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Hagerty Employee

Pit Bosses: Is the modern Boss 302 a worthy successor to the famed original?

It has been a shocking eight years since the Boss name has been attached to a new Mustang, the righteous Boss 302 of 2012–2013. As Hollywood will agree, time is a fickle master, especially as it relates to the latest and greatest of anything. A lot can happen in eight years, one thing being the undeniably excellent Mustang GT350 that hit the streets in 2015. Did anybody miss the Boss when the dealerships were soon peddling a track-ready Mustang with an 8250-rpm flat-plane-crank V-8? Which is why, during one of our frequent bench-racing/car-buying sessions here at Hagerty, some of us wondered if Boss 302s still matter in the ever-shifting Mustang universe. It was that crazy talk that led me to Road America this past June with Bosses new and old, not only to celebrate their existence, but to see if they remain relevant ... Read the full article on


Intermediate Driver

Great photos and story...the only thing 'missing' is their V8 soundtrack snarling, burbling and shrieking to accompany them! (YEAH, I was hearing it in my head as I read!)


Where’s the video? A lot of us who witnessed the original Trans Am races at RA and Meadowdale would love to see a video of this story. Thnx


I was expecting a video of the event, a good story and pictures otherwise!

New Driver

Funny - I built and drove a 1964 1/2 289 2 barrel serial number 199.

Built 4 tube 3 1/2 inch headers, isky lifters, bolted on my own shifter without the rubber connection.

It would 61 mph/ 5.9 in the 1/16th drags, but the wide ratio 4 speed fell on it's face in the quarter when you hit third gear 90 mph/14.8, oh it had 6 inch recap slicks also.  Lots of fun when your growing up, the owners kid has it today, I think it had a sticker price of 2600.00 back the april of '64.

Intermediate Driver

I will take the 1969 Boss against the bloated, later model every time. Ever since 1970 America lost it's design direction and started producing horrible looking motor cars.


What is with the ridiculous giant black frit around the rear quarter glass? If you do such a bad job of design and build, maybe you need to hire some new people or just copy the competition! You see it everywhere, and there is NO excuse for it!


I would take either one, but I lean to the modern version just for the red key


“...before we start making it rain up in here..,”



Good Heavens, is it too much to ask to use proper English?  At least something understandable?

Pit Crew

I have a modified '70 Mach 1...built Cleveland, top loader, no p/s.  I love how engaged you have to be to drive the thing...there are no computers or sensors or are it.  but I don't drive it DD has everything the Mach doesn't...but when I need to escape, that Holley 4 barrel to the 9" rear is...every...thing

Intermediate Driver

I'd take the '69 over the '13.  For the fun of driving, '13 would be the choice, but to own one, I'd be afraid of the maintenance cost down the line.  The '69's Bosses are not that plentiful, or cheap and I wouldn't be able to afford it.  Besides, now I'm too old to start a project by buying a BOSS shell and finding an engine for it and go that route.  Next best thing was to build a "replica" of it, or something similar.  So, I bought a pain Jane '69 for $800 and fixed it up to look something like a "Boss," but put a 351C in it and called it a "BOSS 351."  That didn't go well with one owner of a '71 Boss 351.  He kept insisting that mine wasn't a real Boss 351.

Advanced Driver

The new one has instant classic written all over it IMO.


I also agree about the '69;' the newer Mustangs are fat and tacky. Just like their trucks.

Intermediate Driver

Great article, speaking as one who still owns and drives the grabber orange 1970 Boss 302 I bought in late 1969.

I too, have owned other vintage as well as modern muscle cars over the ensuing years, but in the final analysis, I would take the original over everything else that came afterwards.

Advanced Driver

The Boss 302 like the Boss 429 had poor porting for anything other that full out track use, and even then required carb, cam and exhaust mods to extract maximum performance. The Z28 was a far more streetable package, but the real sleeper was a Herb Adam’s tuned Ram Air III 400 ci Trans Am which had both low end torque, solid high rpm thrust and prodigious grip for its day. If asked how I know this I will deny any knowledge of highly illegal and questionable behavior in my past. 

New Driver

The late-model Boss 302's are indeed built for the track. In 2018, I entered my 2012 Kona Blue Boss into the Ultimate Track Car Challenge at VIR. My car is very lightly prepped for the track:  3-in lugnut studs, brake cooling ducts, tubular rear control arms, lowering springs, and a shifter... all factory Ford upgrade parts. Most other cars in the competition were fully-prepped race cars, stripped down, with cages, wings, and turbos. My Boss had A/C and a stereo.


It rained a lot during the competition (a time trial format), so tire strategy ended up playing a huge part... but my Boss ended up placing 7th out of over 30 cars, and won the "Fastest Street Production" category as the fastest car of the competition that was still street legal. These are incredibly competent race cars, especially with very minimal prep.


Great to see some Boss appreciation from a knowledgeable Mustang enthusiast....



Intermediate Driver

Great history lesson. Nice discussion of a couple of guys sweet rides. Fun trip down memory lane. 

As has already been mentioned, a video with some straight line action and showing how they handled the curves would be a great compliment to the article. 

I was expecting more of a comparison of the two cars from different eras but am disappointed that the vehicle used to represent the early model was a highly modified example. 

(Once upon a time owner of a ‘64 1/2 Mustang) 

Intermediate Driver

I remember being at Scottsdale several years ago and seeing a 1970 Calypso Coral Boss 302. There was a Maple Grove Ford sticker on the rear bumper. Got home, watching the auction recording, there was the original owner, a bit heavier and gray like me. I owned a 1967 Z/28 at the time we first met. Wished I had been there later in the week to see him again. His had the 4.30 gears in back, while mine was only 3.73’s. His was stock, while mine was an ex-trans am car with racing history. He used to joke about the trailer hitch on my car. Have a picture of the car in 1969, with a 1969 Z/28 with the crossram on the trailer.  I also have the picture on the Donnybrook newsletter that same year with my car going under the bridge at speed during a race. Bob kept papers current on the tow vehicle as the cross ram sometimes wasn’t running right.

Both the Boss and the Z/28 were playing a game with horsepower back then. Headers and a bit of tuning, either could easily push over 400 horsepower. 
These cars were crude by today’s standards, but were raw excitement and begged to be pushed hard.


This brought back some great memories.  Had a '70 Boss when they were affordable enthusiasts cars.   Have a 2012 Laguna Seca.   Raced at Road America in a different car in SCCA.   I have to give my vote to the second generation car.   The Laguna Seca has a few of the features of newer cars such as A/C, yet still has the visceral sounds and feel of the original.   The 2012 LS has top of the dash mounted gauges that you look at while sitting in manually adjusted Recaro seats.   I believe that anyone who ever has an opportunity to drive the newer car will have to agree that the Ford developers of the LS cannot be commended enough for creating a race car that we can drive on the street.

New Driver

The Boss 302 wins on all accounts just out of shear respect. The new muscle cars are stronger and faster, but they'll always be second fiddle to the originals. All the best.