1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 - The Ultimate Survivor
This Like-New, 2,400-Mile '70 Boss 302 Was Recently Rescued From 39 Years Of Storage
It's kinda like a lottery. We all daydream about being the one to uncover the next original-owner "barn find"-that evasive classic Mustang that was bought new, driven little, and for some unfathomable reason put into storage, waiting to be discovered decades later in near perfect original condition and needing nothing more than a good detailing to be good as new. Just like winning lottery tickets, such finds are as scarce as hens' teeth, yet they do still occur. But seldom is the discovery something as desirable as a Grabber Orange '70 Boss 302. One with just over 2,400 miles on the clock. Really.
Our story begins in late summer 2008 with a small, photo-less ad on craigslist, that online purveyor of everything from paper clips to personal services. The Midwest-based local ad simply read something to the effect of "low-mileage Boss Mustang for sale." The freshly listed advertisement caught the eye of one of the main characters of our story-a car guy, but not one particularly knowledgeable about Fords. Upon calling the seller and hearing the astonishingly low claimed mileage, he immediately called one of his buddies who is a hard-core and technically knowledgeable FoMoCo fanatic. They both hurried over to see the Mustang, though still not overly optimistic about what they would find. Jaded skepticism, we suppose.
You may have noticed we're not mentioning names here. This is at the request of the parties involved-and not unreasonable given the extreme rarity and value of what they found. It is also their wish to protect the privacy of the seller. We can certainly respect and understand such requests, so we'll tell this tale anonymously and without any identifiable vehicle details, such as a VIN number.
Arriving at the seller's house, the garage door was open and our anonymous twosome spied the blacked-out tail of a spoilered Boss, looking like it had sat there for ages, with boxes stacked all around it. The guys said they could tell even from a distance that it was "brand new," an impression confirmed as soon as they opened the trunk and saw the unmolested and clearly original condition. So much for their initial skepticism. Moving deeper into the garage, they noticed that the factory carburetor, distributor, and exhaust manifolds had been removed and replaced with vintage hop-ups, and that the rev-limiter was also missing. The factory exhaust pipes and mufflers, originally removed for header installation, hung on a wall. The owner said he'd done the modifications way back in 1970, yet the Boss had apparently never been driven in its modified form, and the owner was quickly able to locate each and every one of the valuable factory components, all tucked away in boxes within his garage.
Until our guys trailered it away, the Boss had not moved from its garage haven since 1970-the exact reasons remaining something of a mystery-so only the original battery was unusable.
All OEM parts, including the wonderfully intact exhaust system, are now reinstalled to their proper places.
The seller had placed his order in late May of 1970, with an exterior combo that was reasonably typical of a second-year Boss 302-rear spoiler, rear window slats, and Magnum 500 wheels but no Shaker hoodscoop-while having an interior that was unique in wearing the dressed up Décor Group and sport deck rear seat, yet no center console. There's no power steering, and his chosen drivetrain teamed the 6-code, close-ratio gearbox with a 3.91 Traction-Lok rear axle. He had also instructed the selling dealership to install the AM radio's telescopic antenna on the right rear fender instead of up front.
The Dearborn factory showed amazing speed in turning this Boss from paper order into reality. The Marti Report shows the order being received on May 25, and the car subsequently built the following Monday, June 1-four days ahead of its original build schedule. The SportsRoof's finish may reflect some of that haste and its Monday build. After encountering many lovingly over-restored Mustangs over the years, we were somewhat surprised to see the rather indifferent build quality in evidence on such things as the irregular, somewhat blotchy texture of the matte black hood and rear deck paint. The windshield cowl panel is a lighter shade than the rest of the Grabber Orange hue. Location and orientation of the paint masking between body color and black around the perimeter of the trunk opening is surprisingly different, side-to-side. Also, one headlamp bucket is body color, the other black. And the underside of the hood shows obvious evidence of insufficient top coat-the primer is clearly visible in some spots. The Boss striping, too, is anything but precisely aligned. Let's just say there's no way a Mustang would be allowed to leave the factory today looking like that, yet that's just the way it was nearly four decades ago.
Some of the spray-gun indifference shows up underneath in the rather random application of the black undercoating and seam caulking. But we're nit picking, because those same hoist photos reveal this to be an amazingly preserved museum piece of proper Boss 302 chassis detailing right down to the factory paint daubs and markings.
We also had the joy of briefly driving it around a parking lot to pose for our exterior photos. That's where its 2,400-mile originality really proved itself, from the way the driver's door closed, to the fresh solid-lifter eagerness of the 290hp small-block, to the tantalizing "factory" sound emanating from those classic turn-down exhaust tips. Even the ignition-key warning buzzer was there in all its irritating glory. I was lucky enough to get some new Boss seat time as a teenager, and this thing is as original as they come.
If there's any moral to this tale of discovery, we suppose it's that we should all curb our cynicism when scouring the ads for interesting finds. Who knows what other survivors might be out there waiting to be "rescued" from the obscurity of dusty hibernation?