The fabulous Boskovich collection of fast Fords did not just happen; behind all of these rare and valuable Mustangs is the man who started it all; a man who understood that the company of good friends fulfills good times. He understood hard work and working smart. He did both for most of his life, building a name that may not be familiar to most of us unless you love fresh produce–Boskovich Farms. George Boskovich wouldn’t have anything but the best. That’s the way he built his company, that’s what makes it successful and that’s the way he built his cars. That’s just how Pops Boskovich lived his life.
If you lived in or around Los Angeles in the late 60s and early 70s and were into cars you knew the name George “Pops” Boskovich. For Pops “fresh produce” was a big part of his life but Fords were too. In 1968 he took delivery of a factory-fresh ’69 Boss 429 Mustang right off the truck from Ford’s Kar Kraft shop in Brighton, Michigan.
Just as so many gear heads did in the day, Pops took to the streets of Los Angeles in his new Toy, the Boss Nine. Of course he had to see what the beast was made of. He mashed the gas and pounded the shifter from first to second but it didn’t excite him.
Not happy with a Boss Nine you say? What’s wrong with this guy? Well, Pops wasn’t alone. Straight out of the box a 428 CJ was a better performer. The “Nine’s” lackluster, smogged-out performance didn’t match the hype and massive hemi-head appearance. Big engines should equal big performance. Pops understood there were plenty of NASCAR pieces available for the Boss Nine heads, rods, pistons, induction systems. He even toyed with a few of them. Then he turned to the tried and true “FE” series 427.
Pops Boskovich didn’t intend to go backwards by fitting a 427 wedge into the generous gap created for the Boss 429. He went to the 427 Cammer parts shelf and came up with a mill no one in Van Nuys, California, was ready for. Even the loudest, most egotistical upstart cruising Van Nuys Boulevard in 1969 wasn’t ready for the original Pop’s Toy. So he went to work building the nastiest, yet most gentlemanly, “Cammer” you have ever seen; or heard. It roared, yet it whispered. It spanked bottoms, yet it exhibited exceptional manners. It drew attention, yet it was stealthy in its approach to the street. Pop’s reputation grew on The Boulevard.
In an April 1983 article in Hot Rod, Pops was quoted as saying, “We used to run back and forth between Van Nuys and Canoga Park on Sherman Way. But when they removed the railroad tracks and installed traffic lights on Van Nuys Boulevard in the late ’50s, we all made the switch. During the past 25 years, I’ll bet I’ve made 5,000 passes up and down that street…and I always did it in a Ford.”
Pops passed away in 1994, but his spirit and Pop’s toy live on in his family of Ford gear heads. Late in the evening you might still hear the roar of his spirit coming from a Cammer Boss Nine up and down Van Nuys Boulevard. It won’t be Pops but it will be one of his off spring.
Pops lived his Ford passion probably more fiercely than most of us ever will. He built many fine rides sporting the Blue Oval; a Cobra-ized 289 Hi-Po Ranchero, a 427 Cobra, a Cobra Jet Mustang or two, a couple of Boss 429 Mustangs, and the Cammer Boss Nine his son, George II, and grandson, George III, enjoy today.
This is the Holly Cammer; stroked to 472 cubic inches and sporting dual-quad Holley carburetion and subtle, yet radical bumpsticks. The cool thing about these camshafts is their residence in the hemi-chambered cylinder heads Ford conceived for this mill way back when. Both inspired and shot down by NASCAR, the 427 Cammer was designed for brute speed on the super speedways. When NASCAR said no to Ford back in 1965, Ford found other uses for its supply of 427ci Cammer engines. Many of them did duty on the dragstrip. Still more of them found use with enthusiasts like Pops, who built what is likely the only Boss 429 Cammer.
The Candyapple rocket, you see here is nearly identical to the original Pop’s Toy that left many cruisers with broken egos in Van Nuys long ago. As the story goes, one night in the mid-80s, Pops stopped to make a telephone call while he was out cruising in his Cammer Boss Nine. He left the engine running, figuring he would be on the phone just a few minutes. It took just that long for someone to decide they wanted that Boss more than Pops did. Pops heard the roar, dropped the phone, and returned to an empty parking space. He was devastated. The car, with its extraordinary power plant and reputation, was never seen again.
George II witnessed his father’s grief and sadness and decided to build a replica of the original Pop’s Toy. Duplicating the original was no small task. But this is the Boskovichs we’re talking about. George tracked down another Boss Nine and Cammer and then went to work. The Cammer block was massaged to perfection, fitted with Arias domed pistons, a Bishop-Buehl stroker crank and I-beam rods (imagine, 4.155-inch rods!). The heads were stuffed full of Crane “Nitro” cams sporting a .562-inch lift. There are Holley 660-cfm atomizers; an MSD ignition fires the mixture and underneath, a Melling Cobra Jet oil pump and 8-quart pan keep things slippery inside. The 4 speed was removed for a C6 transmission, which can take all the punishment the Cammer deliver.
On our visit Pops Toy, the second coming, was undergoing a complete restoration. After all if you are going to have a car like Pops used to terrorize Van Nuys with, it has to be driven; and driven hard. That means that once in a while you will need to do another restoration just to keep everything in tip top shape.
Today, Pop’s Toy is the centerpiece of the Boskovichs’ World Class collection of Fords. We only had time to visit a small portion of their collection but it was enough to make us want more. It also humbled us.