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Build a Boss or buy a 302S

Ive been struggling with this decision for a while so I figured its about time I get some expert opinions.

I currently own a 2013 boss 302 that I have always planned to turn into a race car to compete in American Iron. As I get deeper and deeper into modifying the car it's becoming apparent that not only would it be more logical to sell it and purchase a Boss 302S but also cheaper.

As the good people at Hallett told me "A street car can never be as fast as a real race car." I really enjoy the aspect of building the car myself but if it's not going to be competitive and be stupid expensive/time consuming wouldn't it be better to sell it and pull the trigger on a used 302S? Or should I keep the car, enjoy building it and still have the luxury of having a car with a vin number?
 
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There is nothing that special about a 302S. You can buy all of the parts to turn your car into a 302S. In my opinion, cost is the major consideration. If you have already extensively modified your car and it just needs a cage, then you might consider using your existing car.

On the other hand, if you have to do much beyond adding a cage, then yes, buying a nice 302S would be cheaper. Especially if you sell your existing car.
 

Bill Pemberton

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Ouch , such a hurtful statement, ha,ha. Seriously there is more to a 302S than just a cage ( fire suppression, AIM system, rear wing, etc. to name a few) , but either way you can have a competitive machine and you just need to look into whether you want to invest in all the things that will be needed? I would suggest doing a list of things you would need to compete in American Iron, as the cost could be cheaper with your car, if you find a Boss 302S with upgraded mods. Using myself as an example , I would have to get rid of my extra rims, Cobra Intake, Cobra throttle body and more , to compete in American Iron - just to name a few items. So if you have determined the Class you want to run , do an analysis of what you need to get it in under the rules. Sometimes a race car can cost more for certain classes ( since it needs detuned or modified ) and other times it is the best alternative.

Of course with a Vin , you can drive back and forth to the Gas Station or cruise in it once in awhile ( car shows, parades, etc. ) , whereas a pure race car is only eligible to drive at the track --- interesting thought?

Pic below of the not so special #18 of only 50 built in 2013.
 

Bill Pemberton

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Two simple answers --- you can drive on the street and easy to insure ( for value, theft , etc. )

Another option is the Vin validates it and gives you a range of classes you can run Autocrossing, whereas no Vin lends itself to very few and usually classes that compete against super modified cars.
 
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Depends on what you want to do. The 302S is just parts and *most* are available. The really cool and specific stuff would be the Custom 302S wiring, ECU and some other small bits that are hard to find. But all in all the 302S is just a parts Bin car, you can buy the parts and build one yourself.
 

Bill Pemberton

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True , but one really needs to assess the overall cost and decide what limits one wants or doesn't want. The other point one has to make is that the Boss 302S is considered by many as a Collectible RaceCar/Mustang , just like the CobraJet or the Camaro COPO cars, so it should be factored in based on each individuals long term goals. Race cars do not have a tendency to go up in value ( speaking from 30 years of selling Performance machines ), but at least the Boss 302S or the new Mustang GT4 , have a basis for stability or a lower loss in value ( maybe even and increase very long term ?)

PS - Shortbus you have a PM ( conversation )
 
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racer47

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I would highly recommend looking into a used TA2 car because its legal for SCCA GT2 regionals and nationals. These cars are currently the best value in road racing in my opinion. Its a real race car with many stock car (oval track) parts, which bring the costs down greatly, its easy to adjust, easy to work on, very fast, and you are not breaking street car a-arms or motors or trans. It also has minimal wiring bs, (no street car harness). Plus it won't take 2 years and a constant outlay of money to build a car that runs at the back of the pack until you spend another year or two with on track development and sorting it out.

But TA2 / GT2 is a real race car, not for autox, not street legal. Anything street legal is just not going to be competitive anyway. You need to decide if you want to race or if you want a street car.

Heres one for $50k. Yeah its not cheap but in 5 yrs it will still be worth most of that if you want to sell it. You will spend a lot more than you think to build a spec iron car and it will not hold its value. Plus it will cost more to run it per race than a real race car.

https://www.racingjunk.com/GT/18308...mustang&quickSearch=1&np_offset=0&from=search

Heres some info on the Howe chassis. Download the pdf link

http://howeracing.com/index.php/chassis-road-race/

I know I am in the minority here. But take some time and read through the build threads and the guys who race threads and take note of the time involved to build a car, the amount of money spent (like $9000 for a cortex cambered rear end), take note of the recurring motor issues, transmission issues ($3500+ for a magnum trans), suspension failures and on and on. Sure no race car is 100% durable, but a converted street car is way less durable as compared to a real race car.

