By on September 8, 2010

The 1970 Mustang Boss 302 is a legend. Created specifically to compete against the Camaro z-28 in the Trans Am championship, the Boss 302 is a much rarer pony than its nemesis. Only 1628 were built in 1969 and 7013 in 1970. Its claim to fame was the unique pairing of the Windsor 302 block with the biggest Cleveland heads possible, the result rated (conservatively) at 290 hp. Somewhat surprisingly, CR bought and tested one in 1970. And since they just finished comparing the 2011 Mustang V6 against the Camaro, CR pitted the stats of the two against each other. Let’s just say that the forty years have brought some progress:

The little V6 makes more power, and scoots the 2011 down the road substantially faster. Now those test results from the Boss look a little slow compared to the commonly published figures of the times (0-60 in 6.9; 1/4 mile in 14.6 @98mph). But then the buff books didn’t buy their Bosses anonymously, like CR did. Anyway, the V6 still equals those numbers.  And gets more than twice the mileage. The prices: similar too, adjusted for inflation, comparing a base 2011 to the Boss. And the 2011 gives you a the comforts that either weren’t available or extra in 1970: AC, power steering, music and a host of other creature comforts. Progress; although maybe not as much as some of us might have imagined in 1970. Predictions then would have had us all in electric cars long ago.

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82 Comments on “1970 Mustang Boss 302 vs 2011 Mustang V6: And The Winner Is…...”


  • avatar

    The 1970 version beats the 2011 in braking? Really? I wouldn’t have guessed that!

    • 0 avatar
      Doc

      I am also shocked by this. Can this be right?

    • 0 avatar
      Ingvar

      Yeah, the braking surprised me too. The difference in mass isn’t that big. Something must be wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        mustang_jason

        well u got to think the 2011 got ABS BRAKES AND THE 1970 GOT STANDARD BRAKES THE 1970 JUST SLIDES AND THE 2011 GRABS AND SLIPS GRABS AND SLIPS TILL STOPPED

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      I was surprised too. But consider the fact that it’s a 60-0 stop, presumably with cool brakes, it’s possible. Braking test then were pretty much lock-up affairs. That comes down to the stickiness of the rubber and the pavement. Control? Hope for the best.
      So given the ABS modulated perfectly-controlled stops of today, its not really a direct comparison. No one ever said ABS necessarily resulted in shorter stops; just much better control. And I wouldn’t touch a braking comparison of the two after a few hot laps.

    • 0 avatar
      turbosaab

      Same here. You’d think braking would be a slam dunk for the 2011, if for no other reason than wider, stickier modern tires.

    • 0 avatar
      Telegraph Road

      The 2011 has a 3% longer braking distance, but a 6% greater mass. Nevertheless I wonder if these “samples of one” are relevant for inference.  I can never understand why CR doesn’t do multiple runs, revealing means and variances or standard deviations.  CR must believe its readers are statistics idiots–or the CR staff must be statistics idiots.  I suspect the former.

      @psar below: excellent point. We don’t know if the reported figures are the result of a single run or the mean (or perhaps median) of multiple runs. And if it is the latter, we don’t know the sample size or variance, so we certainly don’t know the significance.

      CR’s methods are kept close to the vest to prevent critique. No one could publish these results in a peer-reviewed journal without revealing more.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      How do you know they don’t do multiple runs?

    • 0 avatar
      h82w8

      Dunno what CR did or didn’t do on the braking tests, but I can say that, having owned a ’70 Boss 302 Mustang as recently as 6 years ago, they actually have decent brakes for an old Detroit muscle car. Assuming the braking system is in good working order With good hi-temp fluid (Ford’s Motorcraft HD brake fluid is excellent) and semi-metallic or modern carbon-kevlar pads, they’re good for more than a few fade free hard stops. If the proportioning valve is adjusted properly it’ll even stop straight with little drama. They also have a rear roll center close to that of the front, so there’s very little nose dive under hard braking. Have you panic braked in a modern ‘Stang? Can you say “nose dive”?

      Also, keep in mind that the Boss 302 weighs probably 200-300 pounds less than the 2010 V6 Mustang. Net result is actually pretty darn good braking even by modern standards, albeit without the added control of ABS.

    • 0 avatar
      timotheus980

      That 1970 Boss had asbestos brake pads since banned by the EPA, I wonder what the results of that 2011 would be with a set of those?

    • 0 avatar
      Prado

      Doesn’t both 130 or 134ft in the 60-0 suck? I thought that most sports cars of today were doing that test in under 120.

    • 0 avatar
      Prado

      Edmunds has 60-0 in 103 feet… V6 with the performance pack.  Maybe the 134ft is due to the  base tires really sucking.

