Hot Tip: How Drew Alcazar Nabbed His Collection's Crown Jewel


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Story by David S. Wallens • Photos by Tom Suddard

Sharks are always feeding, according to popular lore; it’s why so many swim with their mouths open. Their counterparts in the collector car market likewise keep their ears open, always seeking the next hot tip. Drew Alcazar, the face of the Russo and Steele auction house, picked up the trail of this time-capsule Boss Mustang from a kid at the Pomona swap meet back in the mid-’80s.

Alcazar was there showing off his 1969 Boss 429 Mustang, a model created by Ford to homologate their new NASCAR engine–the one designed to take on Chrysler’s famed Hemi. Kar Kraft handled the conversions, widening the engine bay in order to fit the 429-cubic-inch engine, each one backed by a four-speed manual transmission and a limited-slip differential. To help offset the big-block engine’s heft, the battery was relocated to the trunk. That hood scoop? It was functional.

Production of the Boss 429 Mustang only spanned the 1969 and 1970 model years, with just 1358 examples built. Alcazar describes the one that he was showing as “spectacular.”

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The tipster was parked in the next spot over, selling greasy manifolds that he had unceremoniously laid out on the pavement. “I know of an original Boss that’s nicer than yours,” he commented. As the story went, the car had been sitting in the owner’s garage since it was new. The drive belts still sported the original stickers, the guy added.

This supposed Holy Grail was sitting in Phoenix, just one state over. Interest piqued, Alcazar had to see the car in the flesh, so he dropped $40 for a plane ticket.

There, out behind a nice house, in a detached garage, Alcazar found the promised Boss 429 Mustang. So much dust covered the windows that he couldn’t see the interior.

The owner had been a salesman at a Ford dealership back in the ’60s. He worked in the dealership’s Ford Performance Corner, in fact, meaning that he spent his days with the brand’s most exciting offerings. And the most exciting thing they offered for 1969 was the Boss 429.

Thanks to his connections, the salesman took delivery of this particular 1969 Boss 429 right from the train car that ferried it to his Phoenix dealership. The car was never run through the service department for pre-delivery preparation. The order tag still hung from the hood latch.

The man had a plan for the Mustang, and it wasn’t a sedentary one: He was going to take it drag racing. Despite Ford’s hype, though, the Boss 429 was detuned for street use and as such, simply wasn’t earning its keep. It needed more cam. The intake manifold’s ports were too small. It wasn’t quite the fastest option out there.

Ford had worked to appease Boss 429 owners with tuning advice, much of it involving hardware changes. This Mustang’s original owner had fallen for the original promise, but he figured that he’d take a shortcut to righting things by simply replacing the 429 with the 428-cubic-inch engine found in the Cobra Jet Mustang. It was the torqueier option, better suited for life on the streets and drag strips.

So the 429 engine was pulled, but before the man could install its replacement, tragedy struck: His son passed away.

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And the Mustang sat, incomplete and untouched, for years. Alcazar describes the car as perfectly original. Almost everything was present and pristine. Only three people had ever sat in the car: the owner, his wife, and his best friend.

“Do you still have the battery?” Alcazar asked, as the Boss 429 came with a unique, vented battery suited for its installation in the trunk. Sadly, no, the owner replied. He had set it outside, and during some construction a backhoe ran it over.

Alcazar, wondering about how to go about asking to buy the car, tested the waters. “Ever think of selling it?” he quipped. The owner, not amused, quickly moved to end the visit, forcing the would-be buyer to change subjects. So a nearly frantic Alcazar asked if he knew what the Boss 429 was worth. Turns out that he did, as the owner had been following the prices fetched by Barrett-Jackson–the same auctions where Drew Alcazar had been trading rare Mustangs. Alcazar felt busted.

The Boss owner named a number that he figured the car was worth, and Alcazar called the bluff: “Well, if that’s what you think it’s worth, when can I pick it up?”

The owner’s reply: “I guess when you show up with a trailer and money.”

Alcazar said to give him four days. The deal was sealed with a handshake, no deposit necessary.

Next, of course, Alcazar had to find the funds. A panicked call back home from an airport payphone got things rolling and, as promised, Alcazar returned four days later.

Once home with the Mustang, he reinstalled the original engine and started the cleaning process. Every Sunday for an entire year, he explains, Alcazar would head out to the car with two toothbrushes taped together end-to-end, plus some Simple Green. The goal: clean every nook and cranny.

The Boss is still totally original–which doesn’t mean it’s perfect. The paint, for example, is thin in places. “There’s a lot of orange peel on it,” Alcazar adds. “You can practically surf on the lead lines on the roof because they’re so bumpy. It has all of those different characters that are indicative of a mass produced car.”

Drew and his wife, Josephine, had always said that it would be fun to display a car in their living room, and when they built their current house, they made provisions to do so. The original plan, he adds, also involved periodically swapping out cars. “We’ve never really gotten around to it,” he laughs. “Twelve years later, the Boss seems to have a permanent home.”

And, he notes, to this date only three people have ever driven the car: the original owner, his wife, and his best friend.

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This article is from a past issue of the magazine. Like stories like this? You’ll see every article as soon as it's published, and get access to our full digital archive, by subscribing to Classic Motorsports. Subscribe now.

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