I went to the Road America Trans Am race last month and talked to a lot of drivers, owners and crew members and they all said similarly great things about the TA2 cars. The shear car count proves that out as well. Teams are spending significantly more money to run production based TA3 Mustangs than they are to run a TA2 car which is significantly faster. I could go on but this is already long enough.
 
I thought a lot about this and decided that I would buy a 302S if I go down the race car path. While today I don't think I'm going down that path if I did it was strictly for HPDE events. You can certainly build one and probably build a better one if you have the skills, time and money (think Phoenix Performance or KoHR). I recently met with the Ford Racing engineer in charge of the 302S build and the Ford Performance engineer in charge of the FP350S and they are both big fans of buying one with the stitch seam welding.

A few reasons I'd go with a Ford Racing built 302S are:

1. Stitch seam welding on the 2013 and 2014 build cars. All 2014's have seam welding and many of the 13's have it as it was an option. It was not an option on the 2012 cars.
2. I like the fact that the car started life as a purpose built race car which means a harness without all the BS associated with a street car, ECU etc.
3. The car is serialized and I believe they will hold their value better than a custom built car. See Bill's comments above.
4. I don't want to spend the time to build one. I'm an instant gratification guy. I want a car that I can buy and take to the track the next day.
5. If you ever have questions or need help with the car both Ford Performance and Watson Racing are a phone call away.
6. I like the idea of buying a purpose built car that has a championship winning history.

Also to Bill's point above I think the cost of ownership, buying a used FR 302S, could be less especially if you buy a relatively unmolested one like Bill purchased.
 

Bill Pemberton

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Racer 47 has some great points as have seen this often with friends/customers who built cars. It was one of my main reasons to want to find a purpose built race car, but everyone has their own priorities and some like the idea they built the car themselves --- usually, though not always, it is more costly to build.
 
I would highly recommend looking into a used TA2 car because its legal for SCCA GT2 regionals and nationals. These cars are currently the best value in road racing in my opinion. Its a real race car with many stock car (oval track) parts, which bring the costs down greatly, its easy to adjust, easy to work on, very fast, and you are not breaking street car a-arms or motors or trans. It also has minimal wiring bs, (no street car harness). Plus it won't take 2 years and a constant outlay of money to build a car that runs at the back of the pack until you spend another year or two with on track development and sorting it out.

But TA2 / GT2 is a real race car, not for autox, not street legal. Anything street legal is just not going to be competitive anyway. You need to decide if you want to race or if you want a street car.

Heres one for $50k. Yeah its not cheap but in 5 yrs it will still be worth most of that if you want to sell it. You will spend a lot more than you think to build a spec iron car and it will not hold its value. Plus it will cost more to run it per race than a real race car.

https://www.racingjunk.com/GT/18308...mustang&quickSearch=1&np_offset=0&from=search

Heres some info on the Howe chassis. Download the pdf link

http://howeracing.com/index.php/chassis-road-race/

I know I am in the minority here. But take some time and read through the build threads and the guys who race threads and take note of the time involved to build a car, the amount of money spent (like $9000 for a cortex cambered rear end), take note of the recurring motor issues, transmission issues ($3500+ for a magnum trans), suspension failures and on and on. Sure no race car is 100% durable, but a converted street car is way less durable as compared to a real race car.

I went to the Road America Trans Am race last month and talked to a lot of drivers, owners and crew members and they all said similarly great things about the TA2 cars. The shear car count proves that out as well. Teams are spending significantly more money to run production based TA3 Mustangs than they are to run a TA2 car which is significantly faster. I could go on but this is already long enough.

Great information thank you for your response. What else can you tell me about TA2? Is it more cost efficient than other classes? Am I going to need a team of engineers to run a car like that? What else makes TA2/ GT2 the class to be in as opposed to american iron?
 

racer47

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Great information thank you for your response. What else can you tell me about TA2? Is it more cost efficient than other classes? Am I going to need a team of engineers to run a car like that? What else makes TA2/ GT2 the class to be in as opposed to american iron?

This is a typical response. Many guys are intimidated by race cars. They feel much more comfortable with modified street cars.

Its more cost efficient because you will not be breaking / replacing production car parts and the wear out items are cheaper (rotors, pads, etc). You don't need to be a race engr to run it. In fact you will learn a lot by racing a car that is adjustable. In a couple years of GT2 racing, you will be well on your way to being a race engr. A couple years of spec iron and you'll be tired of fixing car problems and tired of trying to drive around handling problems.

