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Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Long Lost Boss 302 Concept Has Finally Been Found


Copyright © 2015 Bold Ride LLC.

If you ever have a conversation about automotive icons, one name is bound to come up no matter where you are or whom you’re with. That name is Larry Shinoda. For those that have never heard of Shinoda, he is the man responsible for the Corvette Sting Ray Coupe, the Mako Shark Concept, and the Ford Mustang Boss 302, and it’s the legacy of the Boss 302 we want to talk about today.

In 1968, Ford had just poached GM executive Bunkie Knudsen to be the president of the company. With that, one of the first things Knudsen did was steal Shinoda from GM as well. Shinoda had worked for GM and helped Zora Arkus-Duntov refine both the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray and 1968 platforms and had been the leading voice in building the split window iteration.


With that history behind him, as well as helping polish the Chevy Corvair, Shinoda went over to Ford to help build the first Boss 302. Based off a then-current-generation Mach 1 Mustang Cobra Jet and using a 429 cubic inch engine, the original Boss concept car was nothing more than an appearance package (It was a 429, but it had 302 badging). The Mustang toured the country and after was sold off to a friend of Shinoda’s.

After that, the car was lost and essentially became a myth among Mustang enthusiasts. Talked about only in hushed tones and whispers, no one knew where the very first Boss 302 Mustang had gone or what had become of it. Was it rotting in a shed somewhere? Or was someone holding onto the Mustang, only to be brought out when the time was right? For years people wondered about the concept car, and so did one Mustang owner.


John Grafelman has always been a fan of Fords, and remembers reading about Shinoda’s long lost Boss prototype. He remembers thinking how cool it would be if he would someday own that historic car. In a twist of fate, he already did.

According to John who spoke with HotRod, he bought a 1969 Cobra Jet fastback a while ago from some farmer who told him that the car had some type of Ford history, but he wasn’t sure what kind of history. Through the years, the Mustang was used as a daily driver before finally retiring itself to John’s barn where it sat for years and years. That is until his son started researching his dad’s old Mustang.


Things weren’t adding up to be a normal Cobra Jet fastback. Pieces of the car seemed to be handmade, and production looking pieces weren’t correct in their dimensions. Then his son found the initials LB on the Momo steering wheel around the horn ring. His son informed his dad about the initials, and John remembered that Shinoda’s personal Corvette had the same type of initials but instead read LC: “Larry’s Corvette.”

After tracking down more information on the car, it quickly became apparent that John was indeed the owner of the long lost Mustang Boss Concept. Who would have thought in a million years that they actually owned a piece of forgotten history and that it was sitting under a pile of hay. John has plans to now restore the car and then show it off to the public, taking it around the country. We can’t wait to see how it turns out.