Rob Kinnan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
January 14, 2015
Photos By: Jim Smart

One of the Ten Commandments says “Thou shall not covet,” but that’s a tough rule to obey when it comes to classic Mustangs, especially one as cool as an all-original, unmolested ’70 Boss 302. That’s the way it was for Mike and Joyce Epperson of Salt Lake City, Utah. The couple had known all about the Boss you see on these pages for well over a decade, ever since fellow Mustang Club of America member Gary Stewart bought it in 1989, and realized what an unspoiled gem the car was.

Why would you spoil one of Ford’s best moments in car design and execution by heavily messing with it? The Cleveland-headed Windsor engine was a high-winding delight on the street if you weren’t afraid to move the tach needle into the upper ranges, Matt Donner’s suspension setup made it drive and handle far better than the base Mustang, and the Shinoda-designed body accents—chin spoiler, rear window slats, rear wing, and stripe—were, as the name says, Boss.

The entire reason behind the Boss 302 was to give chase to the Camaros that had dominated SCCA Trans Am racing. The cubic-inch limit for the class was 302, so Ford used its 8.2-deck Windsor block but topped it with mildly modified 351 Cleveland heads, which were much better suited to building the high-rpm power needed for road racing. SCCA rules dictated that the race car specifications must be sold on the street, hence the Boss 302s for 1969 and 1970.

As Mike said, “Gary Stewart took very good care of the car during the time he owned it. He kept meticulous records of everything done to the car and the original records from when the car was bought, including the invoice, build sheet, repair records, and everything else.” When Gary decided to offer up the Boss to a new home in 2006, Mike and Joyce couldn’t pass up the opportunity to purchase such an original, well-kept Boss 302, so they sealed the deal.

The car’s street life started when its first owners bought it off the showroom floor at Bear Lake Ford in Montpelier, Idaho. They kept it until 1988 when the Boss was sold to a father and son team for a mere $2,500 (don’t you wish you had a time machine?), but apparently a Boss 302 was too much car for junior so it went up for sale and that’s when Gary Stewart bought it.

The late-’60s cars were the first guinea pigs for the oncoming emissions controls mandated by the government, and muscle cars were not spared from the indignity of smog pumps and other nanny controls. It’s no surprise then that these parts were often quickly removed and thrown in the trash, and that was the case with a few items on the Eppersons’ Boss 302, including the aforementioned smog pump, the rev limiter, and a few other small pieces. When Stewart got the car, he meticulously replaced all of these parts with help from Bob Perkins. The 302 had also suffered from an engine block failure somewhere around 1974, so a Ford service (replacement) block was used, but retains the stock rotating assembly of crank, rods, and pistons, and the top end parts from the cylinder heads on up were also retained. The close-ratio four-speed and 3.91-geared Traction-Lok rearend are also the original parts.

The interior is as delivered from Ford and is all original, right down to the Hurst shifter for the four-speed, the only trans you could get in a Boss.

Visually, it is also as it left the assembly line with only a few minor touchups to the Calypso Coral paint and a mint black interior with Rim-Blow wheel and AM/FM radio. The tires are even reproduction bias-plies, not modern radials. On a car that is driven a lot, particularly on the highway, radials are a good upgrade since they improve the ride and handling a great deal, but in such original condition as this car is, it would be shame to make such a visual change. Mike claims that it handles and rides great with the old Polyglass GTs, so they remain on the car as God and Henry intended it.

Knowing this car’s past with the father and son team, it’s amazing that fate stepped in and kept it from being hacked up into a hot rod by the kid. The Eppersons have put about 1,200 miles or so on their Boss in their eight years of ownership, making sure it stays factory fresh and preserved for future generations to get a firsthand understanding of the Mustang’s brilliant history.

Mike and Joyce Epperson’s ’69 Boss 302 has the original rear window slats (which kept the rear seat a reasonable temperature, even in direct sunlight), front and rear spoilers, and Magnum 500 wheels.