From the June 1969 Issue of Car and Driver.

The take a look at questions have all been requested and it is time for the Ford Motor Company at hand in its paper. Passing or failing might be decided, as a lot as something, by the way in which the Mustang Boss 302 maintains its dignity on Ford’s dealing with course, a serpentine stretch of asphalt in the midst of what might go for certainly one of Dearborn’s golf programs. And proper there it’s, parked, or fairly poised, on the entrance to the observe—Ford’s reply to the Z/28. The temper is tense. Matt Donner, principal engineer in control of Mustang/Cougar trip and dealing with, waits, anxious to have the Cobra Jet Mach 1 blot faraway from the report or a minimum of outmoded by one thing a bit extra meritorious.

Two barely worn crash helmets are produced from the again seat, one for Donner and one for our technical editor, doing nothing, to dilute the battle-to-the-death ambiance that strengthens because the second for the shoot-out approaches. The Mustang would not assist a lot both, sitting there like a cocked .357 Magnum able to do its specialty with not more than a nudge. Donner assumes his battle station behind the wheel. We will decide the primary spherical from the passenger facet. Seat belts; click on. Shoulder belts; click on. Key within the slot, flip . . . and the Boss 302 awakes with undisguised belligerence. Nose out on the observe, first gear, second, third and a low anguished moan from the fats Goodyears because the Mustang threads into the primary flip. Two necks pressure to maintain their heavy, helmeted heads balanced on their respective shoulders. Into the subsequent flip, a decent 200-foot radius left hander, tail frolicked and the within entrance wheels clipping the grass on the apex. Left flip, proper flip, lap after lap at exhilarating speeds—Donner is submitting his homework in a most convincing trend.

Our flip. Easy at first, remembering the beak-heavy Mach 1 that plowed straight on with its entrance tires smoking for those who tried to rush. But the Boss 302 is one other type of Mustang. It merely drives across the turns with a type of detachment by no means earlier than skilled in a road automotive sporting Ford emblems. Faster and quicker, however its composure by no means slips. Adjust the road with the steering wheel or with the throttle or each. Hang the tail means out with a fast flick of the wheel and a legful of gasoline. Do no matter you want and the automotive complies with the accuracy of your shadow. Very merely, the Boss 302 is unshakable. Maneuvers that had been extremely unsettling in earlier Mustangs have a leisure air about them within the Boss 302. The automotive understeers, however not a lot—it has simply precisely the correct stability to can help you drive as an alternative of plow via a flip. The steering responds to corrections proper up till you hen out, and the automotive’s perspective in a flip is very delicate to energy. This is to not say that you just spin out for those who dip too deeply into the gasoline, however fairly you could order up and maintain any drift angle you want. Even higher, the dealing with traits stay the identical whether or not you are cornering at six- or nine-tenths of the automotive’s skill. Without a doubt the Boss 302 is the perfect dealing with Ford ever to come back out of Dearborn and may be the brand new customary by which every thing from Detroit have to be judged.

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While we’re all reeling from this sudden growth maybe we should always retrace our steps again to the start and look at Ford’s motives for such an development. You see, there’s this factor known as the youth market which seems to have an insatiable urge for food for wildly trimmed efficiency vehicles and may summon up the money, or a minimum of the month-to-month funds, to indulge itself. Chevrolet has all the time been notably delicate to those youthful calls for.

When Ford found that Chevy bought 7,000 Z/28 Camaros in 1968, and the advertising demographers predicted that as much as 20,000 could be bought in 1969, there was no alternative however hoist the bugle and blow the cost. Not solely was Chevrolet promoting vehicles to clients who might need purchased an equal Mustang if it was accessible, however Chevy was additionally reaching a improbable fame each time the David-like Z/28 dusted off any individual’s, and perhaps certainly one of Ford’s, Goliaths. It’s not that Chevrolet had created a very conspicuous vehicle, however the Z/28’s mixture of endearing mechanical presence and glowing efficiency had made it the automotive for these within the know.

Ford wanted the Boss 302 for one different motive. The SCCA says that for any trick half to be authorized within the Trans-Am it has to seem on a minimum of 1000 road vehicles. That implies that spoilers or aerodynamic im­provements of any kind, and excessive carry out­ance engine elements like blocks and cylinder heads, should be a minimum of restricted professional­duction objects. Building only a handful of elements like final yr’s 302 tunnel-ports is certainly verboten. So, since Ford has to construct a minimum of 1000 of those pseudo-racers if it desires to play within the Trans-Am, it would simply as effectively make them seen and try to chock the wheels of the quick promoting Z/28.

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Those are the explanations, however in Detroit’s conflict of mannequin proliferation to compete with, and get forward of, all people else’s mannequin proliferation, Ford has handled itself to a wholesome escalation. The Boss 302 is a bell of an fanatic’s automotive. It’s what the Shelby GT 350s and 500s ought to have been however weren’t. Ford stylists have carried out an advert­mirable job in creating a visible carry out­ance picture for the Mustang variants this yr and the Boss 302 isn’t any exception. It’s clearly a Mustang however distinctly distinctive on the identical time.

Matte black paint utilized to the hood, rear deck and across the headlights is a typical a part of the bundle, as is the tape “C” stripe with the Boss 302 insert on the facet of the physique. Since the shovel-shaped spoiler beneath the entrance bumper works, a minimum of on the race observe, it’s customary equip­ment, too, as a result of Ford desires to ensure 1000 of them are bought earlier than the primary race. Something the much less astute won’t discover is that the news slightly below the rear quarter window has been stuffed in. As Jacque Passino stated, “The purist automotive individuals anticipate scoops to scoop one thing, and since that one did not it needed to go.” The actual visible sauce—the venetian blind “sport slats” on the again window and the adjustable wing on the rear deck-is optionally available. The slats are literally a one-piece association, hinged on the high and latched on the backside, so it may be tilted up earlier than washing the rear window.

