A horticulturist by trade, Richard Bosley was a sports car enthusiast deeply involved in the burgeoning motorsports world during the 50s and 60s.
Despite having received no formal engineering training, Bosley set about building a one-off sports car in the early 1950s, using parts from Ford, Mercury, and Chrysler, clothed in a fiberglass body of his own design and manufacture. This vehicle, known as the Bosley Mark I, was driven more than 100,000 miles before being retired.
Over time, the Mark I fell into obscurity until finally discovered and restored and ultimately shown at the 1996 Pebble Beach Concours, taking 1st place in the American Sports and Most Exciting Car and again at the 2011 Pebble Beach Concours, where it took 2nd place in Class O-2 Postwar Sports Closed. This magnificent one-off car now resides at the Petersen Museum.
The story doesn’t end there, however, because the Mark I wasn’t “sold”; rather, it was actually traded for a racing Corvette chassis that would become the foundation for his next one-off: the Bosley Mark II. Richard Bosley saw the change in the U.S. transportation system from Route 66 to major Interstate highways as an opportunity to build his next car.
Work began on the Mark II in the late 50s with the car being completed in its final form in 1966. According to Bosley’s own spec sheet for the Mark II—which he would ultimately call the Interstate, for its intended driving medium—his purpose for the car was for “driving in comfort and safety over the interstate highways and for the aesthetic pleasure of good automotive design.”
Bosley’s engineering and design approach was comprehensive, building scale models and testing various mechanical and design configurations to achieve his goals. The list of safety devices he incorporated into the car was impressive and ahead of its time: seat belts, head rests, reclining seats, tempered side windows, smoke-colored rear window, air horns, powerful engine, good visibility front and rear, special interior lighting, added lighting features on the front and rear of the car including a driving light and signal bar, strengthened frame, unit-construction fiberglass body, antilift windshield wipers, and built in roll bar. Items like this were rather forward thinking for the mid-1960s, when few of these items could be found as standard equipment (or even as options!) in production cars.
The Interstate received a 345-hp Pontiac V-8 tri-power engine, a corvette four-speed manual transmission, a 35-gallon fuel tank, Kelsey Hayes magnesium “Kidney Bean” center lock wheels, and a full stainless-steel exhaust system, along with Marchal air horns and headlamps.
In its time, several magazines wrote about the car and in 1967, it was invited to the Henry Ford Museum for the Fifteenth Annual Sports Cars in Review. In 1990, Automobile Magazine did a feature on Bosley and his Mark I and Mark Interstate; as recently as December 2015, Vintage Roadcar featured it in an article on 60s U.S. dream cars.
According to lengthy discussions with surviving members of Richard’s family, the Interstate was Richard’s “tour de force”: the car about which he was truly passionate and most proud, and the one Bosley felt would be something he could manufacture and sell to the public. Although hopes were high for the Interstate, he never made another one and this car, too, fell into obscurity. The body and major components were found in an abandoned warehouse in the early 90s.
Ultimately, the car was acquired by its current owner. Understanding the unique nature and story behind this car, they felt the investment was justified. As related in an article written for Vintage Racecar Magazine, the restoration of this car was almost derailed by a greedy restoration shop. Ultimately the restoration was saved and a complete forensic restoration was completed by Rare Classics Restorations in South Florida in just ninety-five days!
The Bosley family has contributed greatly to the restoration by providing incredible pictures and video of Richard building the car, as well as valuable insight on the evolution of the build and restoration.
The car was shown at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concourse d’ Elegance in the American Dream Cars of the 60s special class and recognized with a 2nd in class award. Members of the Bosley family attended the show to support the car. The car is now scheduled to attend several major concours over the next two years. Please experience it live!