Jeff Ford
November 1, 2002

The Boss cars have always held a place of awe and respect. We have grown to love that solid lifter sound from the Boss 351 and the Boss 302, as well as the mighty power that the Boss 429 can deliver under the right massaging. If there is one car that can turn heads while idling down the show field, it is the Boss-any Boss.

Many hold the Boss cars in the same light as the Shelbys, even though the Boss prices have not reached the nosebleed level of the cars fathered by Carroll himself. Still, the Boss era is kind of remarkable. Here was a car that was bare bones, made no attempt at creature comforts outside of the deluxe interior, and was only available with a four-speed. Even Shelby never did that after the first year. So the Boss is something special, something rare in Ford.

We'll examine the options that were specific as well as the basics. We dole out stats and figures to make even the baseball fans smile. We also muse over some items to make you go, hmmm-we hope.

Then Now
'69 Boss 302 N/A '69 Boss 302 $20,500
'70 Boss 302 $3,{{{720}}} '70 Boss 302 $20,500
'69 Boss 429 $4,937 '69 Boss 429 $38,000
'70 Boss 429 N/A '70 Boss 429 $38,000
'71 Boss 351 $4,124 '71 Boss 351 $18,450
If New in 2002 Actual
'69 Boss 302 N/A $20,500
'70 Boss 302 $16,888 $20,500
'69 Boss 429 $21,199 $38,000
'70 Boss 429 N/A $38,000
'71 Boss 351 $16,966 $18,450
Compared to Shelby SportsRoofs now:
'69 GT350 $26,000 '69 Boss 302 $20,500
'70 GT350 $26,000 '70 Boss 302 $20,500
'69 GT500 $32,{{{100}}} '69 Boss 429 $38,000
'70 GT500 $32,100 '70 Boss 429 $38,000
'71 Shelby Europa N/A '71 Boss 351 $18,450

Standard StuffThe Boss cars came with a nice list of performance standard features. The Boss '9 gave you all these and a plush interior. One has to wonder if Ford did this because they felt guilty about the whopping $4,937 price tag.

Boss 302 1969Horsepower: 290 bhp at 5,800 rpmTorque: 290 lb-ft at 4,300 rpm

Suspension: Competition type with heavy-duty front coil and rear leaf springs. Heavy-duty rear Gabriel shocks are staggered to prevent wheel hop. A .85 front sway bar. Power-assisted front-disc and rear-drum brakes.

Engine: 302 cubic inch small-block V-8 with 4-inch bore with 3-inch stroke. Special "Cleveland" cylinder heads with 2.23-inch intake and 1.71-inch exhaust valves. Special mechanical high-lift cam. Block has screw-in freeze plugs and four-bolt main bearing caps. Forged steel crankshaft statically and dynamically balanced. Special aluminum intake with Holley 780 cfm carb. Dual point distributor.

Exhaust: Special cast-iron manifolds feeding into a transverse muffler system.Trans/code: Four-speed (Wide ratio) code 5; four-speed (Close ratio) code 6Axle/code: 3.50:1 (open) A code; 3.50:1 (Traction Lok) S code; 3.91:1 (Traction-Lok) V code; 4.30:1 (Detroit no-spin) W code;

Tires: F60x15 bias-ply raised white-letter tire. Magnum 500 Chrome wheels with argent centers.

Boss 302 1970Horsepower: 290 bhp at 5800 rpmTorque: 290 lb-ft at 4300 rpm

Suspension: Competition type with heavy-duty front coil and rear leaf springs. Heavy-duty rear Gabriel shocks are staggered to prevent wheel hop. A .85 front sway bar as well as a .5 rear sway bar. Power-assisted front disc and rear drum brakes.

Engine: 302 cubic-inch small-block V-8 with 4-inch bore with 3-inch stroke. Special "Cleveland" cylinder heads with 2.19-inch intake and 1.71-inch exhaust valves. Special mechanical high-lift cam. Block has screw-in freeze plugs and four-bolt main bearing caps. Forged steel crankshaft statically and dynamically balanced. Special aluminum intake with Holley 780 cfm carb. Dual point distributor.

Exhaust: Special cast-iron manifolds feeding into a dual muffler system.Trans/code: Four-speed (Wide ratio) code 5; four-speed (Close ratio) code 6Axle/code: 3.50:1 (open) A code; 3.50:1 (Traction Lok) S code; 3.91:1 (traction-lok) V code; 4.30:1 (Detroit no-spin) W code;

Tires: F60x15 bias-ply raised white-letter tire. Wheels are stamped steel standard with corporate trim rings and caps.

Boss 429 1969 Horsepower: 330 bhp at 5,400 rpmTorque: 370 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm

Suspension: Competition type with heavy-duty front coil and rear leaf springs. Heavy-duty rear Gabriel shocks are staggered to prevent wheel hop. A .94 front sway bar. Power-assisted front disc and rear drum brakes.

Engine: 429 cubic-inch big-block V-8 with 4.36-inch bore with 3.59-inch stroke. Special "semi hemi" aluminum cylinder heads with 2.28-inch intake and 1.90-inch exhaust valves. Special mechanical high-lift cam (S engines) or special hydraulic high-lift cam (T engines). Block has four-bolt main bearing caps. Forged steel crankshaft statically and dynamically balanced. Special aluminum intake with Holley 735 cfm carb. Dual point distributor.

