Oddly enough, Boss 302s are among the most coddled of today's vintage Mustangs. Check out the forums at the Boss 302 Registry (www.boss302.com), and you'll see long-winded threads about original rev limiters, correct smog equipment, and numbers-matching exhaust manifolds. If they can find them, owners pay big bucks for those parts to restore their Boss 302s to the exact right-down-to-the-galvanized-finish condition.
It's funny-in the early '70s, owners were yanking that stuff and throwing it away, adding hot-rod equipment for more performance than the factory delivered. Rob Bodle's '69 Boss 302 is a great example of what was done to new Mustangs back then.
Rob is thankful for the Sunday visit to his mother-in-law's in 2005. That day, a '69 Boss 302 suddenly and surprisingly appeared at a neighboring house. "It had been pushed into the yard because the shed that served as a garage collapsed," Rob says. "After a couple of months, I stopped to see if the car was for sale. The owner said no but if I wanted a '69 Boss 302, Mandy Purser might have one for sale."
What the owner didn't say was that Purser was Mandy's maiden name and she had been married twice. Fortunately, she was still listed in the Vanceboro, North Carolina, phone book under her maiden name. "Sure enough, she still had the car," Rob says. "And she was ready to sell it."
That's when Rob first laid eyes on the Acapulco Blue Boss, sans stripes, mostly disassembled, and sitting in a barn under 16 years of dust, dirt, and bags of mulch. In spite of its condition, the odometer showed only 11,870 miles, and the Boss 302 engine cranked and ran. "I'm not a mechanic and I had never restored a car, so this was a major risk for me," Rob says. "But I jumped in with both feet."
While cleaning off the years of grime, Rob noticed that the Boss 302 had several odd racing pieces. After posting photos on the Boss 302 Registry Web site, Rob learned that the modifications were correct for its time frame. Further investigation revealed that many of the modifications would've been expensive at the time and not available to the general public. Interest piqued, Rob began a quest to learn more about the odd '69 Mustang fastback with the strange hand-painted Boss 302 lettering on the fenders.
The search eventually led Rob to John Ladecuer in Monrovia, California. As it turns out, John had been best friends with Rick Mantz, son of former NASCAR, Sprint, and Indy car driver Johnny Mantz. John remembered the Boss 302 from the day it was unloaded off the hauler at Foulger Ford in Monrovia.