      • 0 avatar
        SoL93GT

        Prado, you’re exactly right, there’s a lot of people on here who aren’t Mustang enthusiasts commenting on crap they know nothing about. Yes both the 130 ft and 134 ft from 60 mph does suck. But it was 1970 for the Boss 302 and the base model no frills V6 for that you can get for cheap comes with crap brakes. You’re right about the Performance Pack, it’s basically having GT brakes on a V6. The Mustang GT has no problem stopping from 60 mph in under 110 ft. The base model V6 without any add ons, I wouldn’t exactly call it a performance car. It’s definitely a lot quicker than the base Mustang used to be, but they’re still used as Rental cars, and for people who aren’t concerned about a massive amount of performance and just like Mustangs. And they sell so many of those models it’s crazy, and make tons of money off those cars. But yeah any Performance car that has good brakes on it nowadays stops from 60 mph in under 110 ft no problem. The Mustang GT does it in like 104 feet, the V6 is a little lighter than the GT. Million dollar Hypercars are doing it in under 100 feet now, lol.

    • 0 avatar
      TomH

      You have to remember that the ’70 Boss was a thinly disguised race car.  (Look through a Ford repair manual and note the number of exceptions for Boss 302 parts and you’ll get the idea.)  The stiffly sprung chassis with Koni shocks kept all four wheels firmly planted.
      That being said, I am a bit surprised given Ford SVT’s resources, but , for the era, it was as good as it got.
       

    • 0 avatar
      Paul W

      The braking distance with ABS is longer than without, assuming you brake correctly (and other factors remain equal, of course). Don’t you get to do braking tests in driving school in the US?

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Ummmmmmmmmmmm maybe CRs 70s test driver was better at modulating the brakes with his foot than the ABS computer is today?
     
    Love the test and the fact that it gets twice the fuel economy.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    Also, considering that the new car is heavier, how can it almost have doubled the mpgs? Aerodynamics and more fuel efficient engines surely can not count for a hundred percent increase?

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      Ingvar; I’m not at all surprised with that stat. The 302 had a huge carb, lumpy racing cam, and was strictly tuned for power. Those old hi-po engines operated extremely inefficiently at normal driving speeds. A “normal” 302 Mustang would probably have gotten 15-16 mpg, narrowing that gap considerably. And an older ’65-66 Mustang six would have topped 20mpg, but of course not had any where near the performance.
      The key is that modern engines perform very efficiently at normal operating/lower speeds, yet can put out high power levels without a penalty at the lower speeds. Keep in mind that CR’s mileage was an overall test number; if both cars were racing against the track at maximum speed, the difference wouldn’t be so dramatic.

    • 0 avatar
      Vance Torino

      Paul – You’re right on.
      I have a LESS than “normal” 302 1970 Mustang – with the standard 3 (THREE) speed manual (yes, my father was cheap… being Dutch): numerous fill-up tests put MPG in the slightly high mid teens in mostly suburban driving. The STOOPIDLY tall 3rd gear can push it into the 20s on the freeway.
      So, my car not fast. But makes evil noises. Which is what matters, these days.
      But GOD, isn’t that ’70 BOSS the PRETTIEST car ever?
      -Vance Torino
      Columbus, Ohio (YES, I fear JACK BARUTH on our public roadways!)

    • 0 avatar
      BuzzDog

      Count me as unsurprised, as well.
       
      Incremental improvements in the last 40 years add up. As Paul noted, fuel injection provides much more precise fuel metering for specific situations. Those old four-barrel carbs dumped fuel into the intake all the time, so much so that you could usually smell gasoline when the car was running…not so today.
       
      Then there’s gearing. With six gears, I assume that the top ratio (or two) of the 2011 is/are overdrive, and the top gear of the Boss 302 was 1:1.
       
      In addition to aerodynamics, I was under the impression that even the sticky radial tires of today roll easier than the bias-ply tires of years ago.
       
      It all adds up.

    • 0 avatar
      TomH

      Paul is right.  The Boss had a Holly 4150 750CFM “Double Pumper” on a small block.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Anyone still think CR is a passionless bunch of automatons who treat cars like washing machines?

    • 0 avatar
      Telegraph Road

      No…but if CR would be more revealing and transparent in its analysis it would quiet its critics and comfort its fans.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m sure that the people that work with cars at CR like working with cars. They do, however, work for a politically left wing organization that is at best ambivalent about business. The fact that they do 0-60 and 1/4 mile tests or mention a cool car like the Boss 302 isn’t enough to counterweight the fact that Joan Claybrook, a fierce anti-car activist, was a long time board member of Consumers Union.
      I think that CR is hypocritical in many ways. Their stock in trade are name brand results yet if a business dares to mention the name Consumer Reports, CR runs to court claiming that the truthful advertising of CR rankings by businesses somehow represents a violation of their rights. They are legally a non-profit, but act in many ways like regular businesses (Call now and ask for operator Judy and you’ll get a free gift with your subscription).
      While their method of buying the products so they get a real world experience is good, I think the publication has a subtext that businesses are always angling to rip you off.
       

