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Ford brings back the Boss

2010-08-17 11:38

The track certified pony car is back. Ford's second-generation Boss 302s – available in either standard or Laguna Seca form.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Ford
Model Mustang Boss 302
Engine 5l V8
Power 323kW
Torque 515Nm
Transmission Six-speed manual
Ford’s restored the Mustang’s Boss nameplate in honour with its latest 302 V8 - America’s answer to the BMW M3.

Forget about those oversized Mustang Mach 1 models with their big-block V8s. The purest performance Mustang has always been one with a Boss nameplate.

Boss Mustangs were Ford’s study in how to achieve dynamic harmony with America’s most popular muscle car.

Ford fans have been waiting an awfully long time for a new Boss – four decades in fact.

The original Boss Mustang was made to enable Ford to homologate a racer, which won the 1970 Trans Am series. Mustang fans have been waiting ever since.

Now, finally, Ford is set to market a second incarnation of the legendary Boss 302.

A proper track-certified pony car

The new Boss 302 is not a simple styling upgrade with some requisite retro trinkets.

Mustang’s chief engineer, Dave Pericak, would never have allowed a cheap marketing directive to depreciate the legendary nameplate.

"Boss is a hallowed word around here, and we couldn't put that name on a new Mustang until we were sure everything was in place to make this car a worthy successor. We were either going to do it right or not do it at all - no one on the team was going to let Boss become a sticker and wheel package."

Although this new Boss 302’s surfacing takes its cue from the 1969 model with regards to colour contrasts, sealed fog lamp ducts and more elaborate airflow management add-ons (deeper front splitter, bigger rear spoiler) the car’s suite of engineering upgrades are focused on achieving heightened dynamics too.

New dampers at each wheel corner lower the Boss 302’s ride height by 11mm, whilst providing five-point adjustability. Whether you need it dialled in for boulevard cruising comfort or crisp (tyre chirping) trackday responsiveness, the new Boss 302’s dampers are sure to offer a setting equal to most customer requirements.

Hiding behind the 19-inch wheels (rolling Pirelli PZero tyres) are Brembo brakes measuring 355mm in diameter.

Powering the Boss 302 is a Mustang GT’s 5l V8. The engine gains reprofiled camshafts, a redesigned intake system and new exhaust plumbing. In terms of output the Boss adds 23 units of power over its GT sibling to peak at 323kW. Maximum crankspeed is 7 500r/min, indicating this 5l V8 Mustang is not a low-revving robot-to-robot racing machine.

A short-throw six-speed manual transmission, buoyed by more durable clutch-friction materials, transfers the 302’s power to the rear wheels where an optional torque-sensing limited-slip differential balances traction.

Signed-off to sound spectacular

To guarantee the second-generation Boss 302’s acoustic signature is true to the Mustang’s V8 heritage, Ford engineers have added a rather complex gas-extraction system.

The exhaust plumbing features quad-outlets, with two ends sprouting out from under the 302’s bumper, whilst the other two are side-pipes - exiting just ahead of the rear wheels.

These side-pipes route a negligible volume of actual gas flow, yet add plenty of acoustics. This provides a sound-match keyed to imitate the original Trans-Am 302 race car.

With the Boss 302 cabin having shed 7kg of sound deadening material, the V8's aural assault is unfiltered.

Beyond the lack of sound insulation the Boss 302’s cabin is trimmed with an Alcantara steering wheel, additional gauges atop the fascia and Recaro bucket seats as an option.

Using the BMW M3 as a benchmark, Ford claims its new pony car was able to best the German coupe’s lap time around the Laguna Seca circuit – which was used as a dynamic validation benchmark.

To celebrate this achievement, Ford will be retailing a few limited edition Boss 302 Laguna Seca models (featuring a braced chassis and even more elaborate aerodynamics package).

Ford has not yet announced pricing or production volumes for the Boss 302.

When Parnelli Jones (employed as a consultant on the current Boss project) won the Trans Am series in 1970 with the original Boss 302, only 1 500 road-legal production cars were assembled. Ford is not expected to significantly ramp up volumes with the second-generation car, in an attempt to protect residual values and the Boss 302’s status as a collector’s item for discerning muscle car enthusiasts.

The car is expected to slot in between its GT and Shelby GT500 models in the Mustang product portfolio.

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