Ford Built a Mid-Engine Boss 429 Prototype

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With no outward hint of the beast within, this Mach 1-badged mid-engine terror was the ultimate sleeper.

It seems like the talk of a mid-engine Corvette is a topic that car enthusiasts never tire of. Due to a few high-profile concept cars, spied test mules, and even certain statements from Chevrolet, speculation has been fueled for years.

Less well-known, however, is the mid-engine Mustang. Built in 1970, it was the product of Kar Kraft, a Detroit engineering facility owned by Ford. Responsible for the Boss 429 Mustang — built for NASCAR homologation — Kar Kraft created some of Ford’s hottest muscle-car era machinery.

Anyone who has researched the Boss 429 Mustangs knows that fitting the hemi-headed 429-cubic-inch monster between the shock towers was an impressive feat of engineering. Naturally, a few corners had to be cut. A routine spark plug change reportedly required removal of the engine. But given the circumstances, they did the best they could.

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At some point, aware of these packaging concerns, the idea of mounting the big V8 in the middle of the chassis was proposed. First, Kar Kraft built a new rear subframe. It allowed them to mount the engine and a C6 automatic backwards, in the rear of the chassis.

A Ford 9″ center section was joined to custom halfshafts, making for a fully independent rear suspension with Koni coilover shocks. The entire assembly would drop in and out easily, which would have made production a bit simpler.

The rear glass was replaced by hinged louvers, granting easy engine access. While traction and weight distribution improved, engineers determined the cost of bringing this model to production outweighed the potential benefits. The project was scrapped after just one prototype was produced.

Trimmed out as a Mach 1, one wonders how many opponents this car surprised on Woodward Avenue back in the day. Nobody knows the current location of the car, which might have been crushed. All we have left is the story and these photos.

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Cam Vanderhorst is a contributor to Harley-Davidson Forums, Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Corvette Forum, and MB World. He is also a co-host of the Cammed & Tubbed podcast.

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