1969 Mustang BOSS 429

What was an 8-year-old boy to do when his parents brought home a brand new 1967 Ford Mustang convertible? The answer: become a Mustang aficionado. As the boy, Walter Hortman, grew up he acquired for himself several Mustangs. “I’ve owned a 1965 fastback, a 1972 convertible, a 1970 Mach 1, a 1968 convertible and finally the 1969 BOSS 429,” says Hortman.

The seeds leading to the acquisition of the BOSS 429 were planted back in The George School preparatory school in Newtown, Pa., where young Hortman was a day student. There he befriended a boarding student who also admired Mustangs.

At high speeds the teenagers raced about the back roads of Bucks County before crossing the bridge and heading over to New Jersey. “We would head over to Jersey at night to haunt the discos,” Hortman says.

Upon graduation the boys went their separate ways. Almost a decade ago Hortman’s friend from school bought a very rare 1969 Mustang. Only 858 such BOSS 429 Sportsroof Coupes were manufactured. This particular Mustang was kept in mint condition. Nevertheless, Hortman says his friend went on to do a full frame-off restoration, leaving nothing overlooked.

By September 2009 the restoration was complete and the BOSS owner was ready to move on to other interests. Before advertising the Mustang for sale, he telephoned Hortman to give him the first chance at buying the car.

“I flew out to California and two weeks later the BOSS was a proud resident of Newtown, Pa.,” Hortman says.

When new the 1969 Mustang had a base price of $4,798. Beneath the long hood is a 429-cubic-inch V-8 engine featuring cast-magnesium heads and semi-hemispherical combustion chambers producing 375 horsepower.

Hortman was surprised to learn that when new this Mustang was sold in Browns Mills, N.J., not far his home in Pennsylvania. The build sheet showed the Mustang, painted in Candy Apple Red, came equipped with a functional front air spoiler, high-back bucket seats, four-speed close-ratio manual transmission and a floor console. Also on the BOSS 429 was an AM radio, competition suspension, power steering, power front disc brakes and a traction-lok differential.

The muscular Ford rolled out of the Dearborn, Mich., factory on F60x15-inch wide oval-belted black sidewall tires with raised white letters. The tires supported the car on a 108-inch wheelbase as it was completed on May 13, 1969.

“The BOSS 429 story has close ties to NASCAR racing,” Hortman explains. “In the late 1960s, Chrysler was trashing the NASCAR circuit with their awesome 426-cubic-inch Hemi-powered cars. Ford needed a new weapon in this car war, and decided to build a big block hemi engine of its own.” Hortman elaborates saying the BOSS 429 was designed and built from the bottom up as an all out racing engine.

In January 1969, Kar-Kraft, a specialty firm in Brighton, Mich., started production of the BOSS 429. Hortman says. “Cobra Jet Mustangs were pulled from the Ford Dearborn assembly line, and carted off to Kar-Kraft, where they were disassembled and manually rebuilt, bringing to life the BOSS 429,” Hortman reports. He says a considerable amount of metalwork was required to accommodate the big 429 engine.

The original production run was reportedly to be 500 cars. However, demand at the dealerships was so great that a total of 859 BOSS 429 Mustangs were produced from January through July in 1969.

“There is nothing fancy about it,” Hortman observes. He says his car goes very fast in a straight line, but is less adept at handling curves. The car burns 100-octane fuel at the rate of 5 miles per gallon. — Vern Parker, Motor Matters


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