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Drag Pack - No

Drag Pak - Yes

introduction by Jeff Finley

"Look, that Mustang has an oil cooler. That's a Drag Pack car!" Maybe, but not if it has a BOSS 302 engine.
First, what is the Drag Pack? The words "Drag Pack" or "Drag Pak*" refer to Ford Motor Company's marketing name for an option (available on some but not necessarily all Ford/Lincoln/Mercury performance cars in the late 1960's and early 1970's) that MIGHT have included an oil cooler and a higher ratio rear axle gear. The oil cooler set-up consisted of the oil cooler assembly, upper and lower mounting brackets, an oil filter block adapter with special mounting bolt and oil adapter inlet and outlet hoses to and from the cooler assembly. It started with the 1969 428 SCJ Mustangs.
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The oil cooler mounts on the driver's side in front of the radiator support next to the hood latch. Putting the oil cooler on the radiator support forced both horns to be mounted on the passenger side of the hood latch. There is a reinforcement bracket in the radiator support behind the horns to support the horns being mounted side by side. A special jumper wire harness (sometimes referred to as the "oil cooler jumper") is used to electrically connect both horns in this position. The oil filter adapter mounts on the engine block in place of the oil filter. The oil filter is screwed to the adapter.

The theory behind the oil cooler is cars equipped with high ratio rear axle gears will have engines running higher RPMs. Higher RPMs mean more stress on the engine and the oil. Extra engine oil cooling via a remote mounted oil cooler could help reduce the stress.

Now you know what it is, what's the big deal? The big deal is there is confusion about the availability and factory installation of the so called Drag Pack on BOSS 302 Mustangs and Cougars and with which axle ratios. Original factory installed oil cooler cars are considered rare and can translate into big $$$$$$.$$ today when buying and selling these classic cars. It's catch phrases like "numbers matching" and "original factory option" that grab attention. People place a premium on original, as it came from the factory, condition. Where there is a premium, there is money to be made by distinguishing the object (in this case a car) from others with less distinction or originality.

Back when these cars were new, some oil coolers were installed by dealers or owners which is not the same as a factory installation. Today, the complete oil cooler set-up is being reproduced which means if someone has the money and inclination they can put an oil cooler on a car. There are cars advertised for sale with "factory Drag Pack." The question is, did the car originally come from the factory equipped with the oil cooler? Or was the oil cooler added after the car left the factory? How do you know?

After many years of debate, we finally have Ford documentation that proves there is no such thing as a BOSS 302 Mustang Drag Pack. Yep, that's right, even though you see BOSS 302 Mustangs with oil coolers on them they are not Drag Pack cars. Here's the proof:

Exhibit #1)

Product Development Letter 69SF-270 691/2 Mustang 302 HO Engine Program dated 11-13-68.
Final approval was given to a new sportsroof Mustang model with a base 302 high output engine to compete in the market segment currently dominated by the Camaro Z28. This product will contain comparable content to the Camaro Z28 with a modified engine with power equal or better than the base Z28 engine. A 351HO package will be considered at a later date.
Page 1-Timing is critical for an April 15 Job #1. Based on the mid-April start date, the projected volume for the Mustang is 1,500. 1970 planning volumes will be 10,000 Mustangs.
Page 3-Rear axle 3.50 non-locking axle standard with 3.50, 3.91, and 4.30 locking ratios optional.

Before the name BOSS 302 was created our beloved cars were known as the 302 HO or 302-4V HO program.


Exhibit #2)

Vehicle Assumptions for 69 1/2 Mustang Cougar 302-4V HO #X9A-288 dated 1-6-69.
Page 3-1.01 Body Structure-Mustang Only- Revise rear wheel opening flange area on both the outer wheelhouse panel and the quarter panel for the F60 tire clearance.
1.02 Body Front End-Mustang only Revise the wheel opening by rolling the flange similar to the Mustang 429 Nascar fender. Revise valence panel for F60 tire.
Page 4-3.02 Engine Lubrication- A new approximate 7 quart capacity “bulge sump” baffled oil pan is required. A remote engine oil cooler may be required for 3.91 and 4.30 axle ratios.
Page 7-11.07 Hydraulic Distribution RPO A power steering oil cooler is released pending cooling tests.
Page 8-13.06 Horn Left hand horn to be located similar to 428 CJ.

On a copy of the Vehicle Assumptions above dated 1-6-69, there are hand written corrections noting the cancellation of the special 7 quart oil pan.

