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1970 Boss 302 Mustang - The Wheel Deal
Less than 150 Boss 302s came with the optional Sport wheel covers
Judging by the '70 Boss 302 Mustangs we see at car shows these days, it would be easy to assume that nearly every one of them came with the optional Magnum 500 wheels. Actually, according to Kevin Marti's Ford production database, only 38 percent of the 7,014 '70 Boss 302s came from the factory with the chrome-plated Magnums; most had standard 15-inch steel wheels with "corporate" hub caps, which were rather plain-looking covers with trim rings. Over the years, many owners have replaced the hub caps with Magnum 500s.
Less known is the fact that there was a third wheel option for '70 Boss 302s. The "Sport" wheel cover, a simulated five-spoke with faux lug nuts, was also offered for the Boss 302. It was very similar in appearance to the '70 Mach 1 wheel cover, only in the Boss 15-inch size instead of the Mach's 14-inch. Kevin Marti reports that only two percent of Boss 302s for '70 came with the Sport wheel covers. Running the numbers through the calculator provides a glimpse of the rarity of those Sport wheel covers--less than 150 Boss 302s came with them.
We don't know if Michael Harper ordered this Bright Yellow '70 Boss 302 with the Sport wheel covers or if he purchased it out of Moody Motor Company's dealer stock. Either way, it's interesting that the car came from the factory with the popular Boss options--Shaker, slats, and rear spoiler--but with Sport wheel covers instead of Magnum 500s. Harper, from Perry, Georgia, bought the car new and drove it just 34,000 miles over three decades before selling to Santa Barbara Muscle Cars in California, where the low-mileage Boss went through a full restoration before being sold to Boss collector Joe McMurrey in Texas.
Interestingly, at some point Harper replaced the original wheel covers with Magnums. When Santa Barbara Muscle Cars obtained the Marti Report and learned that the car had originally come with the optional wheel covers, they located a set of N.O.S. steel wheels and hard-to-find Sport wheel covers to take the car back to its original factory configuration. The Boss is certainly deserving of that attention to detail--it's one of the few Boss 302s in existence that still has its original engine block, since many were replaced by service blocks thanks to a piston skirt problem. McMurrey's Boss also has the original heads, intake, transmission, and rear end with standard 3.50 gears, along with the correct distributor, Holley carburetor, smog equipment, rev limiter, and other Boss-specific equipment.
We discovered the car while it was on consignment at RK Motors in Charlotte. McMurrey, it seems, had picked up another '70 Boss 302, one with the rare Shelby 2x4 intake, and needed to sell the yellow Boss to make room in his collection.
So now you know the rest of the story about this car's rare wheel covers. Whoever buys it is getting a "wheel deal" of a Boss 302.