On April 17, 1964, Lee Iacocca changed the automotive landscape forever when Ford released the Mustang to the public, launching a new age of American sports car that continues to this day. About 6 months later, the desire to give that car a performance upgrade led to the infamous partnership with Carrol Shelby and the production of the first GT350. This started an industry-wide trend of releasing high-performance variants of different sports cars at the time. In 1969 Ford decided to stay in-house for their performance upgrades and released the now infamous Boss 302 engine option that was available for just two short years. More than 40 years later, Ford decided to celebrate the icon by re-introducing the world to the Boss 302, this time in the 5th generation Mustang. Keeping with tradition, the car was only available for two years (2012-2013) and featured an all new 302 cu inch 5.0L V8 with a hell of a lot more horsepower.
Since inception, the Boss 302 has been aimed squarely at one objective, to go faster. Everything about this car is a reflection of that and this includes the interior. The simplistic design and use of material is a strategy to keep production costs low and focus more attention and money towards performance. While this car might not be equipped with all the bells and whistles one is used to from Porsche or Ferrari, it is well equipped with all the tools to get the job done. Recaro seats not only provide an excellent seating position, but hold the driver firmly in place while simultaneously providing a comfortable place to be during longer road trips. The 6 speed manual gearbox is accessible through a short-throw shifter with a pleasing old school aesthetic. Mounted on the steering wheel are some of the functions we are now used to seeing, such as cruise control and entertainment unit commands. The wheel is also wrapped in alcantra to improve the sensation on the points of contact. While interior storage is ample (cupholder, door pockets and a large center console and glovebox) everything is camouflaged well with the rest of the interior design so as not to cause an eyesore. Showing only 1428 km (887 mi) on the odometer, this car has been treated with the utmost care for the duration of its life and every aspect of the vehicle, both inside and out, present in like-new condition.
Just like its forefather, the Boss 302 is immediately distinguishable from regular Mustangs via the iconic “C-Stripe” or “Hockey Stick Stripe” for the 2012 and 2013 years respectively. The Quad exhaust (two out the back and two out the side) adds to the amplification of noise in the cockpit and creates a wonderfully chaotic roar for bystanders. A front splitter adds 90lbs of downforce at 120mph and keeps the front end firmly planted to the road, a small wing does the same for the rear end. Just like the original, this second generation Boss subtly adds functional changes to the exterior without throwing them in your face, a fine balance of understated performance.
Residing in the engine bay is a tuned version of the Ford Coyote engine appropriately codenamed the “Roadrunner”. The aim of this game was to create a track car with zero compromisation and the engineers at Ford did just that. The 302 cubic inch 5.0L V8 has been brought from the standard 420 hp up to 444hp with 380lb/ft of torque thanks to quite a few adjustments such as an all aluminium lightweight engine block, dual overhead cams with 4 valves per cylinder, fully forged internals, a newly designed intake to deal out maximum air flow, fully adjustable shocks on all four corners and a 3.73 short gear ratio to help with hard and fast acceleration times. All of this helps the Boss reach a top speed of 155mph. Essentially this is a racing engine de-tuned for the street, as opposed to a street engine tuned up for racing. This car also meets EPA/DOT emissions regulations (OBD II).
Cars like this one were the genesis of North American cars beginning to blur the lines of differential between themselves and their European counterparts. The “go fast in a straight line” days of your dads mustang are long gone and it's thanks to cars like the Boss 302 that we see more domestic representation at our local tracks. However, as the current generation of performance Mustangs (GT350R etc..) continue to move away from a distinctive muscle car and more towards a more true to form sports car, its cars like the Boss 302, the ones that fell into this specific era of manufacturing, that do such a fantastic job of blending the old school muscle car feel with the up to date feeling and response you would expect from a new sports car. It's the raw and rowdy life of the party, the one that rewards you when you get things right and lets you know when you're doing things wrong instead of compensating with a computer. Many car enthusiasts call this the best Mustang of all time and it's easy to see why. With staggering performance numbers wrapped up in such an affordable package, its no wonder why the Boss 302 has been converting Mustang non-believers since 1969.