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Boss Mustang - Horse Of A Different Color
If You've Never Seen A Boss 302 Bathed In Pastel Yellow, Don't Be Surprised
Charles Allen has pretty well heard it all. The owner of this impressive feature car tells us his fellow Boss cohorts give him a good-natured ribbing about the "dirty white" hue of his '70 Boss 302, along with some accompanying jokes about "real" musclecar colors. Well, we're about to turn the tables on the naysayers and bring you Chuck's SportsRoof in all its pastel glory-precisely due to the unusual color.
It's clear that while 1970 is generally considered the zenith year for American musclecars, it was also a year in which bright and bold colors were all the rage. Over at Chrysler, you had hues like Plum Crazy, Lemon Twist, and Sassy Grass Green, while AMC hung the "Big Bad" moniker on its most outrageous offerings. At Ford, 1970 was all about the Grabber colors: blue, green, and orange shades that brought a look-at-me attitude to every street corner. Almost lost in the retina-searing craze was that 1970 introduced a wide range of colors to Boss 302 production that hadn't been available during the model's initial run in 1969. Greater selection was just the ticket for buyers looking for something slightly under the radar, and the original owner of this Boss chose one of the most subtle shades imaginable-a pastel yellow that shows as a code 9 on the door tag.
We admit to having a thing for unusual combinations, particularly big power/nontraditional paint pairings. Show us a Gulfstream Aqua '69 Cobra Jet Mach 1 or a Burnt Amber '67 390 GT, and you immediately have our attention. Nothing against the traditional reds and blues of the world-they're terrific too; it's just that we've seen enough to accept them as the norm. Imagine our enthusiasm when stumbling onto Chuck's Boss at the annual Mustang Roundup in Bellevue, Washington, a couple of years ago. The affable Chuck explained how he'd purchased the '70 in its present condition from fellow enthusiast Bob Wolfe in 1997, who'd finished the last detail items of a car that could only be described as "restored by committee."
Chuck tells us his Boss was sidelined between 1978 and 1990 with a predictable piston-skirt failure in the original engine. Finally, a series of owners went to work to get this 52,000-mile machine into its current condition, with Stan Johnson doing the engine rebuild, David Lang freshening the interior with a new carpet and dash bezel, Mike Beckman facilitating the high-quality respray, and Wolfe sweating the final details. It's likely all the former owners recognized this car as an unusual combination, but it wasn't until after Chuck's purchase that Kevin Marti's computer data became available and true numbers were revealed. As it turns out, just four code 9 yellow Boss 302s were assembled in 1970, making it among the rarest of the regular production colors offered.
Remarkable as Chuck's topcoat may be, the rest of his Boss is plenty special as well. The fact is, this was one loaded muscle Mustang just as it rolled off the new car lot at Northeast Ford in Washington D.C. Inside, you'll find a factory eight-track tape player in place of the original AM/FM (by all accounts changed out early in life), but the floor console and woodgrain-trimmed Dcor Group are just as assembled in Metuchen, New Jersey. Outside, the visuals are in sharp contrast to the understated color, as the most innovative styling statements of the era-Shaker scoop, sport slats, and rear spoiler-are all accounted for on the original window sticker.
Chuck's car was also ordered with what is likely the ultimate performance option for the Boss 302: 4.30 gears with a Detroit Locker differential. Ironically, such a choice automatically bought the buyer an engine oil cooler, but just as with Chuck's Boss, such a ring-and-pinion didn't mandate a factory tach, instead, there's only on the 6,150-rpm rev limiter under the hood. Weird. Regardless, the digger rear ratio and hard-core diff could do wonders for a small-block Boss 302's straight-line performance, putting the high-winding mill in its sweet spot in nothing flat. Teamed with a close-ratio Top Loader and suspension that was as good as it got in the era, Chuck's Boss would be a potent competitor for most of Detroit's premier nameplates even if it were painted pink. Thankfully, this isn't a machine inspired by Mary Kay, so we can say with a straight face how much we love the combination: unusual, fast, loaded, and dripping with eye-candy. Who could ask for anything more?
Colors Of The Rainbow
As we alluded to, Boss 302 colors were extremely limited in 1969, when just four were offered. Such was not the case for 1970, with 16 of the 21 regular Mustang colors being readily available, along with many others by special order. Our curiosity sparked by Chuck Allen's rare pastel yellow, we decided to evaluate these cars on the basis of the most and least popular colors. Both Kevin Marti (www.martiauto.com) and The Boss 302 Registry (www.boss302.com) were a great help in our quest for numbers, and we're grateful for their assistance. The statistics quoted are copyright Ford Motor Company and Marti Auto Works, and used with permission.
Hands down, the most popular '70 Boss 302 topcoat was Bright Yellow (1,454), followed some distance behind by a close-knit group that included Calypso Coral (866), Grabber Blue (861), and Grabber Orange (832). The rarest production color shows as Bright Blue Metallic (1), followed by Yellow (4), and Dark Aqua Metallic (9). Of course, special paint orders likely yielded a number of "one of ones," but Ford's production data grouped special-order paints all together, of which there were 64 among the '70 Bosses.