The Ford Boss 302 is an excellent example of a market correction. For years, these cars, like their Boss 429 brothers, were living in the shadow of their GM counterparts. Z/28 Camaros were bringing big dollars, but the equally potent Mustang lived in its shadow. Recently, however, the Boss 302 is getting its due, with market values ratcheting up, putting the Mustang on par with its Camaro competition. If you want a Boss 302, now is the time to buy because they won't be getting any cheaper.

This 1970 Boss 302 is one of the nicer ones I've seen anywhere lately. With the newfound appreciation for these cars, there's a greater push to restore the best ones properly. For years a lot of them were hobbled with sub-standard work, but with collector interest growing by the day, it's getting harder to find one that isn't jaw-droppingly gorgeous like this Grabber Blue one. But that's a good thing, right?

Bodywork is gorgeous. If there's a better muscle car shape than the fastback 1969-1970 Mustangs, I don't know what it might be, and this one looks better than they ever did rolling off the assembly line. Panel gaps are excellent and just look how that character crease running from the nose to the rear wheel well lines up from panel to panel and is laser-straight. Poor craftsmen will often end up sanding it into more of a suggestion than a line trying to get the panel straight, but not the guys who did this car, its crisp! The paint is two-stage urethane, buffed to an incredible shine after a careful color sanding. Then the fresh Boss 302 stripes were applied, and they look as awesome today as they did when the late, great Larry Shinoda designed them more than 40 years ago. Not overkill, not gaudy, but aggressive and sharp, just like the rest of the car.

There's quite a bit of chrome on a 1970 Mustang, even the performance versions, and this one has an awful lot of new stuff. Bumpers are spectacular, the stainless has been polished, and things like the door handles and mirrors are fresh pieces. Of course, no Boss is complete without the satin black rear window slats, decklid wing, and chin spoiler, all of which are in like new condition. Interestingly, this car does not have a Shaker hood, which was an option on Boss 302s in 1970 only, although it makes no difference in terms of horsepower. I kind of like the flat, unadorned hood with only the blacked out hood treatment, and in terms of rarity, I'm guessing that cars without the Shaker are considerably less common (most restorers have added the option to their non-Shaker cars). Lenses and emblems are all nicely done, too, and the glass is very good, although it's hard to tell what's new and what is original, thanks to this cars excellent care over the years.

Open that non-ventilated hood and check out the potent 302 underneath. If you haven't heard one of these high-RPM screamers at 7000 RPM, you just aren't living. Everyone gets excited about big block torque, but there's really nothing like the sound of a powerful V8 at high speed, and don't let the cars small displacement and factory rating of 290 horsepower throw you off. These were highly tuned engines that were just barely civilized enough for the street, and I think that's part of why people were so slow to warm up to them. To make them dance, you have to run them HARD, not just putting around at 1800 RPM all day like you can with a big block. With these engines, you don't have to worry about it, either, because they're incredibly stout pieces, with steel cranks, 4-bolt mains, and giant ports on the heads to flow A LOT of air at high speeds. Go ahead, key it up, let the clutch out, and hammer it up to redline. Grab another gear and do it again. After you've done that four times, you're probably blasting along at well over 120 MPH, and you'll be grinning like you just escaped from prison. Seriously, there's nothing like a high-winding small block, and the positive effect the smaller, lighter engine has on handling can't be overlooked.

Of course, as a restored piece, the engine bay is highly correct and detailed, from the chrome air cleaner lid to the correct Motorcraft oil filter underneath. There's Ford Blue paint on the replacement block, heads, and air cleaner, and all the significant parts have been repainted or plated in their original finishes. Hoses and clamps are correct, the wiring harness is new, and reproduction decals and labels have been used throughout. There's a correct Autolite battery cover up front, and proper Monte Carlo bars on the firewall. You'll also notice the evaporative emissions control system is intact and functional (very hard to find, since it was one of the first things to go once guys got these cars home). This is a beautifully done engine bay.

Underneath is just as nice and just as authentic. Properly restored cars do not have glossy, body-colored undercarriages that have been sanded and buffed to perfection. Instead, they look like this Boss, with factory style red oxide primer on the floors with appropriate amounts of undercoating and body-colored overspray. That's the factory wide-ratio 4-speed manual transmission under there, too, as specified when new. Out back there's a durable Ford 9-inch rear with 3.50 gears inside, hanging on heavy-duty leaf springs and controlled by staggered shocks. The exhaust is the only significant deviation from pure stock; a slightly larger set of pipes feed some decidedly non-stock mufflers for an absolutely incredible sound, and terminates in correct chrome tips under the bumper. It rides on what might be the best looking of all muscle car wheels, the 15-inch Magnum 500 chrome wheels, fitted with F60-15 Firestone Wide Oval reproductions for a 100% authentic look and feel.

Mustang interiors were excellent places to conduct the serious business of driving, and the Boss was no exception. Featuring code BA Black Rhino Corinthian vinyl bucket seats which are as comfortable as they look, this interior was restored very nicely. The full-length console features a Hurst T-handle shifter for the 4-speed, while an optional AM/8-track player provides the music. In back, this car is fitted with the optional folding rear seat, expanding the Boss's cargo-carrying capacity which was very handy for, say, a set of racing tires. The headliner and carpets were new at the time of restoration, the steering wheel and dash pad have been restored, and it is in very, very nice condition throughout. There are some signs that the car has been driven, but much more importantly, those same signs suggest that someone took exceptionally good care of this car. In the trunk you'll find a correct space-saver spare and jack assembly, as well as a new trunk mat.

Documentation on this Boss is important, and all the critical pieces of information are here including the original window sticker, which confirms everything on the Marti Report.

This is a seriously cool car. I can't quite pin down exactly why I like it as much as I do (aside from the obvious), but it is incredibly appealing in every way. Beautiful to look at, a blast to drive, and appreciating with the market are all the hallmarks of a great collectible. It took a while, but the Boss 302 is finally getting the recognition that it deserves. But don't make the mistake of putting this one on a pedestal and hiding it away in a garage somewhere. Obviously the guys who restored this car understood that even the most perfect cars need to be driven and exercised, that's the whole point. And when they're as roadworthy as a Boss 302, it really is a crime to not let it stretch its wings every now and again. The restoration work on this one is very, very good, and it has been expertly maintained ever since. I can't see any downside to this one, from the color to the options to the relative rarity of a 4-speed 1970 Boss. Don't let another one get away and call now!

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1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302

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