Boss 302 Mustang - Muscle Car 2020 Review - Muscle Car

Boss 302 Mustang – Muscle Car 2020 Review

Car Models


Written by Elise

6th October 2020

Boss 302 Mustang – Muscle Car 2020 Review
Blog   >    Car Models   >   Boss 302 Mustang – Muscle Car 2020 Review

Boss 302 Mustang – Muscle Car 2020 Review

By Noah Ackland

By the tail end of the 1960s, Ford was mass-producing their cars and well-experienced in releasing high-performance variations of their famous Mustang. These included the Shelby GT500, which together with Chevrolet’s iconic Camaro had the muscle car market by the throat. 

In 1969, Ford released a high-performance variant on their established classic, which they named the Ford Mustang Boss 302, a higher-performance version of the memorable Boss 429 Mustang.

An important and formative chapter in Ford’s racing history, let’s take a look at the 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302.  

Boss Mustang 302

Background of Boss 302 Mustang

The Ford Mustang pony car was marketed as a sport vehicle, but the 302 Boss Edition added meat to the sauce. Designed specifically for racing at the Trans-Am Road Racing Series, the sporty Ford Mustang Boss 302 variant was not something you’d see languidly rolling through suburbia. Indeed, released as the more powerful sibling of the Boss 429 Mustang, it was quite the competitor. 

As we delve a little deeper into what makes this souped-up version of the Ford Mustang the unique car it is, it’s important to keep in mind the rivalry between Ford and Chevrolet. It was this fearsome and historic joust between two automaking giants that actually led to the Ford Mustang Boss 302’s inception in 1969 and 1970. 


The Boss 302 was a racing beast, consisting of a 2×2 seater fixed head coupe with a 75.8-litre fuel tank capacity in its original 1969 version. 

To the naked eye, there wasn’t much different from the Mustang classics produced in the years prior. However, its performance said otherwise with an average acceleration time of 0-60mph in 6 seconds. 

Designed for the track, reports of the Boss 302 steering were unanimously appreciative. To this day, many still evangelise the handling and smoothness around bends compared to other models, such as the Mach 1 (altogether a much wilder animal). 


What makes a muscle car? In two words: V8 engine.

The looks help too. With their distinctively long bonnets and otherwise sports-centred aesthetic features, you can spot them a mile away. But underneath those shimmering exteriors is what actually makes the car run. Muscle cars are ordinarily equipped with a V8 engine so named for its cylinders and distinct V-shape between the racks. 

Boss Mustang 302 V8 engine

The V8 engine design allows for good engine balance and also provides the low vibrations so true to the roar that marks out a muscle car. Simply put, you’ll know what’s underneath the bonnet long before you lift it up. 

The Boss 302 edition of the Ford Mustang engine was released in 1969 and continued for a year until 1970 had a specialised version of the V8 engine called, you guessed it, the Ford Boss 302 engine, so named for Ford’s passionate and lively CEO Bunkie Knudsen. 

This was a cast iron, longitudinal engine with heads originally designed for the 351 Cleveland engines, which turned out to be the Ford Boss 302 Mustang’s successor engine in many ways. Even for a V8 engine, there are historic accounts of the engine giving off a distinct chattering sound. 

The output was 290hp as well as a maximum torque of 393 N.m. This was stiff competition for similar engines created at the time, known as ‘small blocks’ like the Chrysler 340.  Overall it’s a distinctive and historically significant 4.9 litre (305 cubic inches) water-cooled V8; a real classic of the genre. 

Meanwhile, the Boss 302 Mustang spoiler had the practical function of reducing drag and increasing fuel efficiency, adding to the high-performance profile of this revamped Mustang.


Cars witness so much of our lives. From that moment of terrified excitement the first time you drive a new car, to having it serviced, winning a race, nearly dying on a road strip, or hearing your toddler sing along to the radio for the first time, it’s no surprise they end up being vessels for our awe and nostalgia. Muscle Cars especially have the power to evoke entire eras and fond memories; it’s the reason most owners want one.

The reason? Looks. Far from simply being pragmatic tools used to move people and possessions from one place to another, it’s little surprise muscle cars are also objects of beauty and recipients of art. 

These days muscle cars tickle your memory, but back in the 1960s they were new and exciting, igniting the imagination of an entire generation. The iconic designs to this day look just as good motionless at a classic car show as they would screeching around a track. 

