1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302
We’re always talking about the enjoyment one gets from actually driving a classic Ford. Like many of you, my ’66 Mustang coupe is just a simple and clean restoration with a few minor modifications and it has seen its fair share of road trips, cruises, car shows, and highway congestion. The same can’t always be said for the more desirable and rarer breed of Mustangs, such as unrestored Cobra Jets, Shelbys, Boss cars, and the like. I can’t say I blame these owners too much. Some of these cars are worth six times what my little coupe is worth and having that six-figure ride safely ensconced in an enclosed car trailer certainly must put the owner’s mind at ease (and the owner’s insurance company as well!). So it is a distinct pleasure when we get to meet someone like Jim Bridgett, who has no qualms about hopping into his ’70 Boss 302 and taking it for a spin. Matter of fact, he stretches his Boss’ legs at least once a week he tells us.
Jim had wanted a Boss 302 since high school. Not being able to afford the insurance though, he settled for a Cleveland-powered ’70 Mach, which cut the insurance bill in half. Jim sold the Mach in 1974, with the influx of the gas crisis looming, for a ’74 Comet and its fuel-sipping inline six. The agreement he made then with his wife was that when the kids were all gone, he could get another “toy.” That time came in 1999 when Jim purchased another ’70 Mach. This one wasn’t as well appointed as his first Mach, but it did have the way-cool Shaker hood option on the Cleveland-something he remembered seeing on that Boss all those years ago.
Jim found the Boss in 2004 when the buyer contacted Jim about placing an ad in his Mustang club’s newsletter to sell it (Jim is a member of the National Capitol Region Mustang Club, Bayside Mustangs, and the MCA). Instead, Jim purchased it. The seller even delivered it to Jim’s Crofton, Maryland, home. The Boss’s rare Bright Gold Metallic topcoat had been repainted sometime in the past, but other than some light detailing, the Boss was ready to go anywhere, or so Jim thought. It wasn’t soon after that Jim was motoring his way downtown to display the Boss at the Washington, D.C. International Auto Show when its raspy 302 mill sputtered to a stop and fell silent. With little he could do on the side of the road, the decision was made to have the Boss towed back home to tackle the problem in his home garage.
Time flew by, as it so easily does for all of us, and the car ended up being stored for the winter. It wasn’t until the spring of 2005 that Jim was able to get under the hood and figure out the problem, which was lack of fuel delivery. It turns out there was sufficient sediment in the original tank (upwards of an inch thick!). The crud got sucked into the fuel line and fouled the filter and carburetor, completely plugging up the fuel system. This caused the car to not only quit, but not restart either. A new reproduction tank was ordered from Virginia Classic Mustang and the Boss’ original 780-cfm Holley was sent off to Pony Carburetors for a complete rebuild and tuning. Once the new fuel tank and refinished Holley were bolted back up, new filters installed, and the fuel lines blown out, the Boss once again came to life with the twist of Jim’s ignition key; ready for more driving.