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Becoming the Boss: How the 1970 Mustang Boss 302 was promoted

If the Mustang Boss made a lasting impression on Ford owners, that was its intention. In 1968, Ford had recently come under the direction of new GM executive Semon Knudsen, a native New Yorker who had previously served as the VP and GM of the company's Pontiac division, and he was looking to set the tone for his administration by giving his former creative team a chance to showcase their skills.

Using the help of the principal stylist who had worked on the Chevrolet Camaro Z28, Knudsen set his sights on perfecting two products, the Ford Mustang Mach 1 and a version that drew on his nickname, the "boss."

While the Mach 1 also has its followers, the Boss was built with the intention to compete with some serious competition, including the Chevrolet Camaro Z28, AMC Javelin and Dodge Challenger, the car's common challengers in Trans-Am races.

But, style was just as important. All of the 1970 Boss 302s largely carried over their predecessor's trendy fastback design. Still, the small changes for this model were impactful. By reducing the diameter of the intake valve, for example, the 1970 model's low-end torque beefed up, leading to better acceleration.

Retailing at just over $3,500, the Boss 302 was in the middle of the pack in terms of Ford's Mustang offerings. This made it more affordable than the GT-500s, which topped out at $5,100, and arguably a better value than the lower-end Coupe 1-6 and Fastback 1-6, each of which sold for less than $3,000.

What eventually catapulted the Boss 302 to prominent status, however, was that its internal competition suddenly dropped out of the race. In 1970, Ford announced it would no longer be offering the Mustang GT. Suddenly, it's 108-inch wheelbase and smooth lines looked more appealing to buyers.

And while Boss 302 models are still out there, some even hiding unused in storage, you want to keep a few things in mind if you're planning on spending enough for this pristine model, as fake models can appear on the market.

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