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      They do, however, work for a politically left wing organization that is at best ambivalent about business

      And what’s wrong with that?  Should we just carte-blanche assume that businesses have our best intentions in mind, rather than their own?

      There’s a long and storied history of corporate interests being in direct opposition to the good of the consumer, the market, and society as a whole, and that they change course only after prior profiteering becomes untenable, which is way, way too late for the rest of us.  There’s certainly a problematic, yet cozy and very long-term relationship between practically every other automotive publication and the manufacturers.  TTAC has gone on at length about this, most entertainingly in Mr. Baruth’s recent series.

      And yet it’s CR we’re not supposed to trust?  Rather than the guys plying reviewers with junkets, kickbacks and meaningful employment?

      …Joan Claybrook, a fierce anti-car activist, was a long time board member of Consumers Union

      Who would you rather have on CU’s board?  A few sycophants from the auto industry?  Someone who would discourage CR from printing bad things about their new product?  Would it all be perfectly acceptable if the board was right-leaning instead, even if they were industry toadies?

      Personally (and I doubt you’ll be surprised by this) I think CR does a good job.  They’re one of the very few checks on corporate power, especially in an era of pathetically weak media.

      I think the publication has a subtext that businesses are always angling to rip you off.

      Yes, they are and yes, they do.  Business and consumer interests, especially at this level, are not inline by intent but by happenstance.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      @Ronnie-
      The reason CR jumps on anyone who uses their name in connection with advertising (e.g. “top-rated by Consumer Reports”), apart from having the legal right to control the commercial use of their trademarked name is that they announce a policy of NEVER licensing anyone to use their ratings or results in advertising.  From their perspective, this adds credibility, just like buying the products under test through the normal retail channel adds credibility.  And, if you disagree with that proposition, consider the number of GM products advertised as “Consumers Digest” “Best Buys.”  IRRC TTAC did a nice piece about “Consumer’s Digest” not long ago.
      CR caters to their audience, which is not a particularly enthusiast audience with respect to cars.  They don’t claim to be perfect, just objective.

    • 0 avatar
      KitaIkki

      Ralph Nader/CU has not done a single thing to improve the automobile.  All they do is whine and ask for Gov mandates.  It’s the automotive engineers and auto companies that came up with all the safety and efficiency innovations.  You think Ralph Nader/Joan Claybrook etc. could even imagine ABS, EFI, traction controls or even safety belts in their wildest dreams, let alone making them affordable, mass produced items?   By forcing Gov mandate of airbags, Joan Claybrook has blood on her hands.  Why force it?  Why remove “consumer choice” from the equation?   Their instinct is always totalitarian control.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Ralph Nader/CU has not done a single thing to improve the automobile.  All they do is whine and ask for Gov mandates.  It’s the automotive engineers and auto companies that came up with all the safety and efficiency innovations.
       
      And the executives, managers and accountants just willingly implement everything the engineers tell them to?
       
      Nader et al are not the counterpoint to the engineers; they’re they counterpoint to management who tell the engineers to design a sub-standard product or a gap between what would be good for the consumer and what is profitable for the company.
       
      Never mind that those same god-like engineers designed steering columns that impaled drivers, heads that couldn’t stay attached to a block if their life depended on it, fuel injection that didn’t, etc.  The list goes on and on and on.  Without someone like CU, Nader or Edmonston to blow the whistle we’d be reliant on…. Who?  The buff books and major media that are dependent on advertising revenue?
       
      By forcing Gov mandate of airbags, Joan Claybrook has blood on her hands.  Why force it?  Why remove “consumer choice” from the equation?   Their instinct is always totalitarian control.
       
      Oh, come on.  Does everything always come back to “control of our precious bodily fluids” territory?
       
      Sure, pre-SRS airbags were dangerous.  I’m sure a few people drowned when they couldn’t get their seatbelts undone, too.     Do you also think that there aren’t a lot of people walking around today who wouldn’t be here if not for the safety measures that people like Claybrook pushed to be available to everyone, rather than just the rich?  Do you also think for an instant that crash safety or product quality would be a priority if we didn’t have independent agencies advocating for it? Because corporations have, can and do put profit over people whenever they can get away with it, and the magical mystlcal free market pixies don’t always get around to addressing the problem until it’s too late.
       

    • 0 avatar
      KitaIkki

      “f not for the safety measures that people like Claybrook pushed to be available to everyone, rather than just the rich?”

      First of all, it’s not “to be available.” It’s “you must have it.” People are NOT allowed to make a choice.

