Sunday, May 22, 2016

Automoblog Book Garage: Mustang Boss 302: From Racing Legend to Modern Muscle Car

Book Garage

When I was a kid, I dreamed about having a Mustang Boss 302. In high school, I wondered what my fellow classmates would think should I cruise into the parking lot with with one. At the small Iowa high school I attended, that car would make you a superstar.

For those of us slightly removed from the popular crowd, such a machine served as a fortress against perceptual teenage angst. As “cool kids” nursed 4-banger hand-me-downs and cookie cutter sedans, the Mustang’s Windsor roar would have sent waves though the crowd and the girls to your locker.

Nice guys don’t finish last if they’re car guys.

I imagine the modernized Boss Mustang with its 5.0 would warrant the same results.

The Laguna Seca Boss 302 is built on the AAI assembly line alongside base Boss 302s and other Mustangs. A number of special parts are added at the Mod Center. The trans cooler scoop and brakes ducts are supplied with the car for either customer or dealer installation, while the front splitter is designed for customer installation only. John Moore/Location Imaging, courtesy Ford Racing As delivered to the dealer and customer, the Laguna Seca comes with the base Boss 302 front splitter. The unique Laguna splitter is delivered with the car and must be installed by the owner. John Moore/Location Imaging, courtesy Ford Racing The Mustang team developed the 2012 Boss 302 as the best handling Mustang ever. Ford Motor Company Photo

Birth of the Boss

Mustang Boss 302: From Racing Legend to Modern Muscle Car is a masterful look at one of Ford’s most iconic nameplates. The book covers the origins of the Boss, from it’s time as an optional package for SCCA Trans-Am racing, to its rebirth in the 21st century.

Larry Shinoda lead the design team in 1969, bringing the powerful pony to life with spoilers and graphics unlike anything at the time. From the beginning, the Mustang Boss 302 lived up to its name. It was the boss. It was at the top of the ladder.


Donald Farr has been with Mustang Monthly Magazine for 30 years. In addition to his magazine work, he authored Mustang Boss 302: Ford’s Trans-Am Ponycar and owns the 1966 Mustang GT that his grandfather purchased new. The foreword of the book is penned by racing legeng Rufus Parnell “Parnelli” Jones.

Mustang Boss 302: From Racing Legend to Modern Muscle Car is available through Motorbooks and Amazon.

*Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan. 


Information learned from a season’s worth of endurance racing transferred back to the Boss 302 street cars in the form of upgraded camshaft actuator wiring connectors and revised soft ware for the engine processor. Rick Dole/Multimatic Motorsports When creating the front fascia for the 2011 GT/ CS California Special, the engineers in Vehicle Personalization knew it would be utilized for the upcoming Boss 302 as well. Ford Motor Company Photo In the decade following the end of production in 1970, Boss 302s became little more than used cars. Many were discarded and left to rust away in salvage yards. Jerry Heasley Evidence indicates that this yellow 1971 Boss 351 started out as a Boss 302, possibly 1F02G100053, before the decision was made to discontinue the small displacement Boss Mustang. The car was used for a series of publicity photos. The “5” and “1” on the decals appear to have been retouched to revise the “302” lettering to “351.” Ford Motor Company Photo Follmer’s number 16 Mustang gets an engine swap prior to the St. Jovite Trans-Am. Ford Motor Company Photo Parnelli Jones. Ford Motor Company Photo Horst Kwech in the number 2 Shelby Racing Company Boss 302. Ford Motor Company Photo The 1969 Boss 302 was Ford’s answer to Chevrolet’s Z28. It also homologated the engine and other equipment for Trans-Am racing. Ford Motor Company Photo Mustangs won only three Trans-Am races in 1968, including two by driver Jerry Titus (pictured) in a Shelby team car. Mark Donohue won 10 in his Penske-prepped Camaro to claim Chevrolet’s fi rst Trans-Am championship. Ford Motor Company Photo/Courtesy Austin C. Craig

Last week on Automoblog Book Garage, we jumped right on the racetrack with Louis Klemantaski

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