When we gather with friends and family in late November for Thanksgiving, most people will be expressing thanks for their health, job security, and any number of other good fortunes. I will add to that list with my personal expression of thanks: I'm thankful that this year I drove a Ford Mustang Boss 302.
I was fortunate enough to drive a 2012 Boss 302 last summer and a 2013 Boss 302 this year, and I'm thankful for those opportunities now that we know Ford will discontinue the Boss for 2014. Discontinuing the Boss after a two-year run will make the car even more special and even rarer, so I feel lucky to have had seat time while the car was still in Ford's press fleet.
The Boss 302, for the uninitiated, is a thorough re-think of the Ford Mustang. Its 5.0-liter V-8 engine has an extra 24 hp (for a total of 444 hp), the chassis has more bracing and adjustable suspension dampers, and the interior gets snug Recaro seats and a grippy Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel. It's easily the best muscle car I have ever driven, and it's also one of the best sports cars overall that I've driven. From the race-car exhaust snarl to the precise short-throw transmission, and from the taut ride to the ferocious acceleration, everything about the Boss 302 makes me grin.
I won't deny that the car has some flaws: the steering wheel doesn't telescope, so you're forced to sit too close to the pedals, and the interior plastics and equipment are no more special than in a $22,995 Mustang V-6. The Ford Mustang Boss 302 isn't the perfect car and it isn't my favorite car of all time, yet it's so much fun that I am thankful to have driven two versions of the Boss during its brief two-year production run.