Is it any surprise that in an age of high-tech and high-performance rides unlike anything heretofore, a car constructed more than 40 years ago is likely to trump them all? Well, when said car is an original and high-profile combatant from the original SCCA Trans-Am series, it’s absolutely no surprise. The appeal of this particular Mustang is timeless—a blend of killer visuals, hard-core ’60s race hardware, and notable status as one of just two ’69 Bud Moore Boss 302 team cars in existence. Mmm, in the world of high-performance machines, it’s tough to find anything bigger in stature or more bad to the bone—no matter your frame of reference.
As if the previously recited credentials weren’t enough to grab you, it’s worth noting that this particular car is the first Boss 302 Mustang to turn a wheel in sanctioned competition. Known as chassis number 9F02R112074, it’s one of two prototypes that Ford subcontractor Kar Kraft turned out in preparation for the ’69 race season. This one was provided to the Bud Moore team, while the other prototype went to the Shelby camp—both organizations getting Ford factory support in an effort to get back on track after a disappointing ’68 Trans-Am. Additional team cars would quickly follow, but 074 was the first to get a crack at competition—the event being the Citrus 250 at Daytona International Speedway.
While Trans-Am was the ponycar’s most popular race venue, NASCAR’s Grand Touring (later known as Grand American) series was also a playground for Mustangs, Camaros, Javelins, and the like. Known as the “Baby Grand,” since it played second fiddle to the headlining Grand National stockers, Grand Touring still attracted factory effort and popular drivers. Held on February 21, 1969, the Citrus 250 was just such a race, and 074 made its debut here as a sort of shakedown for the Trans-Am season to come. With Parnelli Jones at the wheel, the Boss qualified second and led the race early on, though it eventually would DNF due to transmission woes.
A more important test for the new Boss 302 Mustangs was the May 1969 Trans-Am opener at Michigan International Speedway. Things looked great for Ford right out of the gate, with Jones winning Michigan in a different Bud Moore Boss, and George Follmer winning race four at Bridgehampton in 074, which turned out to be his primary car through the first seven races. But alas, corporate disaster would strike in race seven at St. Jovite, Quebec. With Ford still leading the manufacturer’s points battle, the proverbial wheels came off when Follmer’s 074 blew its engine on lap 14 and spread oil on the track. Moments later, a pileup ensued that would not only damage Follmer’s car but both Shelby team Bosses and various others. Jones had already been sidelined by shifting issues, and as fate would have it, the Penske Camaro team avoided the crash entirely. It was the turning point of the season, where Chevrolet took the lead in the championship points race for good.
St. Jovite turned out to be 074’s last Trans-Am race, as a backup car was easier to press into service than executing repairs. After the ’69 season, the car lingered around the Bud Moore shops for years until Richard Rodeck purchased it, sans running gear, in the early ’80s. As one of the early restorers of such vintage racers, Rodeck recognized the historical significance the cars represented and planned a full race restoration for 074 in the future. Before he could get started, Don Hodges hit Rodeck up to purchase the car, and a deal was struck.
Hodges chuckles when explaining how at a NorCal Shelby club event in 1984, he had brought his freshly restored ’70 Boss 302 street car. Who should pull in next to him but Rodeck in a school-bus-yellow ’70 Bud Moore team car. “Rightfully so, people were drawn to Rodeck’s car like a magnet, including myself. I realized it was the kind of car I really wanted to pursue.” Hodges bought 074 shortly thereafter and tasked Rodeck with the necessary bodywork and paint, top to bottom, inside and out. Once back in its tri-color scheme, Hodges brought the car home and set to work assembling the remainder of the historic machine. Parts came from various sources, including Rodeck and Rob Palacio—the latter being the source of the new and complete Trans-Am engine that had earlier been purchased from Parnelli Jones himself. Such full-tilt Boss 302s made between 450–500 hp at a full 8,500-rpm song and sported dry-deck construction, forged steel cranks, Ford “SK” connecting rods, and big compression. The dual Holley Dominators are mesmerizing in appearance and are as raced in 1969 only. Think of it—2,100 cfm!
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.
This Ford file photo shows George Follmer in our feature car, leading Parnelli Jones and M
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!
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.