He just had to have it
Gary Rosier - June 04, 2014 09:30 AM
It was 1984. A 1970 Boss 302 sat in pieces near Deland, Florida, facing an unknown fate. Enter David Samuel, who just had to have the Mustang.
By this point, Samuel had been trying to buy the car for years, despite its condition. Almost to the point of stalking, David was relentless. He finally convinced the owner to sell it in three installments, totaling $2,600 with the agreement that he would restore the car. That was 30 years ago.
Little did David realize the journey that awaited. A look into the past found that the car was involved in a minor accident in the early-’70s which had caused an in-dash fire. It was essentially totaled because David has the receipt where a fellow bought it in Hollywood, Florida, for $40 in 1974.
In 1984, David says this owner had all the parts and pieces scattered throughout his building, including the correct block. This was a service block (302 racing Boss block, a high nickel content block for strength), straight from Ford Motor Company. The early Boss engines were known for their piston skirts breaking, but this was original to this car. Present also were the original radiator, Toploader transmission with original four-speed Hurst shifter and the T-handle (aspects found on all Boss cars of the era). A rare Boss option was the center console, pass-thru trunk and in-dash tach. The car had the original (and rare) Boss carburetor as well as no rust. There were real Boss Argent wheels, which had painted centers and only the trim rings were chrome. Even the battery box was intact!
David set out to build a car in a manner that he and his wife could take it to various shows. Along the way, he discovered the build sheet, which changed everything. He started photographing and cataloging all the parts and pieces and gathering more history.
The car was originally built in Metuchen, New Jersey, on September 6, 1969. It was a real piece of automotive history. David had the time, money and expertise, so he did all of the work on this car, except for the actual machine work on the motor.
There were more discoveries along the way. He found the handwritten “Boss” on the inside panel. Once rolling down the assembly lines, workers would pull these cars over to the special 428 area. Here, these cars received a lot of Cobra Jet 428 items (Ford nine-inch rear with 3.50 gears and 32-spline axles/springs, etc.) In the process of bringing the Boss back to life, David used all NOS or original Ford parts. In three years, it was complete and on the road again. From there, it began to rack up awards at events like Mustang Club of America shows. Soon thereafter, David moved across the state to Cape Coral.
From here, the story takes another twist. The car was once again involved in a fire. It was 1998 and a light ballast in their garage caused an incident that damaged the car. Undaunted, David repaired the damage himself.
The next year, 1999, the car was stolen and remained missing for nine months. It was found by tracking down the owner of the storage facility where he had the car stored. He verbally threatened the guy and eventually the car was returned on a flatbed to him. The flatbed driver wanted to get paid, but David said, “I’m calling 9-1-1 as this car was stolen.” The guy left in a hurry and hasn’t been seen since.
With his special Boss now back, David autocrossed this car and even drag raced it for some added fun. In 2007, however, David was diagnosed with Stage 4 bladder cancer. Doctors told him he had about one to two years at most. His driving fun was replaced with open heart surgery due to complications from the blood clots from all the chemo. At this point, David decided that if he felt well enough, he would take the car apart one last time and do a full restoration on it. He was thinking that if he could hang in there long enough, he’d have something to leave his wife and child. He worked on the car in bits and pieces as his time would allow - sometimes only an hour or two a day. Chemo was taking its toll on a daily basis but he managed to make progress. He started feeling better and in 2011 (long after the “one to two years at most”) finally got the car finished.
The car started picking up awards again throughout Florida in 2012. It’s painted a beautiful Calypso Coral. David color sanded every bit of orange peel out because he says he likes it that way (and he didn’t want to risk a six-point reduction from judges).
This isn’t the happy ending you might expect to be inserted here. David’s childhood sweetheart, his wife Gaye, was undergoing a heart/artery procedure and had a massive stroke, ending her life. This car is now dedicated to her memory. They were sweethearts all their lives and he misses her terribly, but feels she‘s still with him because of this special car.