Ford built the original Mustang Boss 302 with SCCA Trans-Am racing in mind. From 1969 through 1972, Boss 302s went head-to-head against Camaro Z28s, Plymouth AAR ’Cudas, and AMC Javelins. With Parnelli Jones driving, Bud Moore’s factory-fielded Mustang team won the series in 1970.
Before reviving the Boss 302 for the 2012 model year (see “Meet the New Boss“), Ford marketed the car for just two years (1969 and 1970). The engine’s displacement was small by Detroit standards—just 5 liters—but it packed a punch without weighing down the Mustang the way the big-block 428 or race-focused 429 did. When the Boss 302 morphed into the larger, heavier Boss 351 in 1971, the thrill was gone for purists. Larry Shinoda, who designed the Corvette Sting Ray in the early 1960s, styled the original Boss without gratuitous vents or other gingerbread, but he made a loud statement with brilliant “grabber” colors and rear louvers reminiscent of those on the Lamborghini Miura.