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 legendary.
The result – Boss – spanned three engine configurations across two Mustang bodystyles, each of which remains a coveted classic among enthusiasts and collectors today.
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 performance.
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.
This car was auctioned off by Mecum Auctions on May 19, 2012 at Dana Mecum's 25th Original Spring Classic Auction, Indianapolis.