Ford Boss 302
The first boss came out nearly half a century ago and it was one that began from a very bitter rivalry between the Camaro and the Mustang. With the introduction of the Chevy Camaro began the first real threat to the Mustang , Ford's Pony car which had kept most of the muscle car market to itself. With the Mustang's 289 and 390 heavily under powered compared to the big blocks of the Chevrolet's V8 Ford knew they had to do something to make sure that this was not the end of what had became one of the their flagship cars. The guys at Ford upon realizing the need for a better performing Mustang came up with the 428 Cobra V8 engine in 1968 this was put into the Ford Mustang as the Ford Boss engine. With a Windsor Block and Cleveland heads the car was now ready to take on the Camaro.
Unknown to many the Mustang Boss 302 was actually designed by a former employee of GM Larry Shinoda. The car had a more authentic look with much of the unneeded cosmetics previously seen on the Mustang were gone. The car was one of the first production models to feature a spoiler and a rear wing on the deck known as a deck wing. The actual name of the new car has been speculated for a long time as to how it came about. Shinoda when asked however said the reason that the car was called the Boss was as a homage to the then new Ford boss who brought the designer over from GM when he himself moved to Ford.
In 1970 the car was further changed to include side stripes that came all the way up on to the hood of the car. The car also dropped two headlights on the front end replacing them with a grille opening and just two headlamps. A redesign of the exhaust system and suspension system also made the car perform better than in previous versions. Smaller intakes and chrome valve covers were also changed with larger brakes and a four speed manual transmission the car was getting more and more performance based. At the time with the 5.0 liter V8 producing close to 300hp the car put in a 0-60 time of 6.9 seconds and a top speed in the region of 140mph.
The Boss 302 was reproduced both as a model and as a toy with companies such as Hotwheels and Matchbox all producing some examples. The car also fetches a lot of money due to the rarity of a good example of the original car. The Trans-Am racing saga gave the car some racing pedigree with the competing in the late 60's even winning a championship in the the 1970's season.
In 2007 the car was resurrected not by Ford themselves but by a very keen fan of the car and somewhat of a local racing legend himself. In 2007 American Racing legend Parnelli Jones made some limited edition examples of the Boss. The car was a half and half project by Saleen and Parnelli Jones and was a homage to the 1970 302 that Jones had raced in and won the Trans Am with. The car was eqiuped with a 302 V8 that produced 400 horses and 390 lbs of torque. With brand new subtle changes to the outside the limited run only produced around 500 cars.
In 2012 Ford began a resurrection of the Boss name as they had long awaited to do with the new generation of the Mustang. The car was based on the 2011 Mustang and featured an upgraded intake along side a 5.0 liter V8 with better camshafts and around 444 horses. The six speed manual transmission takes you back to the days of Trans-Am and the carbon fiber plates and limited slip differential reminds you that it is a modern car. The exhaust and dump valves make a good job of creating a menacing noise from the car. The up-rated suspension and brake disks also help in the corners with the car sitting lower to the ground due to lowered suspension. The T.C and Stability control can be softened when you want to test the cars true performance but cannot be fully switched off due to the cars savage nature. The car weighing in at 1.6 tons is definitely something not to be messed with, a true muscle car but like many of the new models it has also turned full fledged sports car.