The Boss 302 Mustang features the classic Mustang design and shares the external looks of the original. Some additions mark out the 1969 model year from its parent model, such a blackout hood and horizontal rear window shade, but aesthetically the Boss 302 is known for the hockey stripes that line the hood, and, in the 1970 model year, the sides. 

Designed by Larry Shinoda, these ‘go-faster stripes’ had the benefit of marking the Boss 302 Mustang out as a purely sporting automobile. Shinoda also made it so that the 1970 version had two vents on the bonnet; combined with a new rear spoiler exclusive to the Boss 302 Mustang and you had a car that was designed to look as well as feel like an upgrade.

Colours, too, were chosen to give the Mustang Boss a more dynamic and distinctive air. Throughout 1969 and 1970, the primary colour of the original Boss 302 Mustang was a bright yellow that shouted “charismatic” and “spirited” and has since become the colour associated with the car. 

Other equally as vibrant and beguiling colours were dark aqua, lime green and Wimbledon white. The message was clear: the Ford Mustang Boss 302 was a car truly meant to be seen as well as heard.  

On the Screen 

Like many of its parent or related models in the extended Mustang family, the Boss 302 graced the silver screen. 

While the car may have had its heyday in the year 1969 and 1970, it turns out the 21st century was an era when these vintage models started cropping up in Hollywood every now and then. First in 2002 in the music video to the band NSYNC’s track ‘Girlfriend’ along with a host of other classics at a vintage car meet. Presumably, Justin Timberlake is something of a gear head? Even without official confirmation the mustang still smoulders in-shot. 

Fast forward almost two decades to 2019 and you find the Boss 302 Mustang in territory more familiar than an early 2000s boyband music video. The film Burning Rubber (2019) starring John Travolta about a former racing star taking another shot at the title. When it shows up, the Boss 302 steals the show.  

Boss 302 At The Races 

Getting lost in the myriad of colours might be appealing if your goal is to impress people who happen to visit your garage, but it’s worth remembering this car was built to race. It burst onto the Trans-Am Road Racing scene the year of its birth and was quickly considered a genuine challenger to the Chevrolet Camaro’s monopoly on the prestigious event, driven by the already legendary racer Parnelli Jones. 

But this was not to be and the Camaro won again, although crucially, the Boss Mustang 302 was not defeated because of any particular faults with the car itself. Rather, the Camaro’s pit teams were notorious for their speed and efficiency. 

In fact, the Mustang Boss Edition won four out the twelve races run (Michigan, Lime Rock, Bridgehampton and Donnybrook) and placed in the top half for pretty much every other race. It was a fine mark on the competition for a brand new entry. 

In 1970, the Boss 302 Mustang made a name for itself across the pond, having been acquired by Frank Gardner who saw it as the perfect car to race within the British Saloon Car Championships. 

To this day, the Boss 302 has won eight out of eleven races, once getting British hearts hammering with a brief but hair-raising cameo at the 76th Goodwood Members Meeting in 2018 against some of its fiercest vintage rivals including the Chevrolet Camaro. Ford and racing enthusiasts couldn’t get enough of the Boss 302 Mustang then, and as its competitive legacy shows no signs of dimming there’s a good chance it will forge on ahead. 

Boss 302 Mustang – A Summary 

Similar in looks from the original Mustangs that preceded it, distinctive hockey stripes, bonnet vents and rear spoiler made for a car that looked limited edition while leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind that this was a car created for the race.

While a Boss 302 Mustang still performs well around tight corners compared to vintage models of its age, its legacy in racing is somewhat overshadowed by the Camaro. It remains an exceptional sports car with no small legacy however, which no doubt played a part in why the car has sprung back up in popular culture since 1969. 

Its racing days might be few and far between these days, but if 2018 was anything to go by, no only are they not over but the Boss 302 Mustang still has a few surprises in store for us. 

Author: Noah Ackland

Muscle Car UK is the UK’s leading specialist Mustang and Muscle Car dealership. We import American muscle cars from the US, restore them here in the UK, and re-home them with our delighted customers.

For more updates, news and tips, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

All cars on our feeds are available and up for sale. Looking for something specific? We can help.

We also provide service and restoration on any car, classic or otherwise.

Ask for a quote

Liked This Article? More Like This:

Buick Skylark: Classic Muscle Car 2020 Review

Everything You Need to Know About Classic Car Financing in the UK

Don't forget to share on social media!

Related Articles