Boss Brothers

After 36 years, you can go home again

Dave and Don Swanson are twins. They shared the same interest in cars and the same friends. And with the exception of their friend “Chev Kev,” Dave says, “Our group was into Mustangs.”

It all started when the twins got their driver’s licenses in 1973. First, Don found a Grabber Blue Boss 302, and as Dave recalls, “I went with him to look at it and I fell in love with the car on the spot.” Before long, Don found a white Boss 302 and tried to talk Dave into buying it. Dave, however, proved more persuasive and soon was the proud owner of the Grabber Blue car, while his brother agreed to buy the white one. With both twins driving Boss 302s, it wasn’t long before friends had dubbed them the Boss Brothers. Their parents were reasonably happy despite the fast cars, because they always knew their sons were working on their cars or at the drag strip. According to Dave, “I guess the drag strip explains all the working on the cars.” It also explains the faded photo showing half a dozen cars (mostly Mustangs) in the family driveway in suburban Chicago. The white Boss is up front, missing its hood and engine.

At various times other Mustangs called to Dave and Don, like a dealer’s Grabber Orange GT500 and a Black Jade Boss 429 they saw shredding tires at the drag strip. But both were out of reach. Eventually, to help fund college, Dave sold his blue Boss to Mike Brichetto, “a guy I worked with at the Gulf station,” with the usually forgotten stipulation that he’d have first right to buy the car back. They stayed in contact initially but soon lost touch.

In the mid-1980s, there were his and hers Mustang GTs for Dave and his wife, but as a family and responsibilities came along, those had to go. Meanwhile Don started collecting and trading cars, including a 1969 Shelby GT350. Next came another Grabber Blue 1970 Boss 302, which had been restored as part of a program at the Bolduc Correctional Facility in Warren, Maine. Ever the enabling brother, Don sold Dave the second blue car, before finding himself another white one so the Boss Brothers could ride again.

Then, about five years ago, Don bumped into Mike, who had bought Dave’s original Grabber Blue car in 1975. Dave and Mike soon renewed their friendship, punctuated with regular requests to buy back the car.

Finally, in 2012, Dave got his chance. And with a little help from his local Ford dealer, he managed to get a new limited-production Boss 302 Laguna Seca, which was included in the deal for Dave to buy back the 1970 Grabber Blue Boss 302 that had been such an important part of his growing up. It only took 36 years.

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