This is a 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 that’s in need of a restoration – alternatively, the new owner could simply give it a mechanical refresh and drive it more or less exactly as it us now.
The car is due to roll across the auction block with Mecum in early October. It’s clear that someone has done some remedial work on it, possibly as part of a stalled restoration, and there are a number of primer coated body sections on the left hand side needing paint.
Fast Facts – The 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302
- The Boss 302 version of the Ford Mustang was developed in the late 1960s as an homologation special for the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) Trans-Am racing series. The maximum allowed engine capacity was 5.0 liters or 305 cubic inches, so Ford used a 302 cubic inch V8 which donated its displacement to the model name.
- The name “Boss” is said to have been chosen almost by accident, the top secret project to develop the Boss 302 was led by Larry Shinoda. When people asked him what he was working on he would just say “the boss’s car” in refence to Ford President Semon “Bunkie” Knudson.
- The Boss 302 first appeared in 1969, it would lose to the Camaros in Trans Am competition but later analysis discovered that many of these races had been lost in the pits due to lengthy stops. In 1970 they would triumph, winning the SCCA Trans Am Championship for Ford.
- The 4-speed manual 1970 Boss 302 you see here is needing a restoration, or some fresh paint at the very least, it’s due to roll across the auction block with Mecum in October and it’s being offered with no reserve price.
The Trans Am Wars
Ford developed the Boss 302 to compete with the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 in the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) Trans-Am racing series. The Mustang had been the first “pony car” of course, even lending its emblem to the genre’s name, but other American automakers hadn’t been idle – many of them developed their own Mustang competitors which were quickly gaining in popularity.
The pony car arms race kept Ford busy and the Boss 302 was to be the Blue Oval’s shot across the bow of Chevrolet and their still-new Z/28. Trans Am racing was hugely popular in the USA in the late 1960s, the maximum engine size allowed was 5.0 litres (305 cubic inches) which forced American automakers to leave their “there’s no replacement for displacement” philosophy at the door and delve into making the most powerful 5.0 litre engines they could.
The development of the Boss 302 V8 engine was a determined effort by Ford’s engineers, incorporating features like a thin-wall block, which distinguished it from standard Ford 302s, it also had four-bolt mains, screw-in freeze plugs, and specialized heads derived from the Ford 351 Cleveland V8 to improve flow.
The street-legal Boss 302 V8 had an impressive 290 hp, accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds, completing a quarter-mile in 14.6 seconds, and it could reach a top speed of 137 mph.
Several modifications were made to the vehicle, with design oversight by the renowned Larry Shinoda, who was recruited to Ford by President Semon “Bunkie” Knudson from GM’s Chevrolet Division.
Shinoda not only developed the appearance package of the Boss 302 but also humorously named it “the boss’s car” as that was always his answer when people at Ford asked him about the secretive project he was working on. This nickname eventually became its official title.
Above Video: This vintage film covers the 1970 Trans Am season, it includes ample footage of the cars in action, and ends with Ford winning the Championship.
Both the Boss 302 and the Boss 429 were produced during this period, for Trans Am and NASCAR homologation respectively, and came with a long list of performance improvements intended for the track.
To meet homologation standards, Ford had to manufacture at least 6,500 units. Some of these changes included front disc brakes, larger sway bars, tougher spindles, reinforced shock towers, and a 4-speed manual transmission that could handle the power output from the new Boss 302 V8.
In 1969, the Boss 302 went head to head with the Camaros and narrowly missed winning the Trans Am Championship. It was later discovered that organizational inefficiencies during the pit stops had cost them races – meanwhile the Camaros were managed by the well-organized Roger Penske.
These lessons were learned, and the Boss 302 clinched the 1970 championship with Parnelli Jones at the wheel. Regrettably, the Boss 302 program was discontinued by Ford executives after this victory, and so the model was only produced in 1969 and 1970. In 2012, Ford paid homage to the original 302 by releasing a new line of Boss 302 Mustangs, inspired by their legendary predecessors.
The 1970 Boss 302 Ford Mustang Shown Here
The vehicle you see here is a 1970 Boss 302 Ford Mustang, so it’s from the second and final year of production. The listing is a little thin on information but we’ve included all of it below for reference, what is clear is that the car has been partially redone with brown primer paint showing along the left hand side of the car.
The original color of the car is Medium Lime, and of course it has the Boss 302 decals, the distinctive black chin spoiler, the rear deck spoiler, the rear window slats, and the functional hood scoop. As you would expect you’ll find the Boss 302 engine under the hood with its four-barrel carburetor and dual exhausts, it’s mated to the 4-speed manual transmission.
Inside you’ll find a green upholstered bucket seat interior that matches the exterior along with the Hurst T-handle shifter, it has green carpeting throughout, a green roof lining, a green dashboard, green door cards, and even green sun visors.
If you’d like to read more about this Boss 302 project car you can visit the listing on Mecum here, as noted above it’s due to roll across the auction block in early October with no reserve set.
Images courtesy of Mecum
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