Someone forgot to tell RPM that giveaway cars aren't supposed to be one-off custom showpieces. Sure, you can build a nice looking car, but don't sink thousands of hours into it. Don't make it a trendsetter. Don't do radical custom work. It's just not worth it. After all, it's just going to be a free car to give to someone. The future winner of this Goodguys 2010 giveaway contest car is likely reading this right now, and is very happy that's just the way the team at RPM rolls.
For 23 years, Goodguys has been gracing loyal participants in its event series with giveaways-everything from starter kits to complete cars. While there have been some superstar cars in the past, this 1970 Ford Mustang, dubbed the "Boss Snake," sets the bar even higher. The project came to RPM last September. Curt Ukasik, owner of RPM, was on his way to the Pocono Goodguys event when his phone rang. Ed Capen from Goodguys said he needed a hand with the 2010 giveaway car. It was behind schedule and needed to be done in a hurry. When the conversation ended, Ukasik didn't even know what kind of car it was! At the event, he and Capen talked through the details and Ukasik committed to building it.
The Boss Snake was conceived by the gang at Goodguys as a modern version of a prototype that was built by Kar Kraft in Brighton, Michigan, in 1969. The original car was called the Quarter Horse Mustang, and it was envisioned as a possible replacement for both the Boss 429 and Shelby Mustangs. Two of these prototypes were created and built from actual Boss 429 Mustangs. They were nicknamed the Composite Mustangs, because they were created from a handful of existing parts and cars. The body was a standard '70 Boss 429, the front clip was a Shelby Mustang missing the hoodscoops, and the dash was from a Cougar. The first Quarter Horse, KK 2061, was painted Grabber Blue and was initially fitted with a Boss 429 engine. It was soon replaced with a 429 Super Cobra Jet engine and sent to Hollywood to star with Burt Reynolds in a short-lived TV series called Dan August. The second Quarter Horse was Candy Apple Red and was also fitted with a 429 Super Cobra Jet engine. Amazingly, both Quarter Horses have survived and are in the hands of collectors. Goodguys looked to these Quarter Horse cars for inspiration to create the Boss Snake, but opted for a modern version of the historic drivetrain, an up-to-date chassis, and other details. Kaucher Kustoms was then commissioned to pen a visionary design for the Boss Snake, drawing on the history of the Quarter Horse, and the project was off and running.
Back at the shop, the RPM crew was excited at the opportunity to build the Mustang, but there were 10 customer cars in the shop already, and this was going to mean a lot of extra work. There was going to have to be a lot of juggling of projects and long days if this Mustang was going to get finished by the debut date of March 12 at the Scottsdale Goodguys show.
The first step was rounding up all of the parts. The Dynacorn body was the starting point, which provides solid clean metal to build upon, but it's just a body shell. And the overall vision for this car would require lots and lots of fabrication and custom fitting. Ukasik said they eventually bought a '69 Mustang as a parts car to make obtaining some of the larger parts a bit easier, and to get all of the little parts that end up taking so much time to track down one at a time. They hand-fabricated vents in the quarter-panels and created custom bumpers. It's all done so well that only the hard-core Mustang enthusiast would notice that they weren't shipped that way from FoMoCo. They also swelled the quarter-panels and fabricated rear wheel tubs to fit the desired wheel and tire package. Once Josh Hart, Justin Wilson, and EJ Talik at RPM had finished all of the sheetmetal work, the body went to Volker Auto Body in Youngwood, Pennsylvania, to be shot with PPG Goodguys' Yella hue.