Boss Returns from Vacation: 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302

Built as Ford’s response to losing the prestigious SCCA Trans Am manufacturer championship to their pony car rival the Chevrolet Camaro, the Boss 302 edition of the Ford Mustang was given form in 1969 as both a premium straight-liner and an aggressive turn-hugger. Thanks to Trans Am series homologation rules, Ford was required to produce road-going variants for customers. A fruit of production-based racing specifications, the original Mustang Boss 302 is one of the blue oval brand’s most beloved contribution to the muscle car era (perhaps second only to the Boss 429). Musing the Mustang faithful since advertising the return of the 5.0 liter engine size (302 cubic inches), Ford Motor Company has given new life to the Boss name for a limited edition issue in 2012.

On first glance at the 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302, Ford again projects the heritage of their beloved pony car through modern sheetmetal. Signifying the 2012 Boss 302’s adhering to the pride of the original vehicle, the iconic Boss 302 C-stripes are tattooed along the side panels. Wearing one of five classically-inspired but still provocative exterior primarily colours, the 2012 Mustang Boss 302s C-stripes, roof and hood sections will stand out in either black or white. Having been a model for late 1960s aerodynamics, the Boss 302 appears in 2012 a graduate student of cutting edge air manipulation techniques. The lower air dam now features a large air splitter while the rear end treatment is topped with modest but functional rear spoiler and a rear diffuser.

A revised Mustang suspension system featuring high-rate coil springs and a wider stabilizer bar faithfully provides the performance-oriented ride the 1969-1970 Boss 302 was known for creating. The 2012 Boss 302’s new suspension assembly lowers the car incrementally compared to a 2011 Mustang GT with 11 mm on the front and 1 mm in the rear. Minor-sounding adjustments, this slightly altered ride height will serve the Mustang Boss 302 well for handling in corners or traveling along a high-speed stretch. The enhanced Boss 302 ride is also supplemented with a ride type selector. Via a driver-controllable knob, three settings allows handling to be Comfort, Normal or Sport quality. Backed by electronic stability control and traction control, the 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 strides with confidence.

When coming to a stop, high-performance brake lines are engineered to provide a more instant response in slowing down the Mustang’s four wheels. Brembo 4-piston brake calipers firmly grabs the 14 inch disc brake rotors with grace. Compared to the GT version, the 2012 Mustang Boss 302 is slated to stop about 3 feet sooner with the improved brake hardware. Beyond this braking system, the full extent of the stop and go workout is credited to the Mustang Boss 302’s Pirelli PZero summer tires. Surrounding 19 inch black alloy wheels, the wheel and tire combination fosters control good effort to achieve over 1 g of lateral acceleration.

Thankfully not simply a dress-up package, under the 2012 Mustang Boss 302’s hood is 440 horsepower secured within a 5.0 liter V-8 sporting a retro-styled plenum The most powerful Ford Mustang available without the intervention of Carrol Shelby or supercharging, the Boss 302 engine’s 28 horsepower increase over the 2011 Mustang GT is accredited to an ultra-high capacity intake manifold design and a reshaped camshaft. Special final gearing and a limited-slip differential assures the 440 horses are providing the best gallop.

Becoming the boss of the Boss, the driver rides within a specifically-catered interior design. Recaro racing seats combine cloth and suede-like materials comforting driver as well as the front passenger as the Mustang Boss 302 is put through its paces. Unique to other Ford Mustangs, the dashboard surroundings are trimmed with a dark metallic finish while the driver will have an equally distinctive gauge cluster to admire. Driver and passengers ears will ring with an unparallel sound of the 5.0 liter V-8 engine. Compared to the GT model Mustang, 11 pounds of sound-deadening material had been removed for weight-savings and for simply enhancing the driving experience. As a Muscle Car era touch, the 2012 Mustang Boss 302 shifter knob resembles the black pool-cue ball.

As an added bonus to the Boss Mustang’s reincarnation, a select number of buyers will have an opportunity to buy an harder core driving sensation with the Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca edition. The name Laguna Seca was given for the race track where an original SCCA Trans-Am competition Mustang Boss 302 won on in 1970 in a significant opening race. The Ford Mustang Boss 302, driven by Parnelli Jones at the Laguna Seca round, won for what would be a precursor in retaking the league’s manufacturer championship back from Chevrolet. The 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca will offer increased chassis stiffness and extreme aerodynamics for optimized race-like handling. This Laguna Seca’s devotion setting up the race car experience even includes omitting the extra weight of the Mustang’s rear seat.

Returning to the streets through the next model year, its worth noting the Boss 302 name has been rejoicing in a resurrection in auto racing competition. Since the beginning of the 2010 Grand Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season, the Ford Mustang Boss 302R is a race-fitted 5.0 liter V-8 ringer within the production-based sports car series. Winding through its first season of competition, Ford Motor Company has credited the Boss 302R race cars in the development of the upcoming production Boss Mustang. Director of Ford Racing Jamie Allison commented “The tradition and the spirit of Boss, a car born for the track, remain today and you can bet more than a few Ford Racing employees will have a Boss 302 in the garage soon.”

Information and photo source: Ford Motor Company

About The Author

Admiring automobiles ever since childhood viewership of the TV show Knight Rider, Chris Nagy grew as an enthusiast enroute to become an automotive and motorsport writer. Drawn to the rich world of motoring, Chris discovers charm everywhere in the industry from supercars like the Bugatti Veyron to a Kia Soul. Car design, engineering, performance and the passion itself fuels his daily existence.

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