Ford 302 Engine Historyby Floyd Drake III
The 302 small-block V-8 engine was a mainstay of Ford from 1968 until its retirement after model year 1995. It gained its fame with the Boss Mustang, a car named after the engine. A strong-running engine, it served Ford well for 27 years.
The Ford 302 is technically called the 302 Windsor and was first manufactured in Ford's plant in Windsor, Ontario. It was a modern improvement from the older Y-block ford V-8s. Not all 302s were built in the Windsor plant, but all retained the name. The standard 302's power ranged from 210 to 230 hp, depending on the carburetor. From 1969 to 1983, the 302 came with a stock two-barrel carburetor.
The 302 made its name with the Boss Mustang; the car was named after the engine. It was Ford's top-performing 302 and available for production years 1969 and 1970. The Mustang 302 and Mercury Cougar Eliminator were the only models to feature the Boss 302. The Boss 302 was constructed with the Windsor 302 block and 351 Cleveland engine heads and had many performance alterations.
The Mustang 302 combination witnessed a resurgence in the late 1980s until 1995, when it was called the 5.0-liter and powered the Mustang during the mini muscle-car revival. The combination worked so well that many state police forces purchased the Mustang 5.0 to pursue interstate highway speeders.
A native of New Haven, Conn., Floyd Drake III began writing in 1984. His work has appeared in the "New Haven Register," Medford's "Mail-Tribune" and the "Ashland Daily Tidings." Drake studied journalism at Southern Connecticut State University. After working as a reporter in Oregon, he is now based back home in New Haven.