1970 Ford Mustang

"Boss 302"

Configuration: Longitudinal front engine

Engine: Boss V8

Displacement: 302cid/4.95L

Horsepower: 290hp at 5,800RPM

Torque: 290 ft-lbs at 4,300RPM

Transmission: 4-speed manual

A Little History

Right before the release of the CobraJet engine in the 1968 model year, Ford hired former General Motors executive Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen to take over production in Dearborn, MI. Knudsen felt that there were some inherent problems with the Mustang, mostly that they looked good but lacked the performance. The CobraJet engine debuted to stellar reviews, but Knudsen wanted more. He wanted to create the best-handling street car on the market.

To do so, Knudsen turned his focus to one of the many engineers that followed him over from GM, the designer Larry Shinoda, the man responsible for the 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28. Knudsen put Shinoda in charge of designing something even better for Ford; the result was the Boss 302. It was aesthetically similar to the Z/28 but it was a toss-up on the track. The Z/28 won SCCA laurels in 1969, but the Boss 302 put Ford back on top in 1970.

The 1970 Mach 1 model, currently on display, received a rear-end sway bar to help with the handling, as well as the factory-optional Shaker hood. In order for the car to compete in SCCA Trans-Am road races, Ford was required to sell at least 1,000 street-legal models to qualify the Boss as a “production” car, but it wound up putting out 1,628 models for the year.

Did You Know?

Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen was the son of William S. Knudsen, a previous senior executive in the operations department at Ford Motor Company, then later at General Motors. “Bunkie” was the youngest executive to ever work at Ford.

The car was only produced in 1969 and 1970. As of the 1971 model year, both the Boss 302 and the Boss 429, also on display, had become factory options for the Mach 1 body. It was sold stock with the Boss 351 engine instead.

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