Potential Purchase of the Week: 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Trans Am Race Car

Ford unveiled its new 2012 Boss Mustang 302 today and we're initially impressed by the car's performance and styling. Much as we adore the new boss, we're still fans of the old Boss especially Parnelli Jones' 1969 Boss Mustang 302 Trans Am Race Car.

For the 1969 Trans Am racing season, Ford spared no expense in preparing its cars, setting the potent Z/28 Chevrolet Camaro squarely in its sights. Development of the Boss 302 Mustang started with ten fastback Mustangs with absolutely no options, apart from a four-speed manual being sent to Kar Kraft, Ford's in-house competition car builder. There, the cars were completely stripped down and rebuilt as race cars.

In order to comply with regulations, but still build a winning car, Kar Kraft had to make some stealthy changes to the car's chassis. Larger tires means more grip, but Trans Am regulations didn't allow the car's track to be any wider than stock. In order to fit the larger tires Ford wanted, the whole wheel assembly had to be moved inward. The rear wheels were secured to the chassis using Watts linkage and lightweight, adjustable, aluminum Koni shocks. The redone rear suspension also used a unique sway bar with solid aluminum mounts, rather than rubber, to save weight. At the front, all of the steering and suspension components were beefed up for race duty.

While the chassis and suspension changes were unique to the Trans Am-spec race cars, the piece of the Boss 302 Mustang that made it legendary wasn't limited to those cars. The Boss 302 Mustang used a special 302-cubic-inch V-8 designed to handle the extreme stresses of endurance racing. The engine had special lightweight, titanium valves and a heavy duty block. The engine drank copious amounts of leaded racing fuel through two 1230-CFM Holley four-barrel carburetors, and used a three-pickup oil system -- the best that could be used in the series, since dry sump systems were outlawed.

Our Potential Purchase of the Week is one of the ten original Boss Mustangs. This particular car was driven by the famous Parnelli Jones during the 1969 Trans Am season and was the first Boss Mustang to compete.

Why would I want one?

It's the first of Ford's competition Boss Mustangs to actually take to the track. It was also the only Boss Mustang to have been used by both Shelby America and Bud Moore's private team. Although Ford didn't win the constructors' championship with the Boss 302 in 1969, losing to Chevy by only 14 points, the Boss 302 Mustang certainly left its mark in history that year.

Check out the car, offered at Russo and Steele's Monterey auction, here.

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