I should know better by now every time I think RK Motors Charlotte has found the nicest example of a rare car, another shows up that completely blows the curve. As hard as it is to believe, this Grabber Blue Boss 302 is even nicer than the one we featured a few months ago, which was widely regarded to be one of the finest in the world. But as you’ll see, there’s another step up from mere concours condition, and that’s called Thoroughbred. Not merely exactly and precisely finished in every way, Thoroughbreds are not even filled with fluids and are not drivable, although they are complete and ready to drive with the addition of fluids. Anything other than original or NOS parts are not permitted. The goal is to create a 100% date-code correct car, including hardware and all the small components, and the judges check every single number on every single part during competition. There are only a handful of cars in the world that can qualify for this status, and this one is a three time Mustang Club of America Thoroughbred Gold winner, judged by Bob Perkins, the National Head Judge of Authenticity for the MCA. If you seek absolute, unquestionable authenticity and a car that is off-the-charts exact in every single way, a Thoroughbred is the right choice for you.
This Boss is a rolling treasure trove of NOS parts, and required 7.5 years to fully restore to its current condition. It carries all its original sheetmetal except for the left front fender which was replaced with an NOS piece still wearing its original factory red primer, and the Shaker hood which was apparently installed decades ago using factory components. It was rust-free when the work started, placed on a rotisserie so every single nook and cranny could be refinished properly, and the workmanship, as you’ll see, isn’t so much perfect as factory correct. That’s the essence of Thoroughbred competition, and it emulates the Corvette competitions where an over-restored car is an incorrect car. Panel gaps were set to factory specifications, no more and no less, and assembly line techniques were duplicated in its construction. The paint is single stage acrylic enamel, not modern urethane, and uses the original DuPont Grabber Blue formula to make this car look like they did in 1970. Tom Mitchell, the training manager at the Indianapolis DuPont Training Center applied the finish, and if anyone knows how to spray paint, it’s Tom. The finish is as perfectly exact as you can create today, and by perfectly exact, I mean the way the factory applied it. Correct Boss 302 stripes were applied, and today it looks exactly as it would have when it was rolling off the assembly line just prior to be test-fired and moved for shipment.
Chrome and other trim is NOS, not refinished or replated,it''s impossible to duplicate production line finishes in small batches because modern chrome processes are different than they were in 1970. The stainless was polished and straightened wherever necessary, and if replacement was required the new parts were NOS. All the glass is period-correct, not reproduction stuff, and it’s amazing that it still exists. Lenses, badges and emblems are the same deal, and the work involved in tracking down all these components never mind paying for them is simply mind boggling.
The engine is the original VIN-stamped 302 cubic inch V8, fully rebuilt to stock specifications, and filled with its original components, not replacements. The only non-original components are a set of eight standard-bore TRW replacement pistons and an NOS intake manifold. The carburetor wears its original tag, and was rebuilt by Holley Custom Service at their factory in Tennessee. Original components include the distributor, smog system, all brackets and pulleys, radiator and shroud, cooling fan, exhaust manifolds, heat shield, and snorkel. Even the air filter is an NOS Boss 302 piece, not a reproduction, and the hoses are four decades old. Those decals you see throughout the engine bay are originals, not new, and even the tag hanging from the radiator was printed in 1970. In case you’re wondering where such a cache of amazing components came from, many of them were supplied by Bob Perkins who is also the world’s foremost authority on the Boss 302. The rest, well, is it really a surprise that the restoration took seven-and-a-half years?
The wide-ratio four-speed manual transmission is also the original, numbers matching piece which is verified with a correct VIN stamp and original tag marked RUG-AV1. In back, the factory 9-inch rear is still in place, including the original 3.50 gears and Track-Lok limited slip, as well as the nodular iron case and axle tag. You won’t be surprised to learn that the other components are factory-issue, including the entire front suspension and steering system. Every piece of the braking system is NOS, including the hoses, brake pads, shoes, drums and caliper supports. That beautiful gas tank hanging in back is fresh out of the Ford box, not a reproduction, and uses correct Ford lines and hoses to feed the original fuel pump. Even the exhaust system, including hangers and clamps, is OEM from 41 years ago. Of course, it goes without saying that all the original factory markings have been reproduced, and the chassis was painted the way Ford did it, complete with Grabber Blue overspray on the floors. Perhaps the most astounding find was a set of low-mileage take-off wheels, tires, and even lug nuts; yes, that''s correct, those are original F60-15 Goodyear Polyglas tires on factory Magnum 500 wheels.
The black vinyl bucket seat interior will blow you away. By now, you know that it isn’t an upholstery kit, but factory stuff throughout. The high-back bucket seats use correct comfort weave covers, and it may very well be original foam underneath. The driver’s door panel, steering wheel and console are NOS, but everything else simply speaks to the amazing preservation and restoration work that this car received. With near-perfect wood grain on the dash and console, new carpets and headliner, and highly authentic gauges, the car looks like new in every way; not perfect, but like new and that''s the Thoroughbred difference. And again, things like the decals on the windows are vintage pieces not reproductions that make the car exceptionally accurate. The trunk features an original space-saver spare, inflator bottle, and jack assembly, as well as correct decals on the underside of the lid.
Documentation, as you might think, is meticulous. The car includes the original window sticker, Number 2 gate release from Lois Eminger, an owner’s manual, warranty booklet, a deluxe Marti Report, and some period Ford literature including a pair of Ford muscle parts books. There are also hundreds of photos of the restoration, early photos of the car with its original flat hood, and title and registration information from the past. The car has also appeared in magazines, including the August 2007 issue of Mustang Monthly and the July 1993 issue of Motor Trend, prior to the restoration. The car has already won every major award that’s possible, including three Thoroughbred Awards of Excellence.
In short, there might be one or two cars out there better than this, but it’s unlikely. The cost of this restoration is likely more than twice the asking price on the car, and a vehicle with this collection of NOS parts will never be duplicated again because the parts simply don’t exist anymore. By now you should have a pretty good idea of what goes into a Thoroughbred Mustang, and if you’re the kind of collector who seeks out the best of the best, this is unquestionably it. The most authoritative experts in the hobby have examined this car before, during, and after the restoration and pronounced it as close to factory exact as a car can achieve. Extreme? Perhaps. But for some, there is simply no compromising authenticity and it’s no surprise that only a handful of cars have ever earned these awards. If you’re one of those no-compromise guys, we have your car. Call today!