Engine Bay Photo-Ford-Boss 302 Trans Am Race Car

Engine Bay Photo Engine Bay Photo Engine Bay Photo Engine Bay Photo Engine Bay Photo Engine Bay Photo Engine Bay Photo Engine Bay Photo Engine Bay Photo Engine Bay Photo Engine Bay Photo Engine Bay Photo
1969 Ford Boss 302 Trans Am Race Car Parnelli Jones

Monterey 2010
Consignment # 7039
VIN:   9F02R112074

Run # F463
Approx. Run Time
Friday 9:00 - 9:30 PM

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As the Trans-Am racing season dawned for 1969, Mark Donohue's #6 Sunoco Blue Camaro was the clear front-runner among the primary contenders. The competition – Ford and Shelby chiefly among them – recognized it as the car they needed to beat in order to take the crown. With that year’s redesign of the Mustang, Ford had a new answer to Chevrolet’s potent Z/28 in the equally-new Mustang Boss 302. Ford provided the financing for not one, but two teams for that year’s season; Carroll Shelby’s team featured drivers Peter Revson, Horst Kwech, Sam Posey, and Dan Gurney while Ford’s own Bud Moore Racing put forth world-renowned drivers Parnelli Jones and George Follmer.

The Trans-Am Boss 302 was the ultimate road-racing 'pony' car of its time. After a disappointing Trans Am season in 1968, Ford spared no expense in developing the Boss 302 race cars. During the first month or two of 1969, Ford built 10 'plain Jane' Mustang fastbacks, equipped with four speed transmissions as the only option. These were complete cars but had no paint, sealers, or undercoating. The cars were sent to Ford’s in-house concept and competition car builder, Kar Kraft, where most of the modifications were done. They were stripped completely down to the last fastener and rebuilt into race cars. During this early phase, the factory team cars were actually built a lot differently from the procedure described in Ford’s own Boss 302 modification books - even though some of the same parts were used. Kar Kraft began from the bare shell, building and welding permanent roll cages into them that not only increased their safety aspects but also helped to stiffen the chassis. To save weight, further improve strength and improve the aerodynamic profile, all the cars’ protruding flanges and seams on the unit body were trimmed back and welded solid. Front suspension wishbone mounting positions were relocated, upper and lower, for better suspension geometry and these arms were strengthened by adding gussets and steel plates across the wishbone. Even the rubber bushings that connected them to the unitary structure were replaced by pivot bearings. As a function of the suspension relocation, the spring perches on the upper control arms were moved in about an inch to allow for added tire sidewall clearance from the heavy-duty coil springs employed. Likewise, the rear leaf springs were about 3/4" narrower than stock for added tire clearance.

It should be mentioned that the Trans-Am series rules did not allow the chassis' track width to be any wider than that of the production car, so in order to get larger tires to fit, the wheels and tires had to be moved inward. Likewise, wheels could not be any wider than 8", so Goodyear and Firestone developed special Cantilever Sidewall tires, which put a 10" width footprint of rubber on the ground. Ford and Shelby would both use 15" Minilites and American Racing magnesium wheels. The cars’ sway bars, drag link and tie rods were replaced by heavier-duty units that also were designed for improved bump steer. Full floating rear end assemblies were used and held in place by a Watts linkage and double-adjustable aluminum Koni shocks. The special rear suspension also included a unique rear sway bar as well as two over-rider traction arms, all held in place with Heim joints. The front strut rod bushings likewise replaced with Heim joints. Solid aluminum castings replaced the stock sway bar and leaf spring mounting bushings for an addition weight savings.

Under the hood, the engine and transmission rested on solid mounts. The Boss 302 engines were fully-blueprinted and had O-ringed heads, titanium valves and special heavy duty short blocks to handle the extreme compression and stresses of endurance racing. The oil pan fed no fewer than three separate oil pickups - the next best thing to a dry sump system, prohibited by Trans Am. Atop each engine, two large Holley 1230 CFM Dominator carburetors were fed by fresh air ducted to them from the grill area. On the other side, the engine fed stainless-steel exhaust headers lined up side by side under the car for improved ground clearance and led to large exhaust pipes that dumped out in front of the rear wheels. On all but our subject car, the fuel filler neck was integrated into the top of the deck lid and fed a 22 gallon fuel cell. To bring all of this to a halt, the largest brakes in Ford’s parts bin were the four piston binders adapted from the Lincoln division, while rear discs (not a production option on any Fords of the era) were adapted to the rear axle from those found on the front of an early Mustang. Body ducting brought fresh, cool air to the cars’ brakes, while the fenders also had mildly-flared lips.

From Kar Kraft, the cars were delivered semi-finished to both Bud Moore and Carroll Shelby. Each team had two primary cars and from two to four backup machines. Kar Kraft would build only three of the cars for the 1969 season; this car, chassis 9F02R-112074 was the second race car prototype built side-by-side with 112073, itself used initially for wind-tunnel testing, a mechanical test car and perhaps most-importantly, Ford’s primary media car. As it was needed out on the road, this first prototype did not appear until the fourth event of the season at Bridgehampton where it debuted in the blue livery of the Shelby team while this car, 112074 was built as a one-of-a-kind "Daytona Special" for more immediate use. Unlike its sister car, it was built with 2 inches cut from the radiator support and a wedge taken out of the side panels in the engine compartment. As a consequence of this, the fenders had to be notched around the doors because of the slope of the front sheet metal; double frame rails were also made for it and a NASCAR side fuel fill was fitted as aforementioned.

Consequently, while 112073 was used for testing and promotion, 112074 is of note in that it was the first Boss 302 powered Mustang to participate in competition. Its debut took place at Daytona in February of 1969 at the NASCAR Citrus 250 event under the direction of racing director Bud Moore and driven by Parnelli Jones. As the season progressed, more black and red Ford team cars entered the team’s stable, 112074 continued to be driven by both Jones and Follmer during the season, who used their own numbers on the team cars - #15 or #16 - depending on who was driving.

It was this war between Ford’s revolutionary new Mustang Boss 302 and Chevrolet’s recognizable Camaro Z/28 that made the '69 Trans Am year legendary. While the combined front of both Shelby and Bud Moore-prepared Mustangs were fast, reliable and stout and the Boss 302 engine thrived on preparation and thus high speeds, it was not enough. The Mustangs could only stay close to the Camaros in the manufacturers' championship, even though it must be noted that the Camaros only won half as many races. Ford ended the year second, 64 points to 78.

As one of two of the surviving Bud Moore cars out of six built for the season and the first one to see competition during that season, the car on offer here represents perhaps the ultimate opportunity to acquire the most significant Trans Am Factory Team Car ever available for public sale. In the hands of the current vendor for more than 20 years, it is without a doubt fully-certified, documented, and registered by both the Historic Trans-Am Registry and the Federation International de l'Automobile.

It should also be noted that this car, 112074, was not only used by the Bud Moore squad but also under the direction of Shelby American since both teams took their orders from Ford and as such is listed as a Shelby Trans-Am team car in the Shelby American World Registry. Not only is this the prototype, the Daytona Special but it is indisputably the sole Trans-Am Mustang to enjoy the honor of having been used by both teams.

Today, only 4 1969 Ford or Shelby Team cars survived. They are this one, the later-production #16 car driven primarily by George Follmer and bearing the chassis number 148623 as well as the #1 and #2 Blue Shelby Team cars. While 1969 was not the winning year for Ford that 1970 would prove to be, this icon of motorsports history speaks to the magic that would unfold the following year from the research, engineering, development and success that this car and its siblings helped to inaugurate.