      By mandating airbags, 5-mph bumpers, etc. that pushed the MSRP and weight up for everyone, rich or poor, that helped the poor?  How?

      Claybrook as head of Jimmy’s NHTSA also mandated the idiotic 85mph speedometers.  Nothing else defined the “malaise era” better than that.

      Nader/Claybrook are just toadies for the “big bad insurance companies,” to put it in terms the Leftists understand.
       
       

    • 0 avatar
      cackalacka

      If someone can point me to a ‘rightist’ organization that purchases their own samples, refuses industry money for ads, and prohibits the entities it reviews from using its results to pimp its products, I’ll happily read it and consider myself informed.
       
      In the mean time, if utilizing impartially acquired stock equipment to assess the performance, economy, comfort, and safety of vehicles is a communist plot, that is less of an indictment of CR than it is and indictment folk’s Overton Windows.
       
      Perhaps some are comfortable making investments based on articles drafted by hacks who give loaner Porshe keys to their teenage sons. Not me. Last month when I went car shopping, there were only two publications I had any confidence in, TTAC and CR.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      @kittalki

      You’re talking about an industry that in the ’50s refused to even put crash padding on the front passenger side because it implied that their cars might get into accidents. Business is not intrinsically evil, but it does have a perverse incentive to provide the cheapest – and thus most dangerous – option. Look at the horrid designs of pre-regulation stuff – washing machines that tore the flesh off your arm, freezers that locked kids inside to die. That stuff didn’t even cost the consumers anything in the end, but would never have been fixed without external pressure.

      Do you really want to live with no food or drug safety regulations? No basic standards for electrical stuff that keep outside metal chasses from being hot?

      Things are cheaper than ever. The cost is next to zero, and we don’t have to wonder if the milk we buy for our babies is full of plastic. How are consumers supposed to “have choice” about that when it’s hidden and only increases profit rather than decreasing cost?

  • avatar
    Zombo

    I wouldn’t put a whole lot of faith in test numbers from Consumer Distorts who’ve been known to test lawn tractors with a ruler by the front wheel to see how high the front wheels lift when starting up a hill with a full rear bagger . The 2011 mpg looks bogus too , as a June Car and Driver test had it at an 18 average – 24 mpg is more likely a highway number or taking it extremely easy with the right foot to say the least .

  • avatar
    ajla

    How does CR do their quarter mile tests? Are they at a really high elevation?

    Because 14.8? That seems really bad. Is that with the stock final drive? That might explain the high MPG numbers.
     
    What did they manage out of the Camaro, a 15.4? Just mashing the gas in a 6A Camaro should get around a 15.0.

    • 0 avatar
      Telegraph Road

      The problem with CR is it presents its results as white-coat lab findings, but doesn’t provide sufficient information for replication or independent analysis and verification.  If they tried to publish their stark and veiled reports in scientific journals they would be failed by the reviewers for lack of transparency.

    • 0 avatar
      wonderwar

      our 69 boss ran consistent 13.9 quarter mile times in pure stock nhra class

      this was at connecticut dragway

      the strip was closed with rumors of condos being built

      it never happenned

      CONSUMER REPORTS USES THE STRIP TO THIS VERY DAY FOR ITS TESTS!!!

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      I have seen some bizarrely slow 1/4 mile E.Ts in CR over the years, and in other magazines too. 16.0 from the Boss? I highly doubt it. My friend’s new Camaro, with the big motor and the 6 speed auto, goes 13.8’s unless you totally screw up the launch. I take all figures posted in mags, good or bad, with a grain of salt. I usually know someone who has access to a car I might be interested in and a real 0-60 and 1/4 mile time can be seen.
      I don’t remember what magazine had a 0-60 time on an ’08 Charger R/T of something like 7.2 seconds. That’s about a second off from what I did on one of the first tries in my car, with the stability left on. With it off (Still partially on really) 5.4’s are able to be done, with some difficulty. If I disable it completely, by turning and holding the key in the start position while moving at 20MPH, I have done a couple 5.3’s and one single 5.2 0-60. I think the magazine had the E.T of 15.5. I don’t know what planet they did it on, or maybe it was uphill, I don’t know, but my first pass, with a bad launch, was 14.45. With the only mod of an air intake, I ran a 14.08 with an not quite perfect launch about a year later. I haven’t tried since, but my friend’s Charger seems pretty much equal to mine and with an aftermarket exhaust and air intake, it ran 13.88 on a cool night in late spring.

    • 0 avatar
      william442

      Please keep i mind that a 1965 Corvette L 76 (365 bhp) with a 3.92 gear would only break 14 seconds on a really good day. Tires again?

  • avatar
    MarcKyle64

    Those speed number mean nothing without the most important measurement of all: top end mph.  The 302 would have had at least a 140 mph reading, while the V-6 has a speed-limited 113.  113 is an insult for a Mustang with over 300 hp.