Exhaust: Special cast-iron manifolds feeding into a transverse muffler system.Trans: Four-speedAxle/code: 3.91:1 (Traction lok) V Code

Tires: F60x15 bias-ply raised white letter tire. Magnum 500 Chrome wheels.

Boss 429 1970 Horsepower: 375 bhp at 5,200 rpmTorque: 350 lb-ft at 3,400 rpm

Suspension: Competition type with heavy-duty front coil and rear leaf springs. Heavy-duty Gabriel rear shocks are staggered to prevent wheel hop. A .94 front sway bar as well as a .5 rear sway bar. Power-assisted front disc and rear drum brakes.

Engine: 429 cubic-inch big-block V-8 with 4.36-inch bore with 3.59-inch stroke. Special "semi hemi" aluminum cylinder heads with 2.28-inch intake and 1.90-inch exhaust valves. Special mechanical high-lift cam (S engines) or special hydraulic high-lift cam (T engines). Block has four-bolt main bearing caps. Forged steel crankshaft statically and dynamically balanced. Special aluminum intake with Holley 735 cfm carb. Dual point distributor.

Exhaust: Special cast-iron manifolds feeding into a dual muffler system.Trans: Four-speedAxle: 3.91:1 Detroit no-spin

Tires: F60x15 bias-ply raised white-letter tire. Magnum 500 Chrome wheels.

Boss 351 (R Code)Horsepower: 330 bhp at 5,400 rpmTorque: 370 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm

Suspension: Competition type with heavy-duty front coil and rear leaf springs. Heavy-duty Gabriel rear shocks are staggered to prevent wheel hop. A .85 front sway bar as well as a .5 rear sway bar. Power-assisted front disc and rear drum brakes.

Engine: 351 cubic-inch medium-block V-8 with 4-inch bore with 3.50-inch stroke. Special "Cleveland" cylinder heads with 2.19-inch intake and 1.71-inch exhaust valves. Special mechanical high-lift cam. Block has four-bolt main bearing caps. Cast-iron crankshaft selected for higher nodularity. Special aluminum intake with 4300D Autolite 716 cfm carb. Dual point distributor.Trans/code: Four-speed (Wide ratio) code 5; four-speed (Close ratio) code 6Axle: 3.91:1 Detroit no-spin

Exhaust: Special cast-iron manifolds feeding into a dual muffler system.

Tires: F60x15 bias-ply raised white-letter tire. Wheels are stamped steel standard with corporate trim rings and caps.

Rare MeatWhat are the rare options for the Boss cars? Well, really only for the 302 and 351 since the 429 came with just about everything one could want from a steed.

'69 Boss 302Only 15 had intermittent wipers.

'70 Boss 302Only 25 had tinted windshields (that is, they came with clear side glass).

'71 Boss 351Only three had tinted windshields (that is, they came with clear sideglass).

'69 Boss 429Five came without racing mirrors.

'70 Boss 429One came without a console.One came without an AM radio.One came with sport slats and a rear spoiler.

Wheel DealThe Boss was the only car equipped with 15-inch wheels in 1969 and '70. The standard for '69 wheels was the Argent-centered Magnum 500; optional was the chrome. The year 1970 saw the Argent Magnum replaced by the steel-wheel mounting trim rings and caps. The other very rare option, the Sport Wheel Cover, was only available in 1970. Contrary to popular belief, the magnum 500 was not available outside of the Boss line-unless dealer installed. In fact, Ford added beefier components to the suspension as well as rolled fender lips just to keep the tires where they belonged.

The standard trim ring and "corporate" cap (so named because of the Ford Motor Company type around the center) continued through the final year of the Boss reign, 1971, as the base cover. The Magnum, as of 1971, was an option on any V-8 Mustang and carried over as an option on the Boss 351 as well.

Inside OutInteriors on the Boss cars ran the gamut from taxicab plain to downright gaudy. This was especially true in '70-'71 when the wild striped interiors and funky fabrics invaded the line. The Boss 429, however, only came one way-Deluxed out.

Big Ole Boss Books 'n' Other StuffWay back in 1982, Donald Farr wrote what is still considered by the enthusiast market the best compendium of Boss 302 facts. Fittingly named Mustang Boss 302 Fords Trans-Am Pony Car, this tome of wisdom and knowledge has all the stuff fit to print. It covers the street cars, race cars, and what the cars should and should not have. Sadly, this book went out of print a couple of years ago.

Another good book that has gone out of print is the Boss 429 Mustang by Stephen Strange. It details the birth and life of the Boss 429. It, like the Boss 302 book, is a wealth of information.

Check swap meets and online sources for either of these titles. If you're lucky, you might find them at one of the Mustang parts businesses that advertise in Mustang Monthly.

Regrettably, there is no good reference on the Boss 351. Terry Richards runs a registry; but to our knowledge, no one has put together a book of complete facts about the last of the Boss cars. It is really a shame, too, since we are sure there are some neat facts that should be brought to light.

If you have a Web connection, below are some places to point your browser.www.boss302.comwww.boss351registry.comwww.69mustang.com/boss9_registry.htm