As work progressed at a fever pitch in early spring, Rob invited the previous owner to take a look at the progress. We imagine the quality work and potential dollar signs finally had their impact, as the man asked Rob what he'd give for the original engine and close-ratio Top Loader. The two came to terms, and the critical matching-number Cleveland became an integral part of the picture. Disassembly showed all-factory internals, and Rob's machinist guessed the wear implied just 35,000-45,000 original miles. In fact, the engine was so good, it was simply honed and fitted with new rings, bearings, and gaskets, the crank was polished, then the engine was reassembled. Hooker headers were used in absence of the original manifolds and, despite having the correct Motorcraft four-barrel, Rob chose a 780-cfm Holley.
Parts acquisition for the Boss came from a variety of sources. Rob's personal stash yielded the Ram-Air, N-cased 9-inch and Magnum 500s, while a '71 Mach 1 was purchased for the interior and other bits and pieces. Despite its absence, Rob's sleuthing revealed an original white deluxe interior package, later confirmed by a report from Marti Autoworks. It now sparkles, thanks to new upholstery by Bob Montgomery, rechromed dash pieces by Mr. Gs, and a high attention to detail from both Rob and Chris.
With scant days to go before the mid-July Seattle show, Rob barely fired the motor long enough for a trip around the block, then embarked on the 1,600-mile shakedown cruise north. He says he couldn't have made the date without big help from friends Chris and Bob, as well as the understanding and patience of his girlfriend, Kathi.
How was the extended road trip? Rob described it as terrific and trouble-free, enjoying friendship, awesome sights, great people, and the powerful Bosses every step of the way. We stumbled across Rob on the showfield, and were impressed by the gratitude he showered on those who helped make the project and trip a success. Such is our hobby at its best, and we'd like to turn the tables a bit-thanking Rob for sharing his story and fantastic Boss with all of us.