1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302

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From the June 1969 Problem of Automobile and Driver.

The take a look at questions have all been requested and it is time for the Ford Motor Firm handy in its paper. Passing or failing shall be decided, as a lot as something, by the best way 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 reasonably poised, on the entrance to the monitor—Ford’s reply to the Z/28. The temper is tense. Matt Donner, principal engineer in command of Mustang/Cougar journey and dealing with, waits, anxious to have the Cobra Jet Mach 1 blot faraway from the file or at the very least outdated by one thing a bit extra meritorious.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 environment that strengthens because the second for the shoot-out approaches. The Mustang does 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’ll 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. Nostril out on the monitor, 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 good 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 vogue.

Our flip. Simple at first, remembering the beak-heavy Mach 1 that plowed straight on with its entrance tires smoking if you happen to tried to rush. However the Boss 302 is one other sort of Mustang. It merely drives across the turns with a sort of detachment by no means earlier than skilled in a road automotive sporting Ford emblems. Sooner and sooner, however its composure by no means slips. Alter the road with the steering wheel or with the throttle or each. Hold the tail method 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 suitable steadiness to will let you drive as an alternative of plow by a flip. The steering responds to corrections proper up till you hen out, and the automotive’s angle in a flip is very delicate to energy. This isn’t to say that you simply spin out if you happen to dip too deeply into the gasoline, however reasonably 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 means. Certainly the Boss 302 is the perfect dealing with Ford ever to come back out of Dearborn and could be the brand new commonplace by which all the pieces from Detroit have to be judged.

BENYAS-KAUFMAN

Whereas we’re all reeling from this surprising improvement 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 referred to 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 at the very least the month-to-month funds, to indulge itself. Chevrolet has at all times been notably delicate to those youthful calls for.

When Ford found that Chevy offered 7,000 Z/28 Camaros in 1968, and the advertising and marketing demographers predicted that as much as 20,000 may be offered in 1969, there was no selection however hoist the bugle and blow the cost. Not solely was Chevrolet promoting vehicles to prospects who might need purchased an equal Mustang if it was out there, however Chevy was additionally attaining a improbable fame each time the David-like Z/28 dusted off anyone’s, and perhaps certainly one of Ford’s, Goliaths. It isn’t 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 cause. The SCCA says that for any trick half to be authorized within the Trans-Am it has to seem on at the very least 1000 road vehicles. That signifies that spoilers or aerodynamic im­provements of any kind, and excessive carry out­ance engine elements like blocks and cylinder heads, should be at the very least restricted professional­duction objects. Constructing only a handful of elements like final yr’s 302 tunnel-ports is unquestionably verboten. So, since Ford has to construct at the very least 1000 of those pseudo-racers if it needs to play within the Trans-Am, it would simply as nicely make them seen and try and chock the wheels of the quick promoting Z/28.

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Automobile and Driver

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

Matte black paint utilized to the hood, rear deck and across the headlights is a normal a part of the package deal, as is the tape “C” stripe with the Boss 302 insert on the facet of the physique. Because the shovel-shaped spoiler beneath the entrance bumper works, at the very least on the race monitor, it’s commonplace equip­ment, too, as a result of Ford needs to ensure 1000 of them are offered earlier than the primary race. One thing the much less astute won’t discover is that the news slightly below the rear quarter window has been stuffed in. As Jacque Passino mentioned, “The purist automotive individuals count on scoops to scoop one thing, and since that one did not it needed to go.” The true visible sauce—the venetian blind “sport slats” on the again window and the adjustable wing on the rear deck-is non-obligatory. The slats are literally a one-piece association, hinged on the prime 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. Each spring it is time for the an­nual altering of the cylinder heads in Ford’s efficiency division. Final yr’s tunnel-port racing setup is being changed by a model new design which has canted valves very similar to Ford’s road 429 and Chevrolet’s 396-427. Tunnel-ports are out however large 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 dimension. The brand 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 presently run­ning round on the road. Different 1969 fea­tures embrace new pistons to adapt to the brand new combustion chamber form and 4-bolt 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 package deal. Ford charges the output at 290 hp (similar because the Z/28) @ 5800 rpm, and nobody will dispute that it makes at the very least that a lot. Commonplace 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 extensive wheels. The tires are so extensive 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. Fats tires have to actually grip the pavement to be price that a lot bother—these do.

1969 ford mustang boss 302

Benyas-Kaufman|Automobile 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 is not any simpler than giving up the weed or peyote nuts and Ford is to be counseled 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. However there’s extra but. Entrance 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 or not you order guide or energy steering, the gear ratio is similar, at 16-to­-one. The take a look at automotive, with its guide steering, by no means might be accused of a Jack of highway really feel once we have been flailing. Sadly, on this crowded world, you may’t flail a lot and nonetheless maintain a very good grip in your driver’s license, and energy steering is much better suited to routine visitors conditions. We have pushed far worse guide steering vehicles however parking the Boss 302 continues 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 test the impact of the rear spoiler simply earlier than our session on the take a look at monitor. Usually we keep away from doing a full highway 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 performed, and did not cease for the remainder of the day. For that cause the efficiency information on the specification web page has been calculated from data equipped by Ford’s engineering division—positively not our regular process however higher than nothing. We do have some very distinct driving impressions apart from these on the dealing with course nonetheless, which must be handed alongside. Journey high quality is towards the stiff facet, notably within the rear which crashes with vengeance over large irregularities within the highway. Nonetheless, contemplating the dealing with, it is a good commerce out.

1969 ford mustang boss 302

Benyas-Kaufman|Automobile and Driver

If you communicate 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 vogue, 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 residence in a Falcon and nobody could be the wiser, at the very least till the Hol­ley’s secondaries snapped open. Ford claims that its new little motor really makes extra energy than the Z/28 however, subjectively, the automotive does not really feel fairly as quick. Actually it does not have the marginally tamed racing automotive character which has received the Z/28 throngs of mates. Ford engineers even volunteered that the Boss could 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 monitor and splashing by Detroit from suburb to suburb has made believers out of us. If the manufacturing vehicles are anyplace close to nearly as good because the prototype, the Boss 302 is well the perfect Mustang but, and that features the entire Shelbys and Mach ls. After receiving no recognition apart from gold stars for attendance in our highway assessments for the final a number of years Ford has discovered its classes nicely. The Boss 302 Mustang earned itself an A for this semester.

Specs

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