Hidden treasures pop up in the most unlikely places at the most unlikely times. For example, a reader emailed with news of a Shelby in a storage facility. The rent had not been paid for years. When the proprietor opened the doors, out popped a Shelby in primer, minus fenders and hood. The car sold at an auction for $1.00 because nobody knew what it was.
Another time, nature called and a man sought solitude in the weeds behind a race car shop. He took no reading material with him, but created a good story when he found a V-8 engine visible under the dirt. Attached was the chassis and burned body of an original Ford GT-40.
Readers continually apprise me of "Rare Finds" through my columns in our sister publications, Modified Mustangs & Fords and Muscle Car Review. I get hundreds of leads every year (send your emails to email@example.com). Some pan out. Others are dead ends. All are interesting. I've compiled some of the fun ones for our Mustang readers.
Boss 429 in the Hills
Are there still Boss 429s in "Them Thar Hills"? If so, maybe there's also a great frontier left to hunt wild animals.
Western Kentucky's Tim Taylor snapped the above photo of his '69 Boss 429 after he took delivery from South Carolina. That's where the car had been hidden for years.
"I'm a normal Ford nut," said Tim, who buys, sells, and trades parts. One of his deals was a Boss 429 block that he attempted to sell on eBay. A prospect emailed for particulars. Tim fired back, asking why the man in South Carolina was piecing together a Boss 429 engine. Sometimes being nosy pays off.
Tim recalls the answer: "I know a guy who has a Boss 429 body up in the hills. It's been sitting there for years."
At first, it sounded like a wild goose chase. Could a real Boss 429 have been left in the weeds for years? And could it be bought? Tim took the bait, asking, "Are you interested in making some money on it?"
The response was favorable: "I'm always in for a dollar or two."
Although the KK number was gone because the original door was missing, every Boss 429 can be sourced by its VIN. After he was positive the fastback was indeed a factory Boss 429s, Tim made his deal.
The man in South Carolina agreed to turn the car over to Tim for $6,000. He made his "dollar or two," although we don't know how much. And Tim didn't care. All he knew was that he was elated with the purchase. The floorboards are rusted out and need replacement, the interior is all there, and the original Boss 429 engine is long gone. But Tim already has that Boss 429 block as a starting point for a restoration. Tim's find proves that rare performance Mustangs are still out there in the weeds.
The Shelby That Almost Got Away
Pennsylvania's Ed Shanley got a sinking feeling when his friend, Jack Stroller, stopped by one day. "He asked if I remembered that Shelby convertible from many years ago in Passaic, New Jersey. He had just seen it in somebody's back yard. He said, 'They're torch-welding floors in it.'"
Of course, Ed remembered the GT350 convertible. Many of us know about a rare find tucked away and not for sale. Maybe we tried to buy the car and the owner wouldn't let it go. Then, one day, the car disappeared and we realized that we had missed our chance.
But was there still a chance to buy this Shelby? Jack wouldn't reveal the whereabouts because he was trying to buy the car. "If I get it, I'll tell you," he said to Ed.
Six months later, Jack finally told Ed that the car belonged to George Martinez and Izzy Pellot." Ed paid the two a visit. The conversation went like this:
"Do you have a Mustang?"
"No, but we got a Shelby."
"You want to sell it?"
Ed figured he had a chance when Izzy said, "I don't like the rollbar across the top."
Ed felt the owners "thought nothing of the car." When he finally made a deal and went to pick up the Shelby, he said, "There were chickens living in the car and guys eating lunch on the hood."
The story of how George and Izzy bought the car is even more bizarre. Ed said, "Izzy told me a lady bought a house in Passaic and there was this old car in the garage that she wanted to get rid of. At the time, the car was original, including the paint, even though it looked terrible. It had sat in the garage and the floors rotted out from a leak in the roof. A policeman went to look at it and turned it down at $1,200. He told Izzy about it, so he talked to the lady. She didn't have the title--it took four months to get the paperwork and Izzy bought the car for $2,000." This deal took place five to seven years ago. It's amazing to think a real Shelby convertible, in restorable condition, sold for so little.
Ed sent the car to Garden State Mustang for new floors and to strip the body to metal. The Shelby was originally Raven Black with automatic transmission, factory air, power top, and power disc brakes. Ed plans to keep the '68 until he "decides to sell or restore."