.

the car junkie daily magazine.

.

Monday Shopper: 1971 Ford Mustang Boss 351 – When You Want To Mess With Everyone’s Head!


Monday Shopper: 1971 Ford Mustang Boss 351 – When You Want To Mess With Everyone’s Head!

Ford had a surprise for everybody in 1971: the Mustang went into full “Fat Elvis” mode. The platform was more-or-less the same car that had been around since the beginning. Yes, the 1971-73 Mustang is usually considered to be the same generation as the 1964.5 Mustang. But if you parked the two together, you’d never know it. The Mustang had gotten longer, wider, and heavier, and were starting to make the move towards “fluffy GT” instead of the bare-knuckle brawler that the 1967-70 cars had been. You want to know why Iacocca went with the Mustang II instead of just re-skinning the Maverick? The big body horse had a lot to do with it.

But make no mistake, the big boy could still party like a rock star. You could go for the basic 250ci straight six or you could go balls-out and go for the 429 Cobra Jet and swing for the fences. You had range to choose from and you could stay with basic trims or step up to the likes of the Mach 1 or Sprint packages. But then there is the one-year-wonder, the Boss 351. Around 1971, manufacturers had started playing a game with the insurