Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
November 15, 2010
Photos By: Courtesy Ford Media

The heart and soul of the '69 Boss 302 Mustang was its Windsor-based 302 short-block with large-port, canted-valve Cleveland cylinder heads, which were planned for production on the '70 351 Cleveland. With aluminum intake, Holley 750-cfm four-barrel, solid-lifter valvetrain, and beefed-up short-block, the Boss 302 powerplant was equipped with more performance items than perhaps any other Ford production engine, with the exception of the Boss 429. Rated at 290 hp, the Boss 302 wasn't known for its low-speed torque; instead, it made its power from 4,500 rpm to 6,250 rpm, a limit established by an electronic governor for warranty purposes. A four-speed manual was the only available transmission, backed by a nine-inch rearend with 3.50 gears standard, 3.91 or 4.30 optional. Air conditioning was not available.

For handling to match its Trans-Am image, the original Boss 302 came with Goodyear's new Polyglas GT tires, stiff springs, and calibrated shocks. Car & Driver magazine described the Boss 302's handling as, "The new standard by which everything from Detroit must be judged."

Then-Ford designer Larry Shinoda is credited for coming up with the Boss name. "It was a name the kids understood instantly," he told us many years ago. "The name had charisma, and it was also a handle our merchandising people could do something with." Well-known as a performance and racing enthusiast, Shinoda also created the Boss 302's front spoiler, black-out treatment, reflective side striping, and optional rear spoiler and window slats.

Ford sold 1,612 Boss 302s in 1969. The model returned for 1970 with wilder striping, selling 7,013.

Limited Edition Boss
As if to erase any doubts about racing intentions, Ford is offering a limited-edition Laguna Seca package for the '12 Boss 302. Think of it as a model that fits between the regular-production street Boss 302 and the Boss 302R competition car.

"The Laguna Seca package puts a race-ready version of the Boss 302 into enthusiasts' hands," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas. "The Laguna Seca isn't intended for buyers who want a daily driver. Think of it as a factory-built race car."

Offered in two colors only-Black or Ingot Silver-with red C-stripes, roof panel, and accents, the Laguna Seca model builds on the already impressive '12 Boss 302 with deleted rear seats, rear X-brace, larger rear stabilizer bar, higher rate springs, unique tuning of the adjustable struts and shocks, Recaro front bucket seats, front brake cooling ducts, and unique 19-inch wheels with R-compound Pirelli PZero tires. Ford calls it the "best-handling production Mustang ever."

Named for the track where Parnelli Jones drove his '70 Boss 302 to its first win in a season that would culminate in a Trans-Am championship, the Laguna Seca Boss 302 gets an aggressive front splitter that adds down force at the front while also channeling air under and around the car. A unique rear spoiler is sized to complement the effect of the splitter, adding up to 90 pounds of down force at 140 mph.