In these days of high-dollar Bosses and equally high-dollar Boss restorations, it's good to find a '70 Boss 302 that was restored by its owner. Granted, as a body and paint professional by trade, Michael Giordano had a head-start over most of us, but he's quick to admit that the Grabber Green Boss was his first rotisserie restoration to concours specs.
Purchased in March 2003 as a "worn out driver," Michael enjoyed driving the Boss 302 for a couple of years, time that was needed to gather parts for the restoration. Although the VIN, buck tag, and apron stampings were all correct for the car, Michael realized that many of the Boss-specific components were missing in action. The money saved by doing the work himself would have to be invested into purchasing hard-to-find replacements.
It's ironic to recall that, in the early 1970s, owners quickly modified their Boss 302s, bringing horror to the faces of current owners as they visualize the tossing of today's coveted and hard-to-find parts, like original rev limiters and emissions equipment, into the nearest trash can. Even the high-performance equipment, like the dual-point distributor and Holley carb with all-important Boss part numbers, was often replaced by aftermarket versions. Boss Mustangs were rare to begin with, but these unique components are even rarer today because original owners never dreamed that future owners would return the cars to showroom condition, right down to the Thermactor pump and correct finishes on the nuts and bolts.
According to Michael, the most challenging part of his Boss 302 restoration was justifying the prices he had to pay for original parts. (Checking eBay Motors shows a Boss 302 4-speed for $2,000, a pair of date-coded D0ZE-6090-A heads for $1,400, and a set of N.O.S. pushrod plates for $250). In one stroke of luck, Michael discovered an N.O.S. Boss 302 distributor hidden in the trunk drop-off area of the rear quarter-panel.
"That saved me $1,700," Michael says.
As is typical of today's '69-'70 Boss 302 owners, Michael took advantage of the expertise and knowledge on the Boss 302 Registry forums (www.boss302.com) to restore his Mustang to factory-original condition. Working at his own shop, Mike G. Perfection Auto Body on New York's Long Island, Michael was able to use the original quarter panels, shock towers, and frame rails, but had to replace the floors with a full floorpan. He made sure that everything worked--horns, AM radio, even the annoying buzzer--standard on '70 Mustangs--that sounds with the driver's door open and the key in the ignition.
Michael did make one notable modification. When Elsasser Racing Engines rebuilt the Cleveland-headed 302, they stroked it to 347 cubic-inches and installed a roller cam. On the dyno, the extra cubes and lift translate to nearly 425hp. Of course, Michael dressed the engine like a stock Boss 302, complete with flat-top aluminum valve covers and factory emissions, so no one is the wiser when peering under the hood.
Today, Michael uses his Boss 302 mostly for shows, although he's quick to state that he is not a "trophy hound." Instead, he considers the judging remarks as "a report card for the work I've done."