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Hagerty Employee

This 1970 Boss Mustang packs a 427-cu-in secret

Two Hagerty Drivers Club members, Doug Miller and Joseph Sprague, connected by way of a very special muscle machine. It might look like an ordinary Boss, but under this Mustang's hood is a little 427-sized something by way of Holman-Moody-and Le Mans.
Intermediate Driver

I hope it never gets cosmetically restored , just what is needed for preservation. Such a cool car as is
Advanced Driver

My favorite body style Mustang with a hidden gem that raced in LeMans with Holman Moody mods? You're living the dream! 😄

I hope to see the restoration/preservation posted all over the internet.
Intermediate Driver

According to article engine was not used at Le Mans.
Intermediate Driver

Nice piece of history plunked under that 'regular' Boss hood. I really like that Joe has a developed a passion for the car and seems to very much enjoy uncovering it's past. A feel good story in a story. Carry on Joe!

"Midland was a Chevy town back then, and nobody knew what I had. I’d pop the hood, tell them it was the Boss 302, and they’d stare at that big motor, having no clue that it wasn’t. I kid you not."

Oh, I believe you. I'm not trying to rag on Chevy guys but two instances come to mind. First, about 20 years ago a lady came to me with a P0303 misfire on her Ford van. I diagnosed a defective COP coil on cylinder #3. She said that couldn't be because she just had it replaced. I showed her the old coil and ordered a new one. While waiting for the coil I had an idea and checked cylinder #6. Sure enough, that's where the new coil was installed. Too many Chevy guys don't realize Fords number their cylinders differently than most other manufacturers and Ford's #1 is on the opposite side as Chevy's. The second instance was when a friend changed from a Camaro to racing a 351W powered Mustang at the local 1/4 mile circle track and did quite well. He told me all his competition drove Chevys, all cheated and could spot the other guy's cheater engine in a heartbeat. And being mostly a Chevy guy he could spot their cheating too. Except they couldn't figure out where he was cheating (if he was) because none of them had a clue about a Ford.
Intermediate Driver

I guess those “Chevy” guys that he raced didn’t listen too closely. While a Boss 302 sounds great, it is definitely different than a big block Ford through a custom exhaust. If my memory is correct, you could feel the rumbling of the 427 go through your flesh.
Unlike some of the others here, I’d clean and freshen up the car. Not make it a showroom exhibit, but get rid of the rust and cleanup the engine bay. And definitely make some passes with a reconditioned drive train.
Advanced Driver

Yeah, I really don't see what the appeal of "patina" is -- that's just a pretty word for rust, boys. It wasn't born with rust -- unless it was a Vega, of course -- I can't fathom why anybody would want to preserve that.
Pit Crew

It looks cool.
It gives the car a different character, one of many years of use and love, instead of looking like a never driven garage queen.
I love fully restored, immaculate cars, but there's still something special about an unrestored "survivor".

Just my $.02

My buddy up the road has a 66 Caddy convertible he pulled out of a garage two houses down from me. It had sat there for years and only a handful of folks knew about it and he just happened to be the lucky person who was at the right place when the owner wanted to move it along. He pulled it out of the garage, drove it home missing and bucking like crazy, and beyond tires and tune-up work, he and his wife have been driving it the way it is for the last 15 years. I love that car, and so do they
Pit Crew

Best body style for mustang in my opinion. Whats the big thing about taking pics in the dark? Just show the car please and leave your artsy stuff at home.
Intermediate Driver

What is the tow rating of a 1970 Mustang Boss 302 with a Holman-Moody 427?
If bass tournaments started in the hotel parking lot, my money is on this guy getting to the lake first.

Nice job Hagerty, sharing the story. Gives all hope of bumping into a barn find with a cool history.
New Driver

I had one of these in 1970, bought it for $3,000.00 with less than 1,000 miles on it. Same color but it had the two locking pins at the front corners of the hood. It was still less than a year old when I sold it. Mine had a Hurst shifter and a standard transmission. It went like the wind but it was like sitting on a skateboard and all black and boring inside. My 1966 Ford pick-up was more comfortable. Still wish I had kept it for the profitability of it, but who was to know that it would someday be a worthwhile collectible. I ran an advert in the Toronto Star and had more replies than I could shake a stick at. Took another Mustang in trade, and yet another Mustang on the second one by the time the dust settled. Little did I know at the time that this car would be worth about US$150,000.00 some 40 years later and who knows what it might represent today, Sic.
Intermediate Driver

This is definitely my favorite era of Mustang in terms of aesthetics. Simply a beautiful shape with that long hood and trim lines running back to that neatly hemmed tail end. The car is still gorgeous, rust spots and all. I can only imagine the magnificent deep throaty sound of that 427. No need for $500 scanners! No need to go online to try to figure out cloak and dagger emissions codes for the check engine light! All you need is a basic SAE ratchet set and a simple assortment of old school automotive tools. The best of pure, unadulterated automotive machinery. It’s like fine wine—it only gets better with age! May you have many years of enjoyment with this great vehicle! All the best!

