1970 Boss 302 Trans-Am Racer - The Farewell Boss
The Last Bud Moore Boss 302 Mustang Helps Keep The Trans-Am's Glory Days Brightly Lit
Elsewhere in this issue, we have an interview with Bud Moore, the legendary team owner who was one of the big names in SCCA Trans-Am road racing in the late '60s and early '70s. It's a must-read to be sure, but the car you see here is another treat.
Thanks to Brian Ferrin, the current owner of this Bud Moore-built '70 Boss 302 Trans-Am racer, we have the full scoop on this car, one of several Boss 302s Moore campaigned during the wild days of the Trans-Am series. Brian researched the car, and added more information to its already important racing history.
In addition to the three new cars built by Ford, Kar Kraft Engineering, and Bud Moore for the '70 Trans-Am season, four additional bodies were assembled late in 1970. This was likely done with an eye toward the '71 season, or they might have been spares. Unlike earlier Trans-Am Boss 302s, which were delivered to Bud Moore as basic Mustang SportsRoofs, the unpainted shells were shipped from the factory without production serial numbers as "bodies-in-white."
In November 1970, however, Ford suddenly announced its withdrawal from all forms of motorsports, save for some drag racing and off-road endeavors. That December, Kar Kraft (Ford's in-house racing subsidiary) also closed its doors, and all of the remaining Trans-Am cars, parts, pieces, and fixtures were given to Bud Moore, who decided to carry on as an independent.
This car (chassis number 21971) was the last one built and raced by Bud Moore during the '71 season. Its assembly was completed in June 1971. Replacing chassis number 212775, this car wore No. 15 on its doors and was first raced on August 1, 1971, at St. Jovite near Montreal, Canada. Driven by George Follmer, the car finished in Second Place behind Mark Donahue's winning AMC Javelin.
How the cars were numbered is a bit confusing, but here's the deal: Most associate Follmer with No. 16, as he had raced cars with that number for the previous two seasons. However, Moore preferred to enter his primary driver/car combination using the number 15. When Parnelli Jones left the series after 1970, Follmer was elevated to the number-one role, while Peter Gregg drove car 16.
At the following two races, which took place in the weeks after this car's debut, Follmer also finished second behind Donahue at Watkins Glen and Michigan.
Although Follmer made an impressive showing the three times he raced this car, the lack of Ford's financial support made it difficult for the Bud Moore team to be competitive and they conceded the championship to American Motors. Moore didn't race in the final event of the year at Riverside, California, and Follmer was released from his contract and went on to win that race in a Javelin. Follmer subsequently returned to NASCAR in 1972. At the end of the '71 season, J. Marshall Robbins, who previously raced Trans-Am Camaros, bought this car. Robbins and Jerry Thompson raced it in Trans-Am five times in 1972, with the car carrying No. 24 and a red-and-white paint scheme. It wasn't raced from 1977 to 1993, and was in the hands of six other owners between Robbins and Brian, who acquired it in 2003.
Because this car has the great fortune of being original, Brian paid attention where it was needed, but didn't meddle with anything else.
He told us, "I didn't get many spare parts with the car, but I did get the original logbook. Since the book showed the car hadn't run in 10 years, I decided to freshen it up mechanically. I began with the fuel system; when I took apart the fuel cell, it was varnished on the inside. After wiping away the dirt and grime, the original Bud Moore part number and the address for the manufacturer were visible, as was the cure date of June 1970. The cell had lasted for 33 years."
These days, the school-bus-yellow Boss is ready to go. Brian was doing some shakedown open-track work at Buttonwillow Raceway near Bakersfield when we came across it last year. He told us, "I enjoy getting on the track with other old Trans-Am survivors. I'm also looking forward to 2006 and the historic tour that will celebrate 40 years of the Trans-Am by visiting many of the old racetracks across the country." Check out www.historictransam.com for more details.
As for the car, he says, "It's not the most sparkling example of the few surviving factory Trans-Am Boss 302 Mustangs, but it remains one of the most original." We'll second that.
Mixing Trans-Am State of the Art, 1970 and 2005While the historical aspects of Brian's Trans-Am Boss 302 are surely important, the car's makeup is interesting because it illustrates what a vintage Trans-Am Mustang race car was made of.
Currently, it's powered by a fully race-prepped 302 based on a Ford SVO A4 block. Machined by Rebello Racing in Antioch, California, the block is home to a Sonny Bryant forged-steel crank with a stock 3.00-inch stroke, 5.40-inch Carrillo rods, and forged JE pistons that net a 12.5:1 compression ratio. The solid-lifter flat-tappet cam is a custom-grind by Elgin Cams and is designed to work in concert with the extensively ported but original Boss 302 cast-iron heads, which are home to Del West 2.23-/1.71-inch titanium valves. The engine is topped with the original Bud Moore Mini-Plenum intake and a Holley HP carb that now flows about 830 cfm.
The drivetrain consists of the car's original racing-spec White Stripe Top Loader four-speed, which has unique gears and other internal bits, along with a tall 2.13:1 First-gear ratio. A full floating 9-inch axle with 4.56 gears and upper parallel links puts the power to the ground.
The suspension is the full-race vintage Trans-Am setup with 1,000-pound front springs, Kar Kraft front spindles, Monroe shocks, a 151/416-inch front antisway bar, solid front bushings, and a 16:1-ratio steering box. Out back are Kar Kraft springs, a 71/416-inch antisway bar, a Watts link, and non-staggered Monroe shocks. The brakes are the car's original Kelsey Hayes four-wheel discs, and the Mini Lite 15x8-inch wheels are home to Firestone 6.00x15 race tires up front and 7.00x15s in back.
With the exception of a repaint in 1990, the rest of the car is amazingly original and unrestored, having remained so throughout its life. Much of the sheetmetal is original, including most of the lightweight panels used in its construction. The overall unrestored condition of this rare racing machine will help make it an important historical Trans-Am series reference for generations to come.