    • 0 avatar
      BuzzDog

      The 302 would have had at least a 140 mph reading, while the V-6 has a speed-limited 113.  113 is an insult for a Mustang with over 300 hp.
       
      Blame the “insult” on the need for the Mustang to stay within the speed ratings of its OEM tires.
       
      Given that many of these Mustangs will be driven as used cars by young, inexperienced drivers in a few short years, I can live with that compromise. And for those who are determined enough, I’m sure that the speed limiter can be de-programmed from the computer.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      I wonder how long those 1970s bias-ply tires would have held up at 140 mph …
       
      Not that there are many places one can exceed 113 mph today.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      Yeah, cause people need to go over 113 mph on modern US roads!

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Actually,l the 1970s bias-ply tires probably would have done fine at speed.  It was early radials that did not tolerate speed well.  For example, the original Michelin-X radial was definitely not a tire you would want to try at triple digit speeds.
      The reason was/is that radial tires have a much more flexible sidewall than bias-plies (that’s why they handle better), but all of that flexing generates a lot of heat, which is destructive to the tire.
      I think the real reason that 0-60 tests of the classic muscle cars are so unimpressive has to do with the greatly inferior traction of bias plies.  The rubber tread compound of most tires of that era simply melted when it got hot.  So, once overheated by wheelspin, the tires were “greasy” and lost adhesion.  This also produced scary handling characteristics for the same reason.  Start sliding one end of the car or the other and, after the tires at that end of the car get to a certain temperature, the rubber melts and adhesion drops like a stone . . . and you’re in the weeds, or worse.

  • avatar
    majo8

    Are you sure the “buff books” claimed 1/4 times for the Boss 302 is 16.6 sec?  With a trap speed of 98 mph, the elapsed time should be much lower — somewhere in the 14 second range.

    My 289 67 Cougar ran a 16.2 @ 82 mph with a 4v carb, automatic, and a 3.25 rear.
     
    Sounds like a misprint.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      majo8: yes, it was a typo. Should be 14.6. Fixed.

    • 0 avatar
      wonderwar

      like I said ours ran 13.9s all day long
      the car was the scourge of its class beating 383 roadrunners 340 darts and dusters on the top end like redheaded stepchildren

      the voice of dragracing jon lunburg(sp) described it this way the duater gets the jump but there goes the little mustang by on the top end

      the car eventually ran 11.3s after putting it thru the ford muscle parts program, tunnel ram with two fours running in D/ Modified Production

      Bob Tasca helped us when we had some bad valve keepers that kept failing, the rpm was unreal

  • avatar

    The V6 Mustang’s base price is just $22,995 (incl freight), not $28K as reported.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      You’re right too; I changed the last paragraph to show that the two cost about the same, but the 2011 has many more features standard .

    • 0 avatar
      majo8

      The 2011 has many more standard features indeed:
       
      power steering/brakes
      abs
      6 speed vs. 4 speed
      tinted windows
      air conditioner
      am/fm/cd vs. no radio ( or am at best )
      air bags
      reinforced doors
      reclining front seats
      console w/ aux 12v power outlet
      interval wipers
      power windows/locks/mirrors
       
      I’m sure there’s some I’m missing.  But of course, I’d take the Boss over the 2011 in a heartbeat………
       
       
       

  • avatar
    Birddog

    I’d RUN to the Ford store to buy a 69-70 (even 71!) Boss, otherwise i’m filled with ennui. Though I’m not a typical car buyer..

  • avatar
    AlmostFamous

    Put a nice cam, gears, and some sticky tires, that 1970 Mustang is running mid 12’s. Vehicles of this era have very underrated 1/4 mile times as the tires from this area are a joke when compared to modern tires. Alot of these vehicles lose a .5sec off the 1/4 time with only the addition of sticky, modern tires.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      “Alot of these vehicles lose a .5sec off the 1/4 time with only the addition of sticky, modern tires.”
       
      Which would still leave the modern V-6 ‘stang with a comfortable lead. Also, remember that the V-6 tested is the base model modern ‘stang which the Boss 302 was a rare top of the line performance version. Ford is re-incarnating the Boss 302 name in 2012: http://www.fordvehicles.com/cars/mustang/2012mustangboss/

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    Any of the revered ‘muscle-cars’ will be smoked by any number of off-the-lot performance cars available today with a sig on the lease agreement.

    ‘Tis hilarious that their owners still think that 600 HP is somehow impressive. Even more funny when it takes 7+L to do it.

    • 0 avatar

      They will never be smoked in style, character, rarity and the time and history that they respresent. 

      The American cars of the 1960s and early 70s are truly something special and will always be so.  Numbers have never made and never will make a car.  The numbers the 2011 Mustang V6 puts up do not do anything to make it any less a modern rental car. 