Styling is just a fraction of the Boss 302’s story. The engine, since it’s the foundation for the Trans-Am racer, has not been neg­lected. Every spring it is time for the an­nual altering of the cylinder heads in Ford’s efficiency division. Last yr’s tunnel-port racing setup is being changed by a model new design which has canted valves very like Ford’s road 429 and Chevrolet’s 396-427. Tunnel-ports are out however huge valves are in. The consumption valves, with a diameter of two.23 inches, are solely 0.02 smaller than these in a Chrysler 426 Hemi. Ports, too, are beneficiant in measurement. The new heads are supposed for racing in addition to road use and can match the 302 and 351 V-8s in addition to all of the 289s at present run­ning round on the road. Other 1969 fea­tures embody new pistons to adapt to the brand new combustion chamber form and 4-bolt most important bearing caps for backside finish power. An aluminum excessive rise consumption manifold with a 780 cubic-feet-per-minute Holley 4-bbl. tops off the bundle. Ford charges the output at 290 hp (identical because the Z/28) @ 5800 rpm, and nobody will dispute that it makes a minimum of that a lot. Standard with the engine is a large ratio (2.78 first gear) transmission and a 3.50 axle, which strikes us as a perfect compromise for each low velocity acceleration and comfy expressway cruising.

New engine however, it is the Boss 302’s dealing with that makes the automotive outstand­ing and it was completed with comparatively few adjustments. Most seen is the tires—Goodyear F60-15 polyglas balloons that put greater than eight inches of rubber on the road-mounted on 7-inch large wheels. The tires are so large that particular entrance and rear fenders, with revised wheel openings and reshaped rear wheel homes, needed to be de­signed for the Boss 302. To clear the entrance suspension additionally required that the wheels be offset farther towards the surface of the automotive which, in flip, required new entrance spindles with bigger wheel bearings. Fat tires have to actually grip the pavement to be price that a lot hassle—these do.

1969 ford mustang boss 302

Benyas-Kaufman|Car and Driver

The Mustang’s new-found dealing with abil­ity demanded a better revision of the engi­neering division’s philosophy than it did of suspension elements. Kicking the beneath­steering behavior isn’t any simpler than giving up the weed or peyote nuts and Ford is to be recommended on its rehabilitation. One factor was in its favor from the very begin and that’s weight distribution—55.7% on the Boss 302’s entrance wheels in comparison with 59.3% for the 428 Mach I. But there’s extra but. Front springs and anti-sway bar are softer on the Boss whereas the rear leaf springs are stiffer—all of which tends to cut back understeer. Shock absorbers and the suspension geometry is carried over with no modifications.

Whether you order handbook or energy steering, the gear ratio is similar, at 16-to­-one. The take a look at automotive, with its handbook steering, by no means might be accused of a Jack of street really feel after we have been flailing. Unfortunately, on this crowded world, you possibly can’t flail a lot and nonetheless preserve an excellent grip in your driver’s license, and energy steering is much better suited to routine site visitors conditions. We’ve pushed far worse handbook steering vehicles however parking the Boss 302 remains to be equal to about six push-ups.

The Boss 302 we drove is an engineering prototype and the one one in existence at press time. In truth, it had been in Ford’s wind tunnel to verify the impact of the rear spoiler simply earlier than our session on the take a look at observe. Normally we keep away from doing a full street take a look at on a prototype as a result of it won’t be typical of a manufacturing automotive, however on this case the weatherman did not even give us an opportunity. The rain began between the dealing with course and Detroit Dragway, the place the acceleration and braking elements of the take a look at have been to be carried out, and did not cease for the remainder of the day. For that motive the efficiency information on the specification web page has been calculated from info provided by Ford’s engineering division—undoubtedly not our regular process however higher than nothing. We do have some very distinct driving impressions aside from these on the dealing with course nevertheless, which must be handed alongside. Ride high quality is towards the stiff facet, notably within the rear which crashes with vengeance over huge irregularities within the street. Still, contemplating the dealing with, it is a good commerce out.

1969 ford mustang boss 302

Benyas-Kaufman|Car and Driver

When you converse of engines on this class of automotive the Z/28, with its nervous and jerky deportment and ultra-quick response within the 12-cylinder, dohc, Italian trend, is the usual of comparability. The Boss 302 has a temperament fully not like its com­petitor. It idles easily and quietly with virtually no mechanical noise and has common response, neither fast nor gradual. It might simply discover a dwelling in a Falcon and nobody could be the wiser, a minimum of till the Hol­ley’s secondaries snapped open. Ford claims that its new little motor truly makes extra energy than the Z/28 however, subjectively, the automotive would not really feel fairly as quick. Certainly it would not have the marginally tamed racing automotive character which has received the Z/28 throngs of mates. Ford engineers even volunteered that the Boss will be readily launched in second gear and so they’re proper—for what­ever that is price in your racer reproduction.

Roaring round Ford’s take a look at observe and splashing via Detroit from suburb to suburb has made believers out of us. If the manufacturing vehicles are wherever close to nearly as good because the prototype, the Boss 302 is well the perfect Mustang but, and that features all the Shelbys and Mach ls. After receiving no recognition aside from gold stars for attendance in our street checks for the final a number of years Ford has discovered its classes effectively. The Boss 302 Mustang earned itself an A for this semester.


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