There are some cars that you only get to be a part of creating once in a lifetime. These are the opportunities that people dream of, and the result is cars that are remembered for decades.
A select group of Ford designers and engineers recently got that opportunity, and the pressure that comes along with it, working on the 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302. This new model is steeped in performance heritage and is set to become the quickest, best-handling straight-production Mustang ever offered by Ford.
We thought you might find it interesting to hear from some of the people who developed the 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 share some of their thoughts on the car and some of the specific stories from creating the car.
Darrel Behmer, Mustang Chief Designer
“We approached this as curators of a legend. We’ve taken design cues from the ’69 Boss street car and the menacing Bud Moore/Parnelli Jones race cars and carefully updated them to give the 2012 the proper bad-boy attitude that is unmistakably a Boss Mustang.”
Dave Pericak, Mustang Chief Engineer
“Boss is a hallowed word around here, and we couldn’t put that name on a new Mustang until we were sure everything was in place to make this car a worthy successor. We were either going to do it right or not do it at all – no one on the team was going to let Boss become a sticker and wheel package.”
“The team at Ford wanted to offer their fellow Mustang enthusiasts something really special – a beautifully balanced factory-built race car that they could drive on the street. The Boss 302 isn’t something a Mustang GT owner can buy all the parts for out of a catalog or that a tuner can get by adding a chip. This is a front-to-back re-engineered Mustang with every system designed to make a good driver great and a great driver even better.”
“What we were after on Boss was reduced overall lift with improved balance. We needed to keep the car glued to the street or the track at high speeds without increasing drag or affecting top speed and fuel usage. The end result is an aero package that uses front, rear and underbody treatments not for show, but for effect – the balance and stability of this car all the way to its 155-mph top speed is just outstanding.”
Mike Harrison, Ford V8 Engine Program Manager
“The effect of the new intake design is dramatic. When I took the prototype car to Mustang Chief Engineer Dave Pericak, he took a short drive, tossed me the keys and said ‘Book it…it’s in the program.’ He knew what we were onto, and that’s really the point where the Boss 302 was born.”
“The core group of engineers on the Boss 302 engine understands and respect the heritage of the name and the history behind the original engine. The first Boss 302 was a specially built, free-breathing, high-revving small V8 that gave it certain desirable characteristics on a race course – and we capture that essence in the new engine.”
“Working with Ford Racing has been invaluable. They were a wealth of information for setting up torque and power curves for road racing and for identifying areas of concern during track runs that we wouldn’t have considered if we were just building a hot street engine. Every Boss 302 owner will benefit from their contributions to the program.”
“Ford had no engine test cells built to run at that kind of sustained speed. Ford Racing had one, but it wasn’t instrumented to do production durability testing. So we had to re-engineer the dyno cell with new balancers and jackshafts so the dyno wouldn’t fly apart running at redline hour after hour.”
Shawn Carney, Mustang NVH Engineer
“With an exhaust system, we have to consider three constraints: legal noise restrictions; backpressure, which can rob power; and ground clearance. Since the 2011 Mustang GT exhaust is already so free-flowing – it came in way under our backpressure targets – we already had excellent performance; we were able to tune the exhaust system for a unique sound. Combined with the rush of the intake, the exhaust system really envelops the driver in V8 sound.”
“We added the attenuation discs to meet legal regulations, but we knew buyers might operate these cars in situations where noise regulations weren’t an issue. The disc is removable and includes a spacer plate sized to match aftermarket exhaust dump valves. If an owner wants to add a set of electric valves, they just undo two bolts on either side; the disc and spacer slide out and the valve will slide right in. And the side pipes are tuned so that drivers can run wide-open and the sound levels are comfortable – very aggressive but livable for an all-day track outing.”
Brent Clark, Supervisor of the Mustang Vehicle Dynamics Team
“This car is wicked fast, so we put a lot of emphasis on giving it comparable stopping power. We started with a race-proven brake system and tuned it specifically for the characteristics of the Boss 302 and its mission. They’re the best brakes ever installed on a Mustang, and they give consistent, repeatable braking performance on the street and the track.”
“We’ve given drivers five settings for their shocks. One is the softest, two is the factory setting and five is the firmest, and we’ve provided a wide range of adjustment. A customer can drive to the track on setting two, crank it up to five for improved response on the track, then dial down to one for a more relaxed ride home. What’s unique is that drivers will find – thanks to the way the suspension works as a complete system – the softest setting isn’t too loose and the firmest setting isn’t too controlled; each step just provides additional levels of control.”
“The shock adjustment is right at the top of the shock tower, built into the rod and easily accessible from under the hood or inside the trunk. You just take a small flat-head screwdriver, turn the adjustment screw between one and five, and head back out onto the track.”