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The Boss 302 Mustang was a Ford Mustang high performance variant produced in 1969 and 1970. It was produced for the Trans Am racing series, while the Mustang Boss 429 which was produced the same years was built around a larger engine.


The Camaro/Mustang rivalry had begun in 1967 with the introduction of the Camaro by Chevrolet. The Camaro was the largest threat to the lead Ford had in the "pony car" field, a niche of car manufacturing largely created by Ford with the introduction of the Mustang in mid-year 1964. Despite the lead Ford had in this field, the performance of the Mustang did not stack up to that of the Camaro. The small block and big block Chevrolet were more than a match for the 289 and 390 Fords placed in the Mustang. Ford, in an effort to burnish their "total performance" image introduced the 428 Cobra Jet in mid-year 1968, and in 1969, built one of Detroit's most interesting power plants, the Ford Boss 302 engine. The design was a composite engine using the "tunnel port" Windsor block and large Cleveland heads. The engine was fitted to Mustangs sold to the public in order to allow Ford to use the new engine to compete in the Trans-Am series.

The Boss 302 Mustang was designed by Larry Shinoda, a former GM employee. He placed the unique reflective "c-stripe" strips on the car, and eliminated the fake rear fender scoops found on the 1969 Mustang model. The distinctive styling included optional black horizontal rear window shades, blackout hood, and was one of the first production cars with a front spoiler and rear deck wing.

7,013 were produced of the better-known 1970 model which was offered for $3,720. It is recognized by the side "hockey" stripes which started along the top of the hood, along with the 1970 grille which replaced the 4 headlights with two vents in the outside position, retaining two headlights within the grille opening. The dual exhaust system was redesigned, along with the competition suspension and a standard Hurst shifter. The intake valves were smaller, and aluminum valve covers replaced the chrome.

The car came with standard disk brakes on the front, larger sway bars, heavier duty spindles, reinforced shock towers, a four speed transmission (all that was offered), and most importantly, the solid-lifter Boss 302 engine with its free-breathing Cleveland style heads, which had valves larger than most motors over a third larger in displacement. This "G Code" engine was underrated at .

The 1970 car could accelerate from 0- in 6.9 seconds. The quarter mile (~400 m) took 14.6 seconds at .

Boss 302 engine with the shaker hood scoop

Trans-Am racing

Boss 302 race car
The SCCA Trans-Am series (from which the famed Pontiac Trans-Am gained its moniker) was hugely popular in the late 1960s. A version of "stock-car" racing, the five-liter class saw Detroit build some impressive handling sedans to compete. The Boss 302 program was part of an effort by the Ford Motor Company to win the coveted SCCA Trans-Am Championship in 1969 and 1970. The factory effort was headed up by the famed Bud Moore, who fielded two cars in the 1970 season, and won the championship that year, edging out the entries of Roger Penske, who leading driver Mark Donohue lost out to George Follmer. The Penske cars had triumphed in 1968 and 1969. The Boss 302's direct competition in the 1970 series were the AAR Cudas, the Pontiac Trans-Am, the AMC Javelin, and the Penske Camaros. As the cars had to be homologated to compete, the Detroitmarker auto builders came up with interesting models to go racing with. The Ford entry for 1969 and 1970 was the Boss 302 Mustang.

Although Ford's Drag Pack option with a special oil cooler was never formally offered on the Boss 302, it was often included with the 4.30:1 rear axle ratio. This coveted option is recognizable when the hood is opened to reveal Ford's vertically mounted oil cooler in front of the radiator.


Production numbers were 1,628 in 1969 and 7,013 in 1970. Base Price in 1970 was about $3,720.


The Boss 302 is one of the most commonly reproduced among muscle car models and toys, with diecast models including Hot Wheels, Matchbox and ERTL American Muscle. It is commonly recognizable by the "hockey" side stripe, rear louvers and chin spoiler. The 1970 is the most popular, but there are also some 4-headlight 1969 models as well.

Many "Boss clones" have been created out of regular fastback cars due to the expense of the original automobiles.

In 2007, a pair of restored 1969 Boss Mustangs sold for $530,000.


In 2007, Saleen and American Racing Legend, Parnelli Jones, created a limited-edition version of the Mustang. Though often called the Saleen/Parnelli Jones S302, it was designed to pay homage to the legendary 1970 Boss 302 that Parnelli Jones had raced in back in the Trans Am series against Javelins, Camaros and Cudas. Equipped with a Saleen MOD 302 cid 3-valve V8, the S302 makes and of torque. On the outside, the S302 features a new front fascia, Saleen "Shaker" hood, rear window louvers, rear deck wing, hockey shaped side stripes, and custom Saleen/Parnelli Jones edition wheels. Production of this car was limited to only 500 cars..

According to Hot Rod Magazine, a new series of "Boss" engines will soon be available in both the Mustang and F-150 with the 302 becoming the standard engine for the Mustang GT and either a 5.8 or 6.1 liter available in a Boss Mustang.


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