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1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302 - Boss 101

Studying this 1969 Bud Moore team car is our kind of history lesson!

By Eric English, Photography by Eric English

As configured today, this historic Boss Mustang is much as it appeared at the Citrus 250, curiously devoid of Boss 302 stripes and complete with Parnelli Jones driver identification and his No. 15 meatballs. Also true to that time, the front sheetmetal sports a 2-inch dropped nose. As Hodges describes it, “They took a wedge out of it, beginning midway between the firewall and shock towers, and ending at the radiator core support.” It’s not clear as to whether “they” were Kar Kraft or Bud Moore, but it seems this bit of aero trickery wasn’t allowed by the SCCA, and evidence was discovered during restoration that the missing 2 inches was added back for Trans-Am competition. Since Hodges wanted the car in Daytona trim, Rodeck duplicated the 2-inch drop during the body prep phase.

It’s clear that 074 now appears more pristine than at most times in its racing career, as we know Jones and Follmer banged fenders in this thing like there was no tomorrow. Rodeck’s masterful bodywork and paintwork has erased all those blemishes, leaving a beautiful, brilliant, and menacing-looking piece of history in the flesh. And yet, it would seem we’ve come full circle in one car’s history. Since restoration, the Boss has been mostly limited to static display, however, as we went to press, we learned that a new owner has arrived on the scene with very different plans. Vintage Trans-Am racer Bill Ockerlund recently bought this Bud Moore steed and is busy prepping for its rebirth as a race car in the ’13 edition of the Monterey Historics. Once again, we’ll see this one fender to fender with other luminaries of the era, banging 8,500-rpm shifts with glee. We say kudos to you, Bill; this Boss will be right where it belongs.

Studying this ’69 Bud Moore team car is our kind of history lesson!


Tech Notes

Who: Bill Ockerlund

What: ’69 Boss 302 Bud Moore team car

Engine: In preparation for the restoration of this historic racer, an original Trans-Am Boss 302 was procured, including the unique ’69-only dual Dominator induction and offset distributor. Campbell Automotive Restoration had the engine apart while maintaining the car for a prior owner, and CAR’s Mark Schwartz related their firsthand view of cutting-edge ’60s tech. “The domed pistons are a work of art, and the two stage oil pump is an impressive bit of forward thinking for a class that required wet sump oiling.” Rich Rodeck further explained that the oiling setup was a big step forward from prior seasons and is often called a triple-pickup system, due to the three tubes that comprise the arrangement—a pickup in the rear sump of the pan pumps oil to the front sump in order to keep the main pickup constantly submerged.

Transmission/Rearend: Ford’s Toploader four-speed is used with pertinent race mods, such as unique gear ratios, and is assisted by a period solid hub clutch and blow-proof bellhousing. Out back, it’s a full-floating 9-inch—what else?

Chassis: Interestingly, neither of the factory ’69 or ’70 Boss 302 Trans-Am cars were built from G-code Boss chassis, because the street car wasn’t even in production when the early racers were assembled. Most were built from M-code 351 platforms or bodies in white, but this and the other Kar Kraft prototype wear R-code 428 VINs.

Suspension: Don Hodges carefully assembled the suspension, using as many period authentic parts as possible. Included are the Kar Kraft heavy-duty front spindles, boxed and modified control arms, mono-ball strut rods, unique Monroe racing shocks, and much more. Both the components and their mounting points were heavily altered by Kar Kraft and Bud Moore for improved suspension geometry. For the few parts that couldn’t be obtained, Hodges had Rand Machine Works in Fresno create them from original blueprints, to include sway-bar brackets, endlinks, and billet 4340 front hubs. Out back, the 9-inch rear is ably controlled side-to-side by a Watt’s linkage.

Exhaust: Zakspeed bent up a custom set of 21⁄4-inch headers a few years back, which feed into little else besides the side-exit exhausts.

Brakes: Four-wheel discs are per original race spec, including the big Lincoln-sourced front calipers.

Wheels/Tires: Boss 302 team cars for both Bud Moore and Shelby were usually seen with 15x8-inch magnesium Minilites, such as you see here. As vintage photos reveal, the cars were occasionally raced on American Racing 200S wheels, as well—a Coke-bottle–shaped five-spoke design. Ultra-rare Firestone Super Sports GT tires are for static display only, so you can expect something current at Monterey.

By Eric English
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