The options checklist is a new car buyer’s chance to mix and match parts and packages to tailor their car to their personality and performance expectations. On modern cars it’s mostly focused on creature comforts and styling with drivetrain options fairly locked in by the chosen model. For example: You want a new Mustang GT, you get the 5.0, but for the blown 5.4, you step up to the GT500.

That wasn’t always the case. Mixing and matching engine choices used to be one of those seminal decisions when placing your order. In 1970, when Ford launched the massively reworked and aggressively styled Torino, there were five engine displacement options: a 250ci sixer, 302ci and 351ci Windsor, 351ci Cleveland, and the big bad 429ci 385 Series. The 429 even had three options of its own: the 429 Thunder Jet rated at 360hp, the 429 Cobra Jet rated at 370hp, and the ultimate 429 Super Cobra Jet rated at 375 hp. The 429 that didn’t make the cut was the legendary Boss. Or did it?

The long accepted assumption was that any gearhead looking for a street-going Boss 429 engine was buying a SportsRoof Mustang. We always thought that was the case as well. Not even seemingly ideal candidates, the ’69 Torino Talladega, for example, were so bestowed; all of those were fitted with 428 Cobra Jet engines. As it turns out, though, there may have been a loophole.

An early brochure for the new-for-1970 Torino features one line on the very last page: “429 cu. in. Boss 4V (available only on Cobra SportsRoof).” It received no spec list like the other options. Now according to all available data no production Torinos were ever built with the Boss engine, for reasons unknown. But we have to wonder how many guys walked into a dealership, slapped the brochure down, and said “Build me that.” And what was the response?

Tim Gilbert pondered those scenarios as well, as he stood, brochure in hand, looking at his newly acquired ’70 Torino GT. He’d always wanted a factory big-block, four-speed ’70 Torino, with all of the unique styling options that the GT package included. Fittingly in our opinion, and probably maddeningly to Torino purists, the car that finally presented itself as the right platform to build his dream after years of searching was a legit J-code 429 CJ car—one of only 412 GTs equipped with a 429 CJ, shaker hood, and a four-speed.

We say fittingly, because it arrived as a solid roller, sans drivetrain. Tim’s original plan was simply to restore the Torino to near-factory spec and enjoy it. However, that single, overlooked line from the brochure gnawed at him. It wasn’t a Cobra, but it was a 429 car. Perhaps it was time someone built the Boss Torino that should have been—simple, near stock, just with a badass semi-Hemi engine. “And then the madness began,” Tim says, with a laugh.

Since none were built, and the matching-numbers hoopla was thrown out the window, the question then became: What should a Boss 429 Torino look like? The brochure specifically stated Cobra only, but Tim definitely wanted to retain the GT’s hideaway headlights, full-length taillights, and plush interior options. With that in mind, Tim enlisted renowned artist Steve Stanford to help him capture something that felt like a uniquely personalized package Ford might have offered for Boss 429-powered Torinos.

That idea and a stack of photos of cars and options he liked was pretty much all Tim had for Stanford, though: "I told him, 'If I knew what I wanted, I wouldn’t be here!'"