Jim Smart
August 13, 2006

When building the Boss, Michelle did her homework. She didn't want the usual disadvantages of a Boss 302; poor low-end torque, hit-and-miss reliability, temperamental performance, noise, high fuel consumption, and a stiff ride. She wanted to build a high-functioning Boss 302 she could drive anywhere, opting for features like a Momo steering wheel, custom carpeting, and Dayton 235/60/15 tires on Minilite wheels. She lowered the body with lowering blocks and trimmed big-block coil springs. While she was at it, she removed the antenna and added a radio delete.

Another unusual touch is the Tremec T5 transmission behind the Boss 302 engine. Michelle tells us the five-speed has made a big difference in fuel economy, something most Boss buffs don't worry about. In gears One through Four, it's a rocketship thanks to 3.89:1 gears in a 9-inch Traction-Lok with 31-spline axles. In Overdrive, it's a kitten with a soft purr.

One cool thing about Michelle's Boss is electric exhaust cut-outs, which enable her to startle others in traffic and at the cruises. She cracks the throttle and grabs everyone's attention, then quietly motors away with that classic Boss 302 burble at the tailpipes.

Ever-mindful of reliability and longevity, Michelle thoroughly investigated paint manufacturers, eventually choosing Glasurit. Gil Terrazas of Ranger Performance massaged the body, laid down the paint, and hand-rubbed the basecoat/clearcoat finish.

Michelle's Boss 302 isn't just another pretty face at a car show. It has never been trailered anywhere. Instead, it is driven and detailed to perfection once it arrives. The Boss has taken its share of Best of Show, Best Engine, and Best '70s awards. Michelle took it to the Monterey Pre-Historic Races (again, no trailer), driving hundreds of miles of California highway to Laguna Seca for a journey down the corkscrew and autographs from Carroll Shelby, Dan Gurney, George Follmer, and Parnelli Jones. Other trips have taken her to Button Willow in California's Central Valley and the Hot Rod Power Tour in the Midwest. Michelle's Boss 302 is so reliable that it can be driven anywhere, then go racing when it arrives.

Michelle is grateful to all who have helped her, especially Larry Binder Sr. and Jr. and the guys at Ranger Performance. These gentlemen put Michelle's needs, wants, and beliefs first, along with a few of their own ideas, to build what is undoubtedly one of the nicest Boss 302s we've ever seen.

Despite the obstacles, Michelle never lost sight of her vision, eventually succeeding in what is typically a man's world. She had the courage to break the rules and came out on the leading edge.