Car of the Month - Feb 11
Mike Hunsley's 1970 Boss 302
When I caught the Mustang bug in the late 70s, this wasn’t the car I just had to have when I started owning and collecting Mustangs. In fact, I don’t think I even knew of its existence. Back then, ’64 1/2-’66 models had achieved collector status, so I bought a ’65 convertible with a 6 cylinder Cruise-o-matic. It wasn’t long before I began noticing that Mustang drivers sneered at my bare fenders missing the 289 logo, so I traded up to a ’66 fastback GT 289 4-speed.
Several years and many early Mustangs later, I caught the Shelby bug and bought a Hertz car. Drove it, tracked it, loved it, but finally it had to go. Was I smart and got top dollar as they started moving up the sales ladder at a crazy pace? Of course not! After I realized I sold too soon, I regretted not having 306 horses in my driveway. So what to do? By then, Hertz GT350s were outa sight. The next best pony was a Boss 302. I liked the looks of the ’70 better than the ’69, so I started looking.
I found this one on ebay, located in central Oregon. Drove it, liked it, bought it and trucked it up here in the summer of 2005. It didn’t have all the right engine parts, but it did have the original block, along with rear window slats, shaker and rear spoiler. I liked the lime green metallic color because it was different. It turns out that was the second most ordered color in 1970 and the one most likely to get repainted later. To this day, it’s an unusual color, and one that’s liked by most people.
Even with a little paint mismatch, the car looked good, but it lacked the power I thought it should have. As it turned out, it had uneven compression. A thorough diagnosis revealed why. Some of the cams were flat, so it was rebuild time. I found not only flattened cams and other problems, but concave lifters – one even had a hole in it! I later found out that the engine was trying to destroy itself, because the oil previously used, lacked the zinc additives of the 70’s that provided extra lubrication.
Along with the rebuild, I had Larry Berkovich of West Coast Restorations restore the engine bay, the exhaust system, and put on some original engine parts. After many thousands of dollars well-spent at Larry’s, it’s almost the car I wanted back in 2005. It still has a way to go to be perfect, but isn’t that part of the fun of owning a Mustang – the getting there?
- Mike Hunsley