Fun Stuff

AutoTrader Find of the Week: 1970 Mustang Boss 302 is a Rare Treat

Classic American muscle cars thrive on folklore, for better or worse.

Worse in that you sometimes have to reality check Boomers on the fact that most modern sports cars would simply shred the 383 Roadrunner or 396 Chevelle SS they cherished back in their youth. Sure, they felt fast thanks to mammoth torque, raw steel, and absolutely zero drive aides. But the reality is, despite their bark, their bite comes nowhere near their modern counterparts.

But then there’s the fun side of American muscle folklore – the history, the mystery, and the rumoured unique vehicles lurking in the wilderness like cryptid animals.

The golden age of American muscle cars was so different from today's car-buying market. From the late-‘60s through the mid-'70s, new models and trim levels dropped every other year, with constant updates thanks to drama and slick moves amongst the inner workings of the Detroit Big Three. Individual dealers would custom-tune and modify models. It was a time before manufacturers strictly mandated option groups so you could legitimately wind up with the only car of its kind.

There is perhaps no better example than this 1970 Mustang Boss 302 currently for sale through the Summit Classic collection on the AutoTrader marketplace in Toronto, Ont.

Most enthusiasts know why the Boss 302 exists. Ford wanted to join the hot trend of SCAA “Trans Am” racing, which at the time required an engine with no larger than a 5.0-litre or 305-cubic-inch displacement. Chevy responded with the Camaro Z/28 and Dodge with the Challenger T/A.

However, it’s worth wondering why Ford did not continue to use its other small block V8-powered race-ready Mustang – the Shelby GT350, which had been participating in the series since 1966.

This is where folklore comes in. By 1969, the relationship between Shelby and Ford had mostly soured, and by 1970, it was over. Clearly, Ford needed trim levels not reliant on Shelby branding in order to “win on Sunday, sell on Monday.”

However, there are also some rumours that relations were never exactly rosy between the internal Ford Performance team and the Shelby American team. Indeed, the GT350s that raced in Trans Am were not entered by Ford but by their proxy, Shelby American.

Word is the internal Ford guys were sick and tired of the Shelby team getting to do all the cool, fun stuff, so they set about making their own internal hot Mustangs. Larry Shinoda, a former GM designer, was tasked with the project. When the Ford bean counters would stick their noses in and ask what Shinoda was working on, he would reply, “The boss’ car” – referring to new Ford president Semon "Bunkie" Knudson. That’s the folklore, anyway.

Ironically, the 2013 to 2014 Boss 302 may have been the very last Mustang that Shelby himself ever consulted on. But upon its introduction in 1969, the Boss 302 was clearly positioned as the GT350’s replacement.

So, by its nature, the Boss 302 is already a perfect piece of American muscle car history. But this particular example is especially … well, special.

And it’s not so much what the car has, but what it doesn’t have.

It’s missing the iconic “Shaker” hood scoop, an optional extra for 1970. It also doesn’t have the optional five-spoke chrome wheels or interior upgrade package, which would have included wood trim dash panels and steering wheel. White was a no-cost colour option.

However, this buyer did opt for a four-speed manual transmission with a Hurst shifter. They spent $43 USD on a “Traction-Lok” differential and another $13 USD on the upgraded rear axle ratio. It had upgraded tires (but never mind those fancy rims). And the rear deck spoiler? That was, apparently, a must.

here are some street-friendly options such as power steering, AM radio, and tinted windows. But this ‘70 Boss is what they used to call in the car dealer business a “stripper car,” meaning somebody ordered this car for “go” not “show.”

Summit has supplied the “Marti Report,” which breaks down the vehicle’s history. It was ordered on May 4, 1970, built on the 19th – four days behind schedule. It was sold a little over a month later, in Toledo, Ohio, on June 25 for the out-the-door price of $4,027.45 USD.

But here’s where it gets really interesting and perfectly explains why you should want a Marti Report if you have a classic Mustang.

This car is one of 2,407 manual transmission Mustang Boss 302s sold in 1970. It’s one of only 163 that were painted white. Of those white cars, only four of them were optioned with Ivy Green interior. Of those white with Ivy Green interior manual transmission cars, guess how many had the optional rear deck spoiler?

Just this one. There isn’t a single car in the world exactly like this one.

And that’s what is so damn cool about this era of American muscle cars. This will never happen again, where the story behind the existence of a nameplate is as fascinating and curious as the cars that were actually produced and sent to customers. Cars simply aren’t built or ordered this way anymore. Certainly, you can be assured that any Mustang you buy today has several twins somewhere out there.

Summit is asking $135,000 for this one-of-one Mustang, which is certainly a markup over the original 1970 retail price. But that is a small price to pay to have what is inarguably one of the most unique Mustangs to ever roll out of Dearborn.