2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302
Courtesy of Motostalgia
  • 5.0-L DOHC 32-valve V8
  • 6-speed manual transmission
  • 945 miles from new
There was no mistaking the Boss 302 for other run-of-the-mill Mustangs. Like the original, its unique exterior décor set these cars apart, as if the running gear didn’t do that. Produced for just two years, a total of 3,249 Boss 302 Mustangs were built for 2012. This example, which has barely had break-in miles put on the clock, is finished in black with the distinctive red markings. Only a few miles have been put on this car, but the entire engine-drivetrain, suspension, handling and even the Torsen differential combine to make this machine a dream to drive. Just 612 Boss 302s received the black/red treatment, which includes the red anodized alloy wheels. This car still wears its factory Pirelli tires.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302
Years Produced:2012–13
Number Produced:8,289
Original List Price:$40,995
SCM Valuation:$39,050
Tune Up Cost:$300
Distributor Caps:N/A
Chassis Number Location:Base of windshield, driver’s side
Engine Number Location:Engine compartment on driver’s side fender apron
Club Info:Mustang Club of America
Alternatives:2014–15 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, 2015–17 Dodge Challenger Hellcat, 2013–14 Shelby GT500
Investment Grade:C

This car, Lot 55, sold for $80,300, including buyer’s premium, at Motostalgia’s auction of the McPherson Collection in Waxahachie, TX, on October 14, 2017.

The original Boss 302 is the stuff of automotive legend. The man behind the Boss — Semon “Bunkie” Knudson — had been at the helm of Chevrolet during the early ’60s and in that capacity had signed off on the second-generation Corvette. So when he left GM to become president of Ford in 1968, it was a big deal. Knudson brought Corvette designer Larry Shinoda over from Chevrolet to work on the Mustang.

With the Pony Car wars at full volume, Shinoda began work on a special project for Knudson. He simply referred to it as “the Boss’s Car,” and the name stuck.

The Boss 302 was developed for Trans-Am racing, and the Hi-Po engine became a fan favorite. Ford built 1,934 Boss 302 Mustangs in 1969 and 6,318 in 1970. Today, the original Boss 302 is a solidly collectible vintage Mustang with an “A” investment grade in ACC’s Pocket Price Guide.

Return of the Boss

Ford revived the Boss name in 2012 for a special edition of the popular fifth-generation Mustang. The car featured a plussed-up version of the Mustang’s standard 5.0-L V8, fitted with special CNC-ported heads, forged crank, performance cams and a long-runner intake manifold. The modern Boss 302 engine delivers 444 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque, and was mated to Ford’s best 6-speed manual transmission.

In the chassis, the 2012–13 Boss 302 uses the Mustang GT setup, but with firmer springs and bushings and a bigger rear sway bar. Adjustable shocks, 19-inch wheels, and a race-inspired aero package complete the hard-parts upgrade. Recaro seats and a Torsen limited-slip differential were optional. Finally, Ford gave the Boss an additional intermediate setting on the electronic traction and stability controls for light-duty track use.

The results are impressive. Fresh off the showroom floor, the Boss 302 does 0–60 in about 4.3 seconds, runs a 12.8 second ET in the quarter-mile, has a top speed governed to 155 mph, and will pull 0.90 Gs on the skid pad. It will brake from 70 mph to a dead stop in 160 feet.

Two keys

There’s some technological fun to be had in the modern world, and Ford went all-in with the Boss. When you bought the car, you got two types of key — a basic key that starts the car with the parameters listed above, and a red “Track Key” that has the potential to change the car’s engine settings for a more dynamic driving experience. The Track Key engine programming cost the new owner a gimmicky $302, but the reflash included changes to the cam timing, spark and fuel curves, and launch control. Retrofit Track Keys are now available from Ford again, but the whole package costs about $900 for the key and the reflash unit.

There were a few extra-special editions made based on the new Boss. The 302R and 302S were not street-legal and sold purely for racing use, while the Laguna Seca edition used all the racing parts but remains street-legal.

For 2012, Ford produced a total of 4,016 Boss 302 Mustangs. There were 3,249 basic cars and 767 Laguna Seca models. For 2013, production amounted to 4,273 cars, with 3,526 of the street version and 747 Laguna Seca editions. These numbers do not include the special-order 302R and 302S versions.

The 2012 Boss 302 carried an original sticker price of $40,995. For $302 more you got the Track Key reflash, and you could get the Recaro seats and the limited-slip diff for $1,995. The Laguna Seca edition was $6,995 more than the basic Boss.

Collecting the Boss

Finding a Boss 302 today isn’t hard. One popular nationwide online aggregator shows 147 examples for sale. Prices start in the low $20k range, and the highest-mileage cars have about 86,000 miles on the clock. There are several examples with fewer than 1,000 miles covered since new, and most of those are priced just under $50,000.

Our subject car is a 2012 Boss 302 in black over red, with the Recaro and Torsen option. It’s effectively a perfect time-capsule car, with just 945 miles showing on the odometer. It’s called out as the Pilot Laguna Seca edition car on the windshield but not in any of the auction company documentation. All in all, you really couldn’t ask for a nicer example of this generation of the Boss.

But this car sold at auction for an eye-popping $80,300, which is fantastic for the seller but could be ridiculous for the buyer.

Here’s why: Almost every Boss 302 that was made has been well cared-for, and a modern factory performance car can easily show 30,000–80,000 miles without losing any of its mojo. If you want to be sure to get a good example, look for the usual provenance such as a clean CARFAX report, no title brands, and have the car professionally inspected for any signs of crash damage or abuse. As an extra measure of protection, you might look for cars that have not had the Track Key reflash done, because owners who installed launch control probably used it.

With more than 8,000 cars built, the Boss 302 is not going to be exceptionally rare any time soon. It’s entirely possible to buy a solid, reasonable-miles example for much less than the original MSRP. If you want a car that’s never really been driven, you can have that for $50,000 without any negotiation.

Was this car worth $80,300? I don’t think so, but when it comes to buying decisions, you’re the boss.

(Introductory description courtesy of Motostalgia.)

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