To each his own, but are these pictures as of today/recent? Wit the story, the engine, and the back story, IF it were me I would put a little effort into the, uh, presentation, of the vehicle. Show it some love, it will be even faster when it is pretty 😉
Intermediate Driver

Really enjoyed this interesting tale of automotive lore! I was going to school at Northwood Institute (now University) at the time and do remember the area you mentioned as a favorite spot of gearheads. In fact, as a Ford lover, I was in the minority at school with all the GMaholics! Love the shenanigans that you played with fooling them that it was "just" a 302!!
Pit Crew

Geez, are they ET Turbine wheels that I see? First order of business, get rid of those wheels, even if they’re what Doug Miller put on the car back in the day. Great story though and best of luck with a very cool find. The H&M FE motor has to be worth its weight in gold, no?
New Driver

What a story, wow! To luck out like that with a real Ford LM racing engine! The stars were aligned that day for this Boss and the owner Doug. I once found a Mexican block 302 in an engine shop and I thought that was special but not like this. I guess there are purists who might prefer to return it to stock, I would definitely try to find the original engine but I think would keep the 427 totally redone in it. I really think it would be even more collectable with the big block because of the history. Just mount the Boss on an engine stand and start it up once in awhile to keep it oiled.
Pit Crew

What a great car however, it certainly does not look loved of late.
Who is a so called car enthusiast and lets the object of their desire get into that condition?

I see a B/M shift selector which means automatic. I don't think BOSS 302 Mustangs were available with an automatic transmission. What happened to the original Top Loader 4 SPD?

I hope its gets restored to at least a good looking driver. I want to vomit every time I see the dismal shape Original Bullitt Mustang. Bought a 2 year old '70 SportsRoof with the 351 Cleveland 4-bbl., Grabber Blue, it was gorgeous.

I did something similar (but lower-budget) back in the day.
The only car I've ever gotten for free was a 68 notchback/289/automatic.
It was driven about 100k miles and then garaged for a couple of years - this was 1972.
My best buddy wrapped his 66 Cyclone/390/335hp around a telephone pole.
He wasn't injured, but the car was totalled.
His father happened to own a transmission shop. So we had his car towed there, pulled the engine and trans (4 speed). Gave his dad the trans in exchange for a used short C6 with flywheel and went to get my car. - I'd have loved the 4 speed, but installing a clutch linkage in an automatic car, not so much :(. We managed to get the old 289 running, but just. Maybe a mile from the shop, the front U-joint broke and took the C4's tail shaft housing with it (I think I still have that part somewhere, I save weird **bleep** like that!) All I needed from the local Ford dealer was a set of big block motor mounts, and the correct drive shaft, not too expensive, I was on a tight budget being a student who worked weekends pumping gas. I SHOULD have changed the small-block rear end for a bigger one, but didn't have the money for that. Quick fix: remove the yolk from the diff and have the U-joint retaining notches machined off. Bigger U-joint now fits perfectly! Cobbled together a dual exhaust using parts from the Cyclone and got a big-block Mustang/Cougar radiator from a junkyard.
I kept the 289 badges on the side of the car and won lots of street races. 🙂
Sold it in 73 to raise money to buy a brand new 74 Dodge van!

PS: In the summer of 67, I met 2 kids in Santa Monica whose dad worked for Shelby. As Ford was closing down the CA operation and moving it to Michigan, their dad had his 67 GT500 (with 68 updates) for sale. It was light metallic blue, black interior and an automatic. I'll never forget the test drive dad and I took on the 10 freeway.  We could have bought that car for..... wait for it..... $3000! But my mom said no. That woulda been my 1st car! 😞 The man's name was Grimm. If anyone knows the history of that car, I love to hear it.

Advanced Driver

If $3k was a bargain price for a Shelby in 1969, then $500k is a bargain in 2021. We can't look into the past and recreate the present - the reason any Shelby Mustang is worth huge money today is only because so few could afford them when they were new. I will revise that assessment when I see a Geo Metro cross the auction block for $100k!
New Driver

Cars like these no one truly ever owns, but rather are passed from one caretaker to the next. I for one am the proud caretaker of two vintage Corvettes. When the time comes I can no longer look after them properly, my last responsibility will be to find a suitable new caretaker for them. Thus ensuring their chain of loving stewardship and care will remain unbroken far into the future.
Intermediate Driver

There’s patina and then there’s rust and dents. Please get that fantastic engine running and then give it the beautiful home it deserves.
Pit Crew

A 1970 Boss 302 is one of three Mustangs on my 'Would love to own' Mustang list and it would be at the top. I can't say my very early cars got the all love they desired, I pity the first three, but this poor thing looks like it missed getting any love at all. By car #4, a Z28, I'd figured out that they were too expensive not to look after and that I liked really clean, well cared for and shape looking vehicles. I would be inclined to completely restore this car. I'd need a hazmat suit & tie to drive this Boss to the office.

Great article well written and researched what a story this car has it needs to be a total resto just because its a unique olde street fighter finds like this are rare as unicorns hope to see it in the future Joe,this car and this story reminiscent of Astoria "Chas" and the 67 L 88 Vette found and restored in NY glory days my friends.Cheers R