      Just as the startling numbers the mid 1990s GM F-bodies with their new and “powerful” 200hp V6 at the time didn’t make a wiff of difference.  Not compared to the originals.  Not compared to the LS1. And the same goes for the new V6 versus the new 5.0.

      Richard Hammond summed it up classic muscle cars best in Top Gear magazine a few years ago. 

      http://www.topgear.com/content/features/stories/2008/04/stories/06/1.html

      “If a car is a dynamic creature, if it’s about taking you from where you are to where you need to be and making your hair tingle in the process, then a muscle car is the ultimate expression of that form.”

      “They are the stuff of fable and myth. They are dragons. When they stalked the world, they stirred our souls, even if we were thinking about them on the way to school in an Austin Allegro. ”

      “Those original muscle cars, yes, the American ones, were created with the idea of generating myth and legend from the start. The names: Charger, Firebird, Challenger, Barracuda, Road Runner, all evocative, exciting names, names to pin legends to. They did not speak of efficiency or neatness, they did not whisper of practicality or predictability. They are names to savour, to roll around the tongue and slip into your dreamscapes. And they changed the world.”

      Amen.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      As for modern cars smoking classic muscle machines you’re right, only it doesn’t always take a modern performance-oriented vehicle to smoke a classic icon.  I’m reminded of what I think was a Motor Trend graphic from nearly 10 years ago comparing the performance of late-50s era Corvettes to the Honda Odyssey minivan.  IIRC the Ody beat all the early Vettes 0-60 until sometime around the 1958 year, which I think was when the Vette could get the 1hp/cui fuelie engine.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      @TriShield,
       
      While those are metrics you may subscribe to, my only concern is performance.
       
      Anybody with a few functional IQ points (and $500) can take a Turbo Chrysler minivan and smoke an effen ZL-1 ‘Vette in the 1/4.
       
      I give two good flyings about ‘heritage’ or ‘history’ or ‘legend’. When a mildly built 928 bests GT3 factory piloted lap times, or a Cadillac CTS-V runs a killer ‘Ring time I care.

  • avatar

    The reputation of the Boss 302 was not forged at the drag strip or street racing, but rather in Trans Am road racing, most famously driven by Parnelli Jones. The purpose of the street car was simply to homologate something that could run in Trans Am, which limited displacement to 302CI. I’d guess that Jones’ racing Boss 302 might be a bit more competitive with the ’11 Boss than the ’70 Boss for the street.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      Bottom line is that it would not be competitive today.

      Sorry, I’m not gonna get all misty-eyed about the ‘golden years’.

      Beyond the obvious superiority of current tech, the driver is the “x” in any track time equation. Without a Stig, comparisons are always apples and oranges.

      • 0 avatar
        67cougar

        Dear “porshespeed”,

        I don’t know about you…

        Well yes I do. I do know that when a 1970 Boss 302 passes you by, you look. You look and there’s a little drool that forms at the corner of your little European mouth, and you yearn with envy. Cause your a human, a human male and you have the same instinct as all the other human males out here.

        And that’s the point. Screw the numbers. I know my 67 cougars performance is shite compared to a 2013 v6 mustang. But guess what, when I drive to work that one day a week I live for in my lovely black cat, people bout break their necks to see wtf just went by. And I love it. And I don’t look twice, even a sideways first glance at a clone stang…

        And like i said, THAT is the point! Now I hope you understand your chromosome makeup a little better.

        If you need any more lessons in how to be manly, please let me know. I available most evenings after 5ish, and weekends, except mornings on Sunday’s, where I ain’t at church, but nursing a hangover till about noon.

    • 0 avatar
      Rod Panhard

      I’m with Porschespeed on this one. The “Good Old Days” weren’t that good. Get over it, people!

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Of course it’s not competitive today. Neither is a 1970 VW Beetle, a 1970 Mercedes or a 1970 Toyota Corona. A new Civic will outperform a 1970 Ferrari in many ways. But in 1970, the 2010 Civic didn’t exist, so no one judged the Ferrari by that standard.

      It’s called “progress.” It’s fun to compare a 1970 Boss Mustang to a 2011 Mustang, but condemning it based on today’s standards is silly.

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    Coming to a junkyard near you… crashed secretary Mustangs… come and get em!
    The new 3.7 V6 is the drivetrain of choice for me for a transplant into my 1973 Volvo 1800 ES. Imagine the stats in a 2500 lb car! With those numbers I will even add the cat and claim it was done to be green!

