Conceived, engineered, and built for one purpose – to help Ford regain its early dominance in the wildly popular SCCA Trans-Am racing series – the 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 remains one of the finest and most collectible products to arise from Ford’s “Total Performance” era of the ’60s and ‘70s. It is also one of the most satisfying Mustangs to drive, with balanced driving dynamics and excellent handling to match its high-winding 302 cubic-inch V-8 engine.
- 302 cid V-8 engine
- 290 HP
- Toploader 4-speed manual transmission
- independent front suspension with unequal-length A-arms
- coil springs and anti-roll bar
- live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs
- front disc/rear drum hydraulic brakes
- 108″ wheelbase
With Ford struggling to make the Tunnel Port 302 racing engine work properly and the Roger Penske/Mark Donohue Chevy Camaro Z/28 juggernaut taking the Trans-Am title in 1968, the Ford camp acutely understood that something new was clearly required for success in 1969. The Mustang was faltering on the showroom floor to boot, with Chevy’s new highly engineered Z/28 Camaro package quickly gaining the favor of streetwise buyers.
Ford’s two-pronged counterattack was based on a new Mustang variant designed to homologate an all-new engine design for Trans-Am competition combining a high-strength 302 engine block and internals with the big port, canted-valve cylinder heads from the new 335-series “Cleveland” V-8. A hot solid-lifter camshaft, large four-barrel carburetor, stout Toploader four-speed transmission, and other excellent goodies from Ford’s parts bin rounded out the new Boss 302 package.
Suspension development was largely ignored until former key GM executive “Bunkie” Knudsen and former GM designer Larry Shinoda, of Corvette Stingray fame, stepped in. Acutely aware of the relentless development that made Chevy’s Z/28 classic car so successful on both the street and racetrack, they championed comprehensive suspension and aerodynamic tweaks to create the best-handling American car available. Shinoda also eliminated a number of tacky add-ons proposed for the new Mustang, replacing them with a simple flat-black hood, side stripes, spoilers, and optional rear-window louvers. He also contributed the car’s “Boss” moniker – meaning “the best” – in tribute to Knudsen, who was known simply as “the Boss”.
Track-bound Boss 302s were built at Kar Kraft in Brighton, Michigan, and campaigned by teams fielded by Bud Moore and Shelby. While the Trans-Am championship proved elusive for 1969, success was finally achieved in 1970. Unlike many racing homologation specials, the Boss 302 was profitable for Ford and according to experts, a little over 7,600 examples were built in total for 1969 and 1970.
Freshly repainted in Calypso Coral, the quality of the restoration on this Boss is outstanding. The floor pans are painted the correct red oxide primer and all the factory inspection marks have been painstakingly duplicated. The details under the hood are simply outstanding, with the clean 302 V-8 and 4-speed manual transmission, traction-lok differential and 3.91 axle making for a smooth performing classic. Today, all surviving Boss 302s are highly coveted, valuable, and thrilling in every respect.