Here is the first mentioning of an oil cooler. Another line of interest here is the one about the horns because it explains why you see some 1969 BOSS 302s with the horns mounted on the right side of the radiator. The note about the 428 CJ was driven by Exhibit #3 below. Ford was already planning an oil cooler for the 428 CJ to meet corporate requirements, namely engine oil temperature.


Exhibit #3)

Engine Oil Max Temps @ 90MPH and 100 DegF Report Dated
1-27-69. (Concern For Engine Bearing Life at elevated temps-study ongoing)
428CJ Mustang w 3.50 axle- 321 DegF (Bogey was 300 DegF)
Pontiac GTO 4.33 axle- 337 DegF
Camaro 396CID 3.55 axle- 322 DegF


Exhibit #4)

Minutes of Meeting #11- Mustang-Cougar 302 4V HO Engine Option dated 2-18-69.
Page 2-Engine and Foundry is proposing an oil cooler be added to the 302-HO engine with the 4.30 axle option. If required, the 4.30 axle option will not be Job 1. Oil cooler procurement spans were estimated at 20 to 22 weeks.

Here it is, two months from Job #1 and Ford is concerned about needing an oil cooler for the BOSS 302 to meet engine life requirements but the parts will not be ready in time for the 1969 BOSS 302. In fact, at those estimates, the parts might not meet Job #1 for the 1970 model year.


Exhibit #5)

Minutes of Meeting #12- Mustang-Cougar 302 4V HO Engine Option dated 2-28-69.
Page 2- Engine and Foundry- The 4.30 axle ratio will not be offered for Job 1. An engine oil cooler would be required. Availability (approximately 5 months) precludes Job 1.

Ford is choosing to delay the 4.30 axle ratio because the oil cooler is not ready. Notice so far we have not seen the words "Drag Pack" associated with the 302 HO.


Exhibit #6)

Product Development Letter 1969 Mustang-Boss 302 Program Summary 69SF-285 dated 3-19-69.
Page 2-Restricted Option Equipment (not available on Boss 302)
Axle ratios except traction lok 3.50, 3.91, or 4.30(requires oil cooler)

There, for the first time, we see the name BOSS 302.


Exhibit #7)

Letter on Axle ratio availability on Boss 302 and Cougar Eliminator 302 dated 4-21-69.
There is a temporary hold on 4.30 axle option. Dealers have been informed and are not taking orders for the 4.30 axle. If one should be received, I have been assured it would be rejected.

Now we see BOSS 302 with Cougar Eliminator 302 and the 4.30 axle being held back. How long is the hold? Still no Drag Pack.


Exhibit #8)

Product Development Letter 1970 Mustang Option Summary(All Mustang Models) 70SF-0-4-S2

Page 3 - 428 Option - Code 36 engine mandatory w/ 3.91 & 4.30 axle ratios. Merchandised as 'Drag Pack'."
Page 8-Drag Pack 70SFO-4-S1 Available with 428 engines only. Consists of 3.91 or 4.30 traction lock axle and heavy duty engine components.

Now we move on to the 1970 model year. Here the Drag Pack is mentioned being available only on the 428 engine. Interesting that this letter for all 1970 Mustang models does not mention the Drag Pack with the BOSS 302.


Exhibit #9

Cooling Sign Off dated 7-10-69.
Mustang Boss 302 vehicle is signed off with the 3.50 axle- test data with the optional axle ratios not made available. Max speed test(135MPH) without an engine oil cooler at the Arizona high speed track found 325 DegF engine oil after 10 miles with 100 DegF ambient.


Exhibit #10

Mustang sales brochure 5106--8-69

428 CID 4V Cobra V-8*

428 CID Cobra Jet Ram-Air 4V V-8*

*Optional Drag Pack includes Traction-Lok differential with 3.91 axle ratio or "No-Spin" locker with 4.30 axle ratio, plus these 428-cu. in. 4V engine modifications: engine oil cooler, cap screw connecting rods, modified crankshaft, flywheel and damper. Available with 428-cu. in. 4V non Ram-Air or Ram-Air V-8's.

Again, Drag Pack is 428 only.



1) No 1969 BOSS 302 Mustangs were produced with an oil cooler.

2) For 1970 BOSS 302 Mustangs, even if the car has an oil cooler with the 4.30 gear, the oil cooler is included only to meet an engineering requirement for engine life and there is no Drag Pack option on a BOSS 302 Mustang.