    These V6 Ford 3.7 and Ecoboost 3.5 drivetrains could spawn a whole new industry of engine swaps, and not just for old skool hot-rodders.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      A neighbor just drove home an 88 Camaro RS from out West, it’s in amazing condition, and will soon have a 5.7 and the rest of the drivetrain from a wrecked 2001 Trans Am WS6 (His son’s car). A lot of newer V6 and V8 motors make great (and sometimes cheap) transplant material. A friend bought a 6.0 LS motor a couple years ago and put it in his brought back from Las Vegas S-10 Blazer. It’s a lot of fun, and gets close to the same milage the original 4.3 V6 got, if you control yourself.

  • avatar
    jplane

    I just bought a 2011.  It is so much fun to drive.  Every time I drive it, I like it better.  I hope to have it for a long time.

  • avatar
    rehposolihp

    Something that might explain the low quarter mile times that CR gets is how they drive the car.   They don’t clutch dump.   For a lot of cars this results in a much slower start off the line (off the top of my head its more for high-revvers like the RX-8 and the S2000) and thus slower 1/4 mile.

  • avatar
    Zombo

     
    “You want to slime Consumer Reports and then hold up C & D as the standard of objective automotive testing? Next.”

      No , but common sense says a car enthusiast’s mag mpg numbers would be closer to those that people posting on a car enthusiast’s site would get , unless you all would buy a car like that and drive it like a damn grandmother . Hell , even fueleconomy.gov has it rated at 22 mpg ! As far as CR goes with all the online research resources around , all their flawed recommended best buys over the years , and blatant brand homerism it’s a wonder it still exists . But I guess there’s enough luddites around who haven’t figured out how to use a computer yet to keep them in business .

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      Not really. In order to get the kind of numbers C&D gets on their track you have to be willing to use up the transmission and tires in an afternoon. Which is fine if the mfg. is paying for it all :).
       

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    I wouldn’t hold up the enthusiast-oriented magazines as the Standard Bearers for Automotive Performance. We know the manufacturers supplied them with the cars, which we know get special treatment before being released into the custody of the magazines.

  • avatar
    Zombo

    Again I’m not saying they’re the gospel either , but a 3500 pound car with over 300 horsepower getting a steady average of 24 mpg is only going to happen if you drive it very conservatively .

  • avatar
    patman

    Interesting comparison. Technology has brought cars a long way since the height of the pony/musclecar days. Today’s motors make more real world power than the superstars of the 60’s and they do it with less cubes while delivering remarkably better economy and emissions and flawless driveability manners and the cars they come in are faster in every way (except apparently braking!?) than they’re 60’s era counterparts. And don’t forget that the motors of yesteryear required tuning and maintenance more frequently than you’d change the oil on today’s motor and would probably need a rebuild before you’d have to replace the platinum plugs in your car today.
     
    If you want a fun daily driver that’ll get you back and forth to work with little hassle and a bit style, that 2011 or any recent Mustang will do but if you want to feel like a rock star and want something you can take for a spin on a nice day and cruise through the cruise-in in, then the Boss is the way to go. I’ll take one in Grabber Yellow with the black stripes please.
     
    The 0-60 and 1/4 mile times are odd. The 2011’s MPH suggest a lower ET as does the Boss’s, like, as much as a second faster for both. I imagine the Boss is a challenge to launch with limited traction and an engine that probably doesn’t make a lot of torque below the powerband with those giant Cleveland heads and big cam on the relatively small 302 block – it’s either bog city or a smoke show.
     
    For comparison’s sake, my 1996 GT with a 215HP 4.6L, 5 speed manual and a super-long highway geared 2.73:1 rear axle went 14.9@91.5 and a best MPH of 93.5 – that was when it was completely stock save for weld-in Flowmaster mufflers and on all-season tires. I haven’t weighed it but it should be around the weight of the Boss 302. If I could’ve ever gotten my 60 ft times down to a respectable number I could’ve shaved a couple more tenths off of that but my tires and/or my skills weren’t up to it and I could never get them below 2.2 seconds.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    An interesting illustration of how test numbers don’t define the driving experience of a car.  I’m sure that a person driving these two cars would find them wildly different.  The Boss 302 is a car that has “character” by the boatload; the V6 Mustang, comparatively speaking, does not.  By “character” I mean a whole host of idiosyncrasies that the driver must master before getting the most out of the car.  For most enthusiasts, it is this mastery of the car that provides the most satisfaction and what transforms a car from being a mere appliance (even a very efficient appliance) to an almost organic thing.  It is not, within limits, 0-60 times, top speed, max G-force cornering, or 60-0 distances.
    It is for that reason that the “muscle cars” of the 1960s demand respect.  For their time, they offered stunning performance; but to realize that performance (and not kill ones’ self), the driver had to exert a lot of effort in “partnering with” the car.  They were not something that you could just jump into and drive at their limits.
    Obviously, they were designed without regard to fuel efficiency, emissions or occupant protection . . . but so was every other car of the era.  It’s silly to even talk about those issues.  They were designed for straight-line acceleration at less than triple-digit speeds; and, in the hands of a skilled pilot, they did that pretty well.

