We can assure you of several things relating to Mark Hovander’s 1970 Boss 302 Mustang. One, it has never been sold at an auction. Two, it isn’t the most pristine Boss 302 you’ve ever seen. Three, it has a Ford over-the-counter induction system you may not have seen, and four, it has a remarkable story far beyond its stature as a retail example of Ford’s SCCA Trans-Am-winning homologation effort. Let’s dig in.
When Mark was but a teenager in the late 1970s, he was captivated by Ford Mustangs. When he was 16, his first car was a nice 1965 coupe powered by a pedestrian 289. Mark soon connected with fellow sophomore classmate Pat Gillen, whose older brothers Mike and Ed already owned several high-performance Mustangs, including Boss 302s, a Boss 429, and a Shelby G.T. 500. Through the Gillen brothers, Mark was quickly enamored by these topflight steeds, and set his sights on upgrading from his ’65 as soon as possible. Pat was of the same mind, and the two soon landed summer jobs on an Alaska-bound fishing boat. As far as high school jobs went for kids living in Seattle, these were among the best-paying gigs imaginable—the cost of admission being endless hard work on a boat for three months straight. Says Mark about those days, “One financial benefit of working on a boat in Alaska was that there was no limit to the hours you might have to work per day, and no place to spend the money since we were almost always at sea.”
While looking much like a stock Cross Boss engine might have appeared, had the factory done such a thing, the V-8 beneath has been warmed up with a custom Steve Long camshaft and forged Diamond pistons. Inline Autolite carbs came in two configurations: 875 and 1,425 cfm. The 875-cfm carb was intended for road racing and the 1,425 for “unlimited racing classes such as Formula A and modified drag.” Mark’s carb is an 875, with custom fuel lines bent up by Wicked Fabrication. An initial dyno test indicated that at a conservative 5,500 rpm, Mark’s Cross Boss was up on the stock induction by 25 horsepower, but down on torque by 10 lb-ft.