Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
March 6, 2013
Photos By: Jerry Heasley

By mid August 1969, Ford was cranking up production of the slightly restyled '70 Mustang at the Dearborn Assembly Plant. In addition to smoothing out assembly-line kinks, there was some important business to handle. Ford corporate had scheduled 14 Bright Yellow Boss 302s, with their new-for-1970 stripe scheme, for dealer intro shows and other promotional activities. Because the shows were scheduled before the '70 Ford on-sale date of September 19, these 14 Boss 302s would be among the first '70 Mustangs produced in August 1969, all with VINs between 100043 and 100082.

Ford's dealer intro shows were just that—an opportunity to introduce the next model year to Ford dealers and allow them to make pre-orders to fill the pipeline before the cars went on-sale. Held in convention centers, stadiums, or large hotels, the shows were scheduled in major cities around the U.S. so dealers from each sales region could attend.

According to Kevin Marti, who is licensed to distribute "Marti Reports" from Ford's production database, Ford typically picked a theme for each car line and bodystyle for the dealer intro shows. The Boss 302 was chosen to represent the '70 Mustang SportsRoof. Of the 14 cars, 13 were destined for dealer intro shows (see "The Show Bosses" sidebar), while one car was shipped to New York for Ford's National Press Conference.

The 14 Boss 302s were nearly identical, all well-equipped with rear spoiler, rear window slats, tachometer, power steering, tilt steering column, and the Convenience Group, although Marti notes that one car had a console instead of tilt steering. Nine were equipped with the 3.91:1 rear axle.

These early-production Boss 302s were also linked by several exterior variances from later and more typical Boss 302s. Most noticeable was the stripe placement on the rear quarter panels—instead of running below the side marker lights, the stripes angled upward and into the marker lights. They were also equipped with the standard chrome taillight housings and stainless rear window molding instead of blackout, along with chrome trim on the taillight panel that was actually from the Mach 1 but without the honeycomb insert. Based on magazine photos of 100056, the engines were equipped with the early production chrome valve covers, similar to 1969, as opposed to the later and more common '70 aluminum covers.

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Some intro cars were ordered by dealers, then "field diverted" to the shows before delivery to their dealerships. Others were purchased by dealers at the show. However, three of the Boss 302s—100048, 100056, and 100060—were not immediately sold to Ford dealers. They were apparently retained by Ford for other promotional duties (100056 was put into service as a magazine test car in southern California—see "A Boss to Like" in this issue).

After their pampered days as promotional cars, the Boss 302s began their journey as someone's pride and joy, followed by a life of high revs and hard shifting as used hot-rods. By the time Tim and Lorna Orick found 0F02G100048 on eBay in 2006, it had been through the typical tough life of a Mustang musclecar.

Based on the invoice and Marti Report, 0F02G100048 was used at the Detroit dealer intro show at Cobo Hall. Afterwards, it was apparently retained for use at November's Detroit Auto Show, also at Cobo Hall, but upgraded with Magnum 500 wheels. For unknown reasons, the car was not titled until the mid-1970s when Colorado's Lakewood Ford sold it to the first owner, who kept the Boss until 1983. When the Oricks bought it from the fourth owner some 23 years later, it was little more than a body shell on a rotisserie and a pile of boxes filled with parts. Of course, those boxes didn't include many of the Boss-specific parts, like the rare early-'70 chrome valve covers, rev limiter, Holley carburetor, Hurst shifter, 31-spline axles, and N-case differential housing. But the car met all three of the Oricks' requirements—mostly rust-free, Bright Yellow (for Lorna, Tim says), and original W-code differential (meaning 4:30 gears and engine oil cooler)—so they took the project car route and hauled the body and boxes home to Forest Hills, Maryland.

For the body work and paint, the Oricks delivered the shell and sheetmetal to Lonny Gordon at East Coast Muscle Cars in Craley, Pennsylvania. In the meantime, the husband and wife team began the task of locating the rare missing parts and tracking down information through the Boss 302 Registry website. "The hunt for Boss 302 parts was challenging and expensive," Tim admitted. "But it was also very rewarding. I can't place a value on the friendships that were bonded and the information gained and shared."

Once the painted and assembled body was delivered to the Orick's home garage, Tim completed the assembly with help from Lorna, sticking with Magnum 500 wheels as displayed at the Detroit Auto Show. Since the photography, Tim has located a pair of early-'70 chrome valve covers.

As a completion goal, the Oricks wanted to debut the fresh restoration at the Boss Reunion in Dearborn during the summer of 2011. The Boss was completed just in time for the trip to Detroit, where it was originally used for the new-car shows in late 1969.

After its duties at the Detroit dealer intro show, it is believed that 100048 was retained by Ford for display at the Detroit Auto Show in November 1969.

The Show Bosses
0F02G100043 New York Intro Show, New York Hilton Hotel
0F02G100048* Detroit Intro Show, Cobo Hall
0F02G100049 Omaha Intro Show, Omaha Civic Center
0F02G100050 Houston Intro Show, Thomas Convention Center
0F02G100055* St. Louis Intro Show, Kiel Auditorium
0F02G100056* Phoenix Intro Show, State Fair Coliseum
0F02G100057* Seattle Intro Show, Seattle Coliseum
0F02G100058 Dearborn Steel Tubing, Intro Show
0F02G100060 National Press Conference, Gurney's Inn, Long Island, NY
0F02G100062* Atlanta Intro Show, Atlanta Civic Center
0F02G100064 Richmond Intro Show, Richmond Arena
0F02G100065 Baltimore Intro Show, Baltimore Civic Center
0F02G100081 Cleveland Intro Show, Cleveland Sheraton
0F02G100082* Cincinnati Intro Show, Cincinnati Convention Center

*Survives today