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by Jay Traugott
Still crazy after all these years.
Without question, the Ford Mustang is one of the most iconic cars of the 20th century. While it has generated fans from across the globe, there's no doubt that its home base of support has always been and will continue to be the U.S. To Ford's credit, they managed to keep the Mustang alive ever since it launched in April 1964, but there were a few blemishes along the way. These include the Mustang II and early Fox platform era models (which at first kept the Mustang II's embarrassing engine lineup).
Fortunately there were also some outstanding hits before those dark times. The 1969-70 Mustang Boss 302 was one of them. Due to increasing competition from the Chevrolet Camaro and its small- and big-block V8s, Ford had to fight back. The 302 engine was a high-performance version of Ford's small-block V8 and used the block of the smaller Windsor engine and heads the of larger Cleveland engine. It was also designed and built for homologation in order to compete in the Trans-Am series. Despite having this sort of "hybrid" V8 (not in the green car sense), the Boss 302 was clearly meant from the get-go to be different from the rest of the Mustang lineup.
Now enter legendary designer Larry Shinoda, who at the time was recently recruited to Ford from GM. He wanted to distinguish the Boss 302's exterior from the standard Mustang by making several changes. First off, he ditched the fake rear fender scoops and added a front spoiler and a rear deck wing. Other cosmetic enhancements included that blacked-out hood and rear window shades. The "Boss" name supposedly came about when Shinoda was asked what project he was currently working on. Because the whole thing was still a secret, he simply replied: "The boss's car."
That "boss" was likely then Ford President Bunkie Knudson who had previously worked with Shinoda during their days at GM. Knudson was the one who brought Shinoda to Ford. All told, the Mustang Boss 302 produced 290hp and was mated to a four-speed manual transmission. It came standard with disc brakes up front, heavier spindles, larger sway bars, and reinforced shock towers. For 1970, those trademark "hockey" side stripes were added as well as a new grille that ditched the four headlight design in favor of a simpler dual design. The side vents at each side of the grille remained.
It was timed going from 0 to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds and the quarter mile in 14.6 seconds at 98 mph. All told, only 7,013 1970 models were sold and one is now for sale on eBay. This particular 1970 Mustang Boss 302 has also been given a full restoration. Already in solid shape with just one owner, the restoration was done by Santa Barbra Muscle Cars who stripped it down to the shell. It was also given a fresh coat of Competition Yellow paint. However, instead of that ancient enamel, it now has a two-stage urethane paint that really makes a difference when seeing the car in person. Only 693 Competition Yellow over black Boss 302s were built in 1970
The front grille is all original but the front and rear bumpers needed to be restored. The guys at the shop also went ahead and replaced all missing parts such as the emissions control system, distributor, heat shields, and water tubes with correct NOS Boss items. It also has a set of "Starburst" wheels which are supposedly quite rare. With just 34,139 miles on the odometer, it had starting bid of $125,000 at the time of this writing, with a 'Buy it Now' price of $134,900. Expensive? Yes. Worth every penny? Without a doubt. Photos courtesy of britishmotorexotics.