Monday, January 18, 2016

Musclecar Monday - the Boss 302 Mustang

Grabber Blue

The Camaro/Mustang rivalry had begun in 1967 with the introduction of the Chevrolet Camaro by General Motors. The Camaro was the largest threat to the lead Ford had in the pony car field, a market segment largely created by Ford with the introduction of the Mustang in mid-year 1964. The performance of the Mustang with 289 and 390 engines was not up to the Camaro, with its small block and big block V8. In an effort to improve the Mustang's image Ford made a 428 Cobra Jet V8 and a Ford Boss 302 engine optional for the 1968 mid-year and 1969 models, respectively.

The Boss 302 C.I.D. (Hi-Po), engine was a created by combining a Ford Windsor, 302 cubic inch engine block with large valve Ford Cleveland, 351 cubic inch engine cylinder heads. This optional engine, and indeed the entire vehicle package, including handling and aerodynamic aids, was made available for the express purpose of meeting the homologation guidelines to compete in the SCCA Trans-Am series, which limited engine displacement to 302 cubic inches, in order to compete.

The Boss 302 Mustang was designed by the amazing Larry Shinoda of Corvette Stingray fame. The car featured a reflective c-stripe. The fake air scoops in the rear quarter panel fenders of the regular production 1969 Mustangs were eliminated on the Boss 302 models. A black horizontal rear window shade and a blackout hood were both options. It was one of the first production models with a front spoiler and rear deck wing.

Early prototype - are these Larry Shinoda's kids?

Boss? Why Boss?
The name Boss came about when Shinoda was asked what project he was working on, he answered the boss's car because the project was a secret. Also Shinoda had called it the Boss as an homage to the new President of Ford Semon Bunkie Knudson who had brought Shinoda over from GM's Chevrolet Division after Knudson had left. With a suggested price of $3,720, a total of 7,013 were sold.

The 1970 car could accelerate from 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds, running a quarter mile in 14.6 seconds at 98 mph.

Boss 302 on the track
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. Penske Camaros had triumphed in 1968 and 1969. Team Penske switched to AMC Javelin the following year so the Boss 302's direct competition in the 1970 series were the AAR Cudas, the Pontiac Firebird, the Team Chaparral Camaros, and the Penske AMC Javelins.

the great Parnelli Jones - Laguna?

The Ford entry for 1969 and 1970 was the Boss 302 Mustang. The factory effort was headed up by Bud Moore, who fielded two cars in the 1970 season, and won the championship that year. The Bud Moore Mustangs edged out Team Penske's Javelins, and lead Penske driver Mark Donohue lost out to Bud Moore driver Parnelli Jones. Then, in 1971 AMC came out with a redesigned Javelin and returned to the track with ex-Mustang driver, George Follmer and Mark Donohue. With Mark Donohue behind the wheel of the AMC Javelin, the Mustang and the others were beat in 1971, and again with George Follmer driving the Javelin in 1972.

Some pretty cool footage form 1970: