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.

One of the biggest challenges that RPM faced was fitting the massive Jon Kaase-built Boss Hemi engine in the car. To maintain the look and design of a Mustang, they wanted to leave the shock towers in place, but the engine was 3 inches wider than the shock towers. RPM cut out the reproduction towers and fabricated new ones further out to make room. In fact, the sheetmetal underhood was custom made for a clean look, right down to the air filter housing. For strut supports, RPM started with a set of Ringbrothers pieces and modified them to fit the heavily modified engine bay dimensions. They also milled the motor plates from 1/2-inch billet aluminum. One of the few things they didn't fabricate was the Billet Specialties front drive system for the engine. RPM moved the firewall back nearly 4 inches to set the engine back in the chassis for better weight distribution. This is the type of custom work that you rarely see on a giveaway car. This shift in weight along with hundreds of other changes resulted in weight distribution of 1,000 pounds on each wheel. It doesn't get any better than that!

The engine itself is also a masterpiece. The original plan called for a Boss Hemi, but just a little bit better than a passenger car Boss Hemi would have been. Sounds great, but then they called on Kaase Racing Engines for the motor, and Kaase doesn't do anything a little bit better than anything. He figured the best motor for this thing would be a 520 that produces lots of low-end torque and doesn't require a lot of rpm to make a ton of horsepower. Kaase reminded us of what unique pieces of machinery the original Boss Hemi 429s were. They required a lot of specialty tools, parts, and knowledge to build. But they are also one of the most drool-worthy Ford motors ever engineered. Kaase created the Boss '9 heads and intake, and rearranged how the parts are made so you can use a production 460 block and build it yourself in your garage with normal tools. Kaase selected a COMP Cams hydraulic roller camshaft for this specific engine for a virtually maintenance-free 771 hp and 501 lb-ft of torque. The rest of the drivetrain consists of a Tremec Magnum six-speed, Centerforce clutch, and a Currie 9-inch housing stuffed with 3.89 gears and 35-spline axles.

Ukasik and his team like to make sure that the cars they build perform as well as they look, so the construction of the chassis was extremely important. They started with Ridetech's ShockWave system and modified it to fit the one-off chassis. This combination allows a completely adjustable suspension for ride height and handling. With the Intro 18-inch wheels and BFGoodrich KDW2 tires, this car has an ultra-cool stance and head-turning cornering ability.

The interior was a blank slate. The Dynacorn bodies don't come with a dashboard, and there were no seats, door panels, or anything else. RPM formed a dashboard from sheetmetal that remained true to the style of a classic muscle car, but housed Classic Instruments gauges stenciled with "Goodguys Boss Snake," and a Clarion navigation system. Vintage Air climate control will keep the new owner of this car cool while jamming out to the Clarion/Kicker audio system and rowing gears on the Tremec. RPM also fabricated a center console and covered everything in black leather supplied by Finish Line Interior. The Mustang also features Ridetech's new Tiger Cage and safety harnesses.

The car was due for unveiling at the Scottsdale, Arizona, Goodguys event at 9 a.m. on March 12. While the whole build was a thrash, the last couple of weeks ratcheted the pace up just a tad past insane. It was just two weeks before the planned debut of the Boss Snake and RPM still didn't have the front clip. The crew worked for the last 48 hours straight on the car to get it finished, and then hauled it from Warrendale, Pennsylvania, to Scottsdale, where we saw it for the first time. They unloaded the car at 8 a.m., so Ukasik says they had time to spare. On November 21, some lucky Goodguys member will draw the lucky key out of the hat at the Southwest Nationals in Scottsdale, Arizona. That key will be the only one that starts the Kaase-built 520. At this point, we don't know who that lucky guy is, but we know he will have a silly grin plastered all over his face!

History of Goodguys' Giveaway Cars Goodguys is known for first-class car events, and they are also known for their giveaways. Starting with a Dick Magoo-built Model A roadster in 1987, and continuing through this year's spectacular Boss Snake, Goodguys has given away over 60 cars in the last 23 years. And these aren't Chevy Luminas that they are handing out; they are street rods and muscle cars built by people like Boyd Coddington, Barry Lobeck, Magoo, Roy Brizio, and other top names. Starting in 2006, Goodguys transitioned into muscle car giveaways, which included a '69 Camaro and a '70 Challenger designed by Chip Foose. Two other very noteworthy Goodguys giveaways include two mighty muscle machines from the Precision Coachworks/Ridetech stable-a '70 Chevelle in 2008, and last year's "Super Nova." Goodguys has also had a close relationship with Dodge, Plymouth, and Chrysler over the years and were the first to offer the Plymouth Prowler as a giveaway car in 1997, several tricked-out Dodge trucks, and later on, Dodge Magnums and a Charger SRT8. Everyone involved with the Boss Snake agrees that this year's car raises the giveaway car to a new level.

By The Numbers

'70 FORD BOSS SNAKE MUSTANG
Goodguys Rod & Custom Association
ENGINE
Type: Ford 520
Block: factory block; D9 casting from a '79 truck
Oiling: Kaase oil pump, Moroso oil pan
Rotating assembly: Scat 4.300-inch forged steel
crank and Scat H-beam 6.700-inch rods;
Diamond Pistons (10.5:1 final compression ratio)
Cylinder heads: Kaase aluminum Boss '9
with 2.30-/1.90-inch valves
Camshaft: COMP Cams 246/252
at .050 hydraulic roller,
.600-/.600-inch lift
Valvetrain: COMP Cams lifters,
Kaase 1.75:1 rockers
Induction: Kaase single-plane intake manifold
and 850-cfm carb
Ignition: MSD billet distributor,
plug wires, and coil
Fuel system: Rick's stainless steel tank,
Holley electric pump, filter,
and line (motor kit)
Exhaust: Custom-built headers by Josh Hart
at RPM with stainless steel
from Stainless Works,
dual 3-inch Flowmaster 304
stainless steel mufflers
Cooling: PRC aluminum radiator,
SPAL dual electric fans
Output: 771 hp and 701 lb-ft of torque
DRIVETRAIN
Transmission: Tremec T-56 Magnum
six-speed trans,
Centerforce clutch,
Hurst shifter
Rear axle: Currie 9-inch rearend
with 3.89:1 gears,
35-spline axles,
narrowed 2 inches
Built by: Currie Enterprises
CHASSIS
Front suspension: shock towers modified
by RPM to fit the engine,
Chris Alston spindles,
Ridetech shocks,
and Ringbrothers struts
Rear suspension: Ridetech coilovers
Brakes: Baer 14-inch discs
with six-piston calipers, front;
Baer 14-inch discs
with six-piston calipers, rear
WHEELS & TIRES
Wheels: Intro 18x8, front; 18x11, rear
Tires: BFGoodrich KDW2
245/40R18, front;
335/30R18, rear

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