Remember the BOSS 302 Mustang was marketed as a Trans-Am race car you could drive on the street, not a drag race car.

DRAG-PAK* - The Cougar Story

by Jeff Finley with Frank Bowers

*No, the word "Pack" is not misspelled. Mercury used "Pak" on the invoice and in sales literature.
On October 20, 1969, the Lincoln-Mercury Division issued 1970 Service Bulletin Series Number 7. In it were instructions for installing an engine oil cooler on 1969 1/2 Cougars equipped with the BOSS 302 engine and 4.30:1 axle to reduce engine oil temperature.  It seems odd that from the exhibits above the 4.30 axle was to be put on hold but then why publish a service bulletin for something that wasn't supposed to be built?

From the exhibits above, same as Mustang, there were no 1969 BOSS 302 Cougar Eliminators equipped with an oil cooler. Any 1969 BOSS 302 Cougar Eliminator you find with an oil cooler had the cooler added after the car left the factory.

The Drag-Pak is listed in the 1970 Mercury Cougar sales brochure under the "Performance and Power Equipment section." In the Mercury Cougar sales brochure (Form No. M70-101, no date) the Drag-Pak is foot-noted as,

"Mandatory with 428 CID engine (with 3.91 or 4.30 axle ratios) and BOSS 302 (with 4.30 axle). Includes Traction-Lok with 3.91 axle ratio and Detroit Locker with 4.30 axle ratio, engine oil cooler, strengthened crankshaft, connecting rods, connecting rod bolts, piston pins and flywheel. NA (sic: Not Available) for any other applications."

There, not like Mustang BOSS 302, Lincoln-Mercury Division said the Drag-Pak was available with the BOSS 302 Cougar although we know the BOSS 302 engine did not get upgraded engine components.

Factory equipped Drag-Pak or Super Drag Pak Cougars are easy to identify through the factory documentation. If the Cougar came with a 3.91 rear axle gear and the oil cooler, it was called "Drag-Pak".  If the Cougar came with a 4.30 rear axle gear and the oil cooler, it was called the "Super Drag-Pak". The Super Drag-Pak shows on a Cougar invoice as seen below in this portion of the Ford No. 2 copy. Note the words "Super Drag_Pak Option."

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As far as we know, there were no 1970 BOSS 302 Cougar Eliminators built with the 3.91 gear and an oil cooler (just like the brochure stated, BOSS 302 with 4.30 only), thus there are no 1970 Drag-Pak BOSS 302 Cougar Eliminators. You will only find 1970 Super Drag-Pak BOSS 302 Cougar Eliminators.

Our Registry members came to this final Drag Pack summary after the long, often heated, debate was over:

Pre Feb. 22, 1969 428 CJ's = SCJ
With oil cooler (not on the invoice, includes SCJ engine components also not on the invoice).

Post Feb. 22,1969 428 CJ's = Drag Pack
With oil cooler (includes SCJ engine components, Drag Pack on the invoice).

Pre and post Feb. 22, 1969 Canadian 428CJ's = SCJ
With oil cooler (not on the invoice, but includes SCJ engine components also not on the invoice)

1969 BOSS 429 = No Drag Pack
With oil cooler. Started life as Q code SCJ car, making the oil cooler "package" automatic. No additional engine components.

1970 BOSS 429 = Drag Pack
With oil cooler, Drag Pack on the invoice. Started life as Q code SCJ car, making the oil cooler "package" automatic. No additional engine components.

1969 any Cougar with 428CJ = Drag Pak
With oil cooler, SCJ engine components, 3.91 or 4.30 gears, Drag Pak on the invoice.

1970 any Cougar with 428CJ = Drag Pak
With oil cooler, SCJ engine components, 3.91 gears, Drag Pak on the invoice.

1970 any Cougar with 428CJ = Super Drag Pak
With oil cooler, SCJ engine components, 4.30 gears, Super Drag Pak on the invoice.

1970 Cougar Eliminator BOSS 302 = Super Drag Pak*
With oil cooler, 4.30 gears, no additional engine components, Super Drag Pak on the invoice.

1970 BOSS 302 Mustang = "Oil Cooler Car"
With oil cooler, 4.30 gears, no additional engine components, not on invoice.

429 CJ = 429 SCJ Drag Pack "package"
Without oil cooler. 429 SCJ's were different than 429CJ's so there is a Drag Pack "package" on these which included different cams, intakes, carbs, air cleaners etc...

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This page last updated: January 02, 2015