Brad Bowling
November 1, 2003

Few people can claim they went from driving a bus to driving a Boss in one step, but that's exactly the fortune that befell high school senior Alan Goodman in 1971.

Alan's father, a Blue Oval Ford man for life, felt his son was responsible enough to handle a powerful car like a Boss 351 Mustang, and he knew such cars were quickly being phased out by automakers. Early in the spring of 1971, the elder Goodman ordered a Grabber Blue Boss with the optional Magnum 500 15x7-inch wheels and Goodyear F60s. By April, young Alan was enjoying the rocket-like pull of 330 hp against the 3.91:1 Traction-Lok rear axle around his hometown of Mooresville, North Carolina.

Because he drove the school bus his senior year, the Boss spent its days in the family garage. But on evenings and weekends, the solid-lifter 351 Cleveland got to exercise its connecting rods by putting more than one challenger behind it at a local quarter-mile stretch. Alan recalls his father was particularly proud when the Boss outran a 327 Corvette.

A few blasts down the quarter-mile notwithstanding, the blue Boss was pampered like a prize-winning bull. It stayed under cover most of its life and was washed and maintained like clockwork by its enthusiastic owner. To this day, a slight nick on the bottom of the driver-side door (sustained when Alan opened it against a water spigot) is its only sign of wear.

When Alan's son, Aaron, was born in 1980, the car was retired to the garage for three years until Steve Brotherton, a friend of the family who collected Mustangs, offered twice the original sticker price for it. Knowing money is more beneficial to a young family than a 12-year-old musclecar that's never driven, Alan accepted the offer.

As he watched the 37,000-mile, all-original beauty leave his driveway for what he thought would be the last time, he felt the first pangs of regret. Seller's remorse set in immediately and was worsened by people constantly asking, "Do you still have that blue Mustang?"

In 1999, Steve Price called Alan from the 35th Anniversary Mustang Show at Lowe's Motor Speedway to tell him his Boss was on display and a metal plaque that read "This car made especially for Alan Goodman" was still in the glovebox. The original owner hurried to the track to see the car but wouldn't let himself believe it was his until he located the tiny nick on the driver-side door.

Amazed at the Boss' condition-the odometer registered only 39,000 miles-he tried to convince its owner to sell. But because it had been doing so well on the Mustang Club of America show circuit, where its lost points were for having a replacement windshield and a couple of incorrect underhood bolts, the owner wanted to keep it long enough to compete in the 2000 MCA Grand National. He had bought a package deal of three cars from Steve in order to get the Boss, and wanted to claim a few more trophies before letting it go.

In July 2000, Alan paid "about six times the original sticker price," and the one-time bus driver once again became a Boss driver-a status he intends never to relinquish again.