly
equipped base models.
Original "Boss 302" fastbacks from either year have consistently grown
in value, and today prime restored examples routinely surpass the
$25,000 mark and are still rising. Here again, the degree of
authenticity on these cars is a major factor with replacement engines
or data plate affecting the real value of the car. Despite the
plethora of "all original" examples found for sale, truly original
cars are very rare, as many of these led hard lives were mechanical
meltdowns and blown engines were quite common. Current Boss 302
Boss 429 buyers tend to be a very well educated lot, and they know
these cars inside and out. Given the expense of purchasing one, if you
are seriously interested in one of these special vehicles and don't
know everything about them, it would be well worth the time and effort
to get together with an expert who does. Current Boss 429 Prices:
In recent years we have seen these third generation Mustangs come on
very, very strong in the marketplace. CCTM believes that
properly optioned, these two model years are already becoming the most
desirable of all Mustang production, so get yours today!
P. Skinner and the editors at Collector Car Market Review
This profile first appeared in the May 2003 issue of Collector Car
& Truck Market Guide. (c) Copyright 2003 VMR International, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Updated, Current Values: