The Boss 302 SCCA Tech Inspection
© Walt Hane, Wolfgang Kohrn - May 12th, 2006, last updated on January 20th,.2007































All pictures from the personal Archive of Walt Hane


"It was fun to see the Ford Dog and Pony Show"  
Walt Hane reports about the BOSS 302 homologation, when he was SCCA Tech Inspector"
interview with Walt Hane (May 2006) about the
1969 SCCA TransAm Race Series and verifying American Manufacturers’ Production  

"I moved to Colorado in 1967. Then I bought a Sports Car Club of America (SCCA)  K Mustang A/S race car, which I still have. But, I wasn’t active in racing except as an instructor then. The SCCA TransAm series had gotten somewhat out of control in 1968.  Jim Patterson, working out of the National SCCA Office in Westport, Connecticut, was trying to handle the Series Technical Inspection using local SCCA Tech Inspectors at each race.

When the series came to Continental Divide Raceways at Castle Rock Colorado, Jim was there trying to handle tech. He had a Mustang drop on his arm while he was trying to check the front end. About that time, we met and discussed the series. Looking to get involved somehow, I suggested that SCCA might consider hiring me to straighten up the series in 1969. Needless to say, Jim was agreeable.  I sent them a proposal for handling the series the next year. It was accepted and I was off to the races. 

I was based out of my home in Colorado. But I spent considerable time at the national office, in early 1969, planning the technical end of the series. I was responsible for writing rules and verifying production on American, over two liter, car manufacturers. My task was to “cleanup the series”, but make sure all the participants got to MIS in the Irish Hills in Michigan for the first race. 

So off I went to Michigan to the manufacturers to meet with the responsible factory race people. American Motors wanted to run a hood scoop on their Javelins to put over the two Holley Dominator carburetors. Ford had paid for the development but AMC latched on to some of them. I believe they were very low volume sand castings. None of the production cars had received any hood scoops, as required by SCCA for use on the race cars. So I went with AMC guys to a fiberglass shop in Allens Park to make sure they were building 500 hood scoops. They sent those to unsuspecting Javelin owners around the country. 

When I went to Pontiac, I was told Jerry Titus had just preceded me. He had left Ford, to join the Pontiac Race Team, because of the tunnel port engine problems near the end of the 1968 season; He found out that Pontiac was developing a new motor for the 1969 TransAm series. What he saw was a shocker as it was another tunnel port engine all over again. And it didn’t work either. I met with Herb Adams, the engineer in charge of the TransAm program.  They had a line going to build the 500 engines to qualify for TransAm. They had destroked and decked the 400 to make a 305 cid engine. But the surface speed of the large diameter main bearings at high RPM was causing oiling problems. And all of Herb’s trick oil plumbing didn’t really solve the problem. So off to see Steve Malone, the Chief Engineer, we went. I decided to let them run the Chevrolet 305, as in the Camaro.

Since the team was sponsored by Terry Godsall from Canada, and Pontiac used those engines there, that was the reasoning. Anyway. It got them in the series with good engine potential.     

...., I was off to the Ford Division building in Dearborn at Rotunda and Southfield.  I had lived within a mile of that location and worked at the Dearborn Proving Ground, across the street, for 5 years in the 50’s. I had raced for these guys, through Shelby, in 1965 to early 1967.  I guess I knew what I was in for. 

I knew how they did their race programs.  Homer Perry was the contact man at Ford for the TransAm. Homer & I had worked together, (kinda), at Ford’s Vehicles Testing Department in the 50’s. He was a seasoned Senior Test Technician when I was a young engineer just out of college.  We got along, anyway, in the 50’s, and better in 1969, of course.  In fact, his wife, Betty, had a delicatessen in Dearborn. I used to hang out there between meetings, when I was in town that year.

As soon as I showed up at Homer’s, we were off to pick up John Cowley, Performance & Economy Manager, and head into Jacques Passino’s office. He was the head of Ford’s Special Vehicles department. After meeting Jacques, it was obvious he was the boss. His eyes were so penetrating that I wanted to turn around to see if he was looking at some one right behind me. 

Then it was off to the Executive Dining Room for lunch. We were joined by Cale Yarborough and some Ford NASCAR guys. After lunch, Lew Spencer, of Shelby American, joined us at the Ford River Rouge Plant to see all the Boss 302s coming down the assembly line.  

There were so many coming down the line, I figured that if they kept it up all year, there would be more Boss 302s produced than all other Ford’s put together. That included F150’s.  I learned later that they had pulled all the engines slated for the Cougar Eliminators to load up more Boss cars.  It was a real “Dog & Pony Show”.

I already knew they were serious about the Boss 302, but it was fun to see the show, anyway. They were taking the cars off the assembly and running them around and back down the line again. So, that night, I snuck into the Rouge plant and checked to see how many Boss cars were really in the get ready lot. Actually I found a number that didn’t have warm exhaust from multiple trips down the assembly line.

 They gave me a Boss car to drive that was right off the line. Roger Penske had mentioned that Ford had only built one street tunnel port Mustang in 1968 for the press to drive. So I took the Boss into the Dearborn Test, where I used to work in the 50’s. At the Experimental garage, several technicians took the engine out and took it apart for me to photograph. I have included these photos along with some from the assembly line “D & P Show”.

The loaner Boss was yellow and had the rear window slats. It really did turn heads. I drove it up to Chevrolet to meet with Vince Piggins and his crew. Vince suggested we leave the Boss for his guys to look at while we went to lunch at a local fast food place. I think John Pierce & Bill Howell went with us. After we came back, Vince’s guys gave me a list of the problem areas of the Boss car. These included a missing front stabilizer link pin. It seemed to go around corners pretty well, however, without it.

The yellow Boss 302, of which the engine was taken out for inspection at the Experimental garage

Engine taken apart  for Walt Hanes eyes during the SCCA tech inspection for homologation

Next, I flew over to Philadelphia and to Roger Penske’s Dealership on Chestnut Street. I showed him the photos of the Boss engine and assured him they were building required number of cars with those engines. I had the feeling that most of our conversation was for him to determine my remaining allegiance to Ford. I must have passed the test, because he didn’t ask SCCA to replace me.

After leaving that session, I went out to the race shop outside of Philadelphia. There, I met with my old friend, Mark Donohue. I had beaten him for the B/P national championship in 1966 when we were both running Shelby GT350’s. We had also spent time together during our first TransAm race event at Daytona in February 1967.  I remember he was busy working on getting the first Penske Indy 500 car developed.  As we know, that paid off for him in 1972. We went through the TransAm Camaro from one end to the other. He gave me a drawing of the Camaro cage. I have given copies of this to many would be Camaro racers over the years. 

After all this and a few more on going challenges, the first TransAm race took place in the Michigan Irish Hills at MIS with all of the interested manufacturers represented.  There was never a dull moment at that event and all those thereafter. These included the Camaro vinyl top incident & adjustable rear spoiler request.  We must not forget the droop snoot Mustangs, of course. Who would have ever guessed then, that 37 years later, I would be putting together a Boss car with just such a device? It was an exciting time then. I am glad I was a small part of it.  

Walt Hane



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