Just look at the last section in the Howe info.....

12 Each Howe chassis comes with a comprehensive owner's
manual. The 2017-18 manual is 65 pages of instructions, schematics
and specs. The book covers set-up and handling adjustment as well
as maintenance procedures, torque specs, recommend spare parts,
required tools and gear/speed charts. Monthly technical bulletins are
emailed to active TA2 teams during the racing season.


This manual alone is super valuable. Guys here and on other sites debate endlessly over what adjustment does what and by how much. How about getting first hand info from the chassis designer???? That kind of race info is priceless. Just try to find 1/100th of that kind of data for any production based car.

Plus you would be driving a real race car that correctly responds to driver inputs and chassis changes. An american iron car is overweight, the cg is way too high, there is too much nose weight, there is too much flex in everything, many suspension things that need to be adjusted are difficult or impossible to adjust. The only guys who really like production based race cars are the ones who never drove a purpose built race car because after you've driven one, you know first hand that there is no comparison.

I hope this doesn't come off harsh. I'm not trying to offend anyone and anyone's cars. These are just the facts as I see it after 30+ years of racing including street cars, SCCA GT1, IMSA GTO, super late models (including a touring series), etc. I've been around a while. While I like my silver GT street car, I also know that it is light years away from my old GT1/GTO Goodyear T-Bird race car.
 
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Depends on what you want to do. The 302S is just parts and *most* are available. The really cool and specific stuff would be the Custom 302S wiring, ECU and some other small bits that are hard to find. But all in all the 302S is just a parts Bin car, you can buy the parts and build one yourself.

This was my point about the 302S not being special. Its a great car and a bargain for what you get. In the OPs case, it really does come down to an analysis of time and money.

I am either going to cage my own car, which has a lot more modifications than most on this board, buy a 302S, buy a TA2 car, or wait until I can afford a FP350S.

No matter what the option, I am moving to a fully caged car in the next couple of years, and sooner if I can come up with the money. As Racer47 has pointed out, the TA2 cars are a lot of bang for the buck and are cheaper to run than my Boss.
 
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Build it. Get SOME of the parts that are better than what comes on a 302S and even if not street legal. Keep a day use permit in your pocket to drive it around every once in a while (AAA will give you one with no specific date on it). Keep the headlights and tail lights of course. Otherwise, you can make a street car very competitive. Especially in AI, you can get an SLA which would make it more competitive. Look at the K&N car. Not sure if you can add a cambered rear end for AI, but I do not see why not. You would be way faster than a normal 302S.

Of course cost is a factor. As for time, I took enormous satisfaction that I built a race car out of a street car in my own garage. Now to just finish up some things and get out to the races. This is where the cost factor comes in. LOL
 
Build it. Get SOME of the parts that are better than what comes on a 302S and even if not street legal. Keep a day use permit in your pocket to drive it around every once in a while (AAA will give you one with no specific date on it). Keep the headlights and tail lights of course. Otherwise, you can make a street car very competitive. Especially in AI, you can get an SLA which would make it more competitive. Look at the K&N car. Not sure if you can add a cambered rear end for AI, but I do not see why not. You would be way faster than a normal 302S.

Of course cost is a factor. As for time, I took enormous satisfaction that I built a race car out of a street car in my own garage. Now to just finish up some things and get out to the races. This is where the cost factor comes in. LOL

Forgive me if I am mistaken, but I believe that AI mandates stock shock locations which would outlaw the SLA in any class except for unlimited.
 

Wolvee

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I'm a bit out of my element to give a lot of insights but I thought the Seam welding is something that is the foundation of every great competitive race car?

Would it be better to strip and mod what you already have? ..maybe buy a non-titled frame of any trim level and start there? They can be had for just a few Hundred $$.
 

racer47

Still winning after 30+ years
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SE WI
I'm a bit out of my element to give a lot of insights but I thought the Seam welding is something that is the foundation of every great competitive race car?

Would it be better to strip and mod what you already have? ..maybe buy a non-titled frame of any trim level and start there? They can be had for just a few Hundred $$.

The requirement of seam welding just proves that even new body in white production cars are not really made for racing. The seam welding helps with all the flex but the true foundation of a race car is a purpose built tube frame.

frame.jpg

Sure you can buy a bare street car relatively cheap but then you spend $50,000 on parts and 2,000 man hours on labor and the result is a race car worth about $35,000.
 
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