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    Someone famous once said, I think, “Stats are for losers”.  The new Mustang is a better car, but you would have to be bat shit crazy to prefer it over the ’70 Boss. 

  • avatar
    slance66

    The Boss 302 was notoriously underrated on the dyno.  The HP and torque numbers were much higher than the reported numbers.  Put the 2011 tires on the ’70, take it side by side with the V6 today and see what happens.  Or for more fun, compare it to any of the Mustangs from the 35 or so years leading up to the recent redesign.  It will look pretty good.
    That said, when considering a 40 year period, I’d say the cars compared are much closer than televisions, computers or many other products from the same eras.  Automobiles have come a long way, but not as fast as might have been expected, and certainly behind the pace of many other industries.  Most of the improvements have been in safety, comfort and convenience, not in performance.  It’s those areas where the 2011 really blows the old Boss away.
     

    • 0 avatar
      patman

      Those trap speeds suggest that the notorious underrating of 60’s motors is grossly overrated. Crappy tires can explain bad ET’s to a degree but they don’t explain away the low MPHs.
       
      Average performance is way, way, way up compared to forty years ago. Most cars today will cover the 1/4 mile in what more than a few cars 40 years ago took to get to 60 MPH and that has little to nothing to do with tires. When just about everything can hit 60 MPH in less than 7 seconds these days it’s hard to say that performance isn’t vastly improved too. You can have your cake and eat it with today’s cars – safety, comfort, convenience, handling and blistering performance. That in no way detracts from the awesomeness of the Boss 302 though.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      The comparison between electronics and automobiles over the past 50 years isn’t entirely fair as that period encompasses electronics from their very infancy. Automobile certainly progressed more dramatically from 1900 to 1950 than they have from 1960 to 2010.
      The unique thing about transistorized electronics is that the continue to benefit from the magic of “Moore’s law”. There is pretty much no other industry which has been able to create and ride the kind of price:performance curve which has been enabled by the every shrinking size of transistors. People often compare other technologies to the remarkable pace of advance transistors have been able to achieve, but I don’t think there has ever been another technology which has enjoyed such a dramatic, extended development curve. At some point, Moore’s law will run out of gas, but much as with the peak oil debate, the exact timing of hitting that wall is still unclear.
       

  • avatar
    skor

    The numbers published in the auto rags back in the day had only a passing acquaintance with reality.  Like others here have already stated, the cars tested by said rags were factory prepped and not available for sale to the general public in that configuration.  The cars likely had very soft and sticky track tires installed before testing as well.
    Specifically, as to the Boss 302,  the heads were two valve affairs that had monstrously large ports and valves. Cams were very lumpy to say the least. The Boss engine wasn’t even breathing properly until you got it screaming.  The 302 engine was designed to be run flat out on a track, it was not intended for drag racing, or any type of real world street driving for that matter.   Put the Boss 302 on a track with the the new V6 and I think the results may be a bit different.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    It’s kinda funny how people who savage modern near/mid luxury cars for not hitting 60 in 5.5 suddenly dismiss 0-60 times when they apply to cars they loved in their youth. My Saab 9-5 will rip the hell out of most ’60s muscle cars – but no way in hell is it fast enough now.

  • avatar
    Aguila1

    That a V6 Mustang can even be compared to a Trans Am racing homologation special is testament to the march of technological progress. But since this is supposed to be “Truth About Cars” let me set the record straight on the Boss’s performance or lack thereof.

    I owned two 1970 Boss 302s back when they were cheap used cars. They weighed in at 3,270 lbs. One was stock, the second the engine was modified to 400+ hp. Around town gas mileage was really bad, but not single digits, and on the highway they would do 20 mpg. Both cars had 3.50 gears. The stock car (minus rev limiter) would top out at 144 mph when it ran out of revs, as witnessed by the SC Highway Patrol. Quarter mile was easily in the fourteens, if you could get a good launch. 0-60 was no less than 7 seconds. Bottom end torque was not its strong point, because of the monster intake ports the powerband did not come in until 4,500 rpm, but then it screamed – definitely not slow and exciting and really fun to drive. The modified car revved to 7,000 rpm and would haze the tires at 70 mph, while the car was going sideways, scary fast. Again, in the stock car, I remember once beating a big block chevy Corvette in a street race and only losing by a car length to a Stage 1 Buick GS, from a roll-on. So, even stock it could hold its own.

    Great V6 Mustang – its performance is comparable to a vintage Boss 302, with better fuel economy, better handling (even if somewhat porky weight), without making your eyes burn from unburned hydrocarbons like the old one would. No need for revisionist history, though. I doubt in forty years people will pay big bucks for this latest technological gem, as they do today for the legendary Boss 302.


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