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  • Ford offered Boss 302 and 429 versions of Mustang from 1969 to
    1970; the Boss 351 was built for 1971 only on a larger, restyled Mustang
  • The original Boss 302 cars were designed to dominate SCCA
    Trans-Am racing with a high-revving small-block V8 and outstanding
    road-holding capability; Boss 429 cars were designed with acceleration
    in mind and built to satisfy NASCAR engine homologation requirements
  • All classic Boss models are coveted collectibles today thanks to outstanding performance and limited production numbers

MONTEREY, Calif., Aug. 13, 2010 – For 2012, Mustang Boss revives a
legendary name known for uncompromising performance on the road and the
track. Arriving in 1969, the first Mustang Boss was forged from a simple
mandate by Ford management to the designers and engineers: Create a
Mustang that would be unbeatable on SCCA race courses and local drag
strips alike.

By then, Mustang sales success was assured thanks to its sporty
nature. As a true high-performance icon, however, the car’s history had
yet to be written. That changed when company leadership decided to
pursue dominance in the popular SCCA Trans-Am road racing series. They
chose to homologate their new NASCAR 429 engine using the Mustang,
directing engineers to begin creating performance that would become

The result – Boss – spanned three engine configurations across two
Mustang body styles, each of which remains a coveted classic among
enthusiasts and collectors today.

1969-70 Boss 302
With styling tweaked by newly arrived Ford designer Larry Shinoda, the
new-for-1969 Boss 302 sported front and rear spoilers, a blacked-out
hood treatment, and racy side stripes for a look that screamed

Under the bodywork, the Boss 302 didn’t disappoint. Its engine
combined a four-bolt main Windsor small-block with reworked heads from
the then-new 351 Cleveland engine. A forged steel crankshaft, connecting
rods and pistons rounded out the reciprocating assembly. The result was
a free-breathing, high-revving powerplant making what Ford claimed was
290 gross horsepower – though actual output is estimated to be
significantly higher.

Ford engineers also thoroughly massaged the Mustang’s suspension in
an effort to meet then-boss Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen’s mandate to “build
absolutely the best-handling street car available on the American
market.” Stiffer springs and shocks, special sway-bar tuning, a
stiffened chassis and wide tires led to the fastest Mustang ever to lap
the Ford test track up to that point.

1970 Boss 302


1969-70 Boss 302 specifications:
Engine: 302-cubic-inch (5.0-liter) OHV V8
Horsepower/torque (advertised):
290 hp @ 5800 rpm/290 lb.-ft. @ 4300 rpm

Transmission: Four-speed manual
Production: 8,641

1969-70 Boss 429
While the Boss 302 was intended to be a perfectly balanced road race
car, the Boss 429 had a decidedly different mission in life –
uncompromised acceleration. Although the exterior appearance was similar
to that of the Boss 302, the 429 engine under the hood was a heavily
detuned version of a new Ford NASCAR racing powerplant.

The choice of Mustang as the model used to meet the 429’s
homologation requirements – rules dictating a certain number of a
manufacturer’s stock car engines were actually sold in production
vehicles – was considered unusual given that Torino was Ford’s NASCAR
flagship at the time. Plus, the effort required to shoehorn the huge 429
between the narrow Mustang shock towers dictated that the cars were
heavily modified under the skin – work farmed out to Ford vendor Kar
Kraft. Much of the front suspension was re-engineered to make the
transplant work, and the battery was relocated to the trunk to provide
additional room.

Even with special chassis bracing and a unique rear sway bar, the
“Boss Nine” was at its best when pointed in a straight line: With a few
owner modifications to undo the factory detuning, the car could yield
quarter-mile times in the low-12-second range. That performance, coupled
with big-block appeal and low production numbers, has conspired to make
the Boss 429 perhaps the peak of Mustang collectability.

1969 Boss 429


1969-70 Boss 429 specifications:
Engine: 429-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) OHV V8
Horsepower/torque (advertised):
375 hp @ 5200 rpm/450 lb.-ft. @ 3400 rpm

Transmission: Four-speed manual
Production: 1,356

1971 Boss 351
Boss returned for one more year, this time wearing the new-for-1971
sheet metal marking a longer, lower and wider Mustang than ever before.
Under the hood, changes were equally dramatic, with the company’s 351
Cleveland V8 supplying the basis for motivation, matched as always with a
four-speed manual gearbox. But with Ford pulling out of all
factory-sponsored motorsports after 1970, the Boss 351 was denied a key
element cementing the status of its predecessors: the proof testing
provided by an official racing program.

Still, the Boss 351 offered exciting performance and eye-catching
looks aided by the 60-degree sloping fastback body and twin-scoop
contrasting hood. Interiors also gained luxury options; coupled with the
improved tractability of the 351 Cleveland engine, it was easier for
prospective buyers to turn this final early Boss into a comfortable
high-speed cruiser than was possible with the race-bred 302 and 429

1971 Boss 351


1971 Boss 351 specifications:
Engine: 351-cubic-inch (5.8-liter) OHV V8
Horsepower/torque (advertised):
330 hp @ 5800 rpm/380 lb.-ft. @ 3400 rpm

Transmission: Four-speed manual
Production: 1,806

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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in
Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six
continents. With about 159,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide,
the company’s automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln and Mercury,
production of which has been announced by the company to be ending in
the fourth quarter of 2010. The company provides financial services
through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s
products, please visit

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