A Brown Boss 302 —One of Just 10 Built
Rick Parker’s 1970 Boss 302 is a horse of a different color
A chestnut horse has a reddish-to-brown coat with a mane or tail of the same or lighter color. Ford’s Chestnut Metallic paint is a natural for this high-performance 1970 Boss 302, with a reflective stripe for a mane or tail.
A total of 10 Boss 302 buyers bought one of these trusty steeds in 1970; of those 10, just one—this car—came with Medium Ginger Spectrum Cloth & Corinthian vinyl bucket seats. Rick Parker, this car’s owner, says, “At the end of the day it’s still a Mustang,” but Parker’s recent restoration is truly an eye-popping sight to behold in the world of Boss 302s.
The Columbus, Ohio, enthusiast bought this Boss 302 in Illinois about 17-18 years ago. Repainted Calypso Coral, the Boss was a “typical old Mustang with issues,” according to Rick. It didn’t run and was missing important Boss-specific parts, including the shaker, carburetor, exhaust manifolds, radiator, smog system, dual-point distributor, rev limiter, and 15x7-inch steel rims. The plaid seats were still in the car, but the cloth inserts were worn to the point that foam was coming out of them.
Rick says, “I had a white Mustang [with that same interior] about 25 years ago. I thought it was pretty cool, but obviously thought I would never own another one, and now we have a brown one with that interior.”
Rick parked his one-of-one Boss 302 in his collection, and a couple years ago he got it out to begin gathering parts. A Marti Report revealed the car is a highly optioned Boss 302, starting with the three hot extras that every 1970 model owner wants: rear window sport slats, decklid rear wing spoiler, and a shaker hood for ram air. Inside, the interior was deluxe with an AM/8-track radio. Rick got a copy of the original order form for the car and found out the buyer even ordered his Boss 302 with a Drag Pack. There is controversy over whether the Boss 302 ever had a Drag Pack option. The “Retail Buyer Order” on this ’70 model reveals “Drag Pack 3.91” at a cost of $155. The axle on this car is a 3.50, so this car did not come with Ford’s Drag Pack option. Rick has talked to original Boss 302 owners who claim they did get an oil cooler on a brand-new Boss 302, so the controversy continues.
The original owner spared no expense on this car, except with the wheels, which are steel with hubcaps and trim rings. “You would think for a few more bucks he would have got the Magnum 500 wheels with all those options,” Rick says.
When Parker finally got the Boss 302 out of storage, he was going back to stock from the get-go. Parker calls the restoration, “the challenge and the opportunity to build something different [than] a red Mustang.” When the car went to the paint shop, Rick remembers his painter calling and asking, “Are you sure you want to do this Chestnut?” Rick was sure, but then he looked at a spray-out panel and thought, “Ooh, this car is brown.” He also thought to himself how a simple black interior would have looked.
And then, the wheels—Rick says, “Do you know how many times we thought, man, let’s put on Magnums? Do you know how good this would look with Magnums?” Of course, they went back with the stock steel wheels with trim rings and hubcaps. “Since we went to such great detail to make things correct, it was hard to put Magnum 500 wheels on this car.”
Getting the plaid cloth seat inserts took Jacquie Parker, Rick’s wife, six months to complete. Obviously, the plaid fabric was a rarity to begin with. Initially, a company that stocks obsolete upholstery said they could ship the fabric in 2-3 weeks, but 2-3 weeks became 2-3 months. Rick could have removed the plaid insert and sewed in matching, plain, ginger-colored vinyl. Instead, they waited, and they finally did get new plaid inserts, which was a major victory. Without this special interior, the challenge would not have been answered.
Now with the car back to its original Chestnut and the seats back to stock, Rick could complete the restoration as the car came from Dearborn Assembly.
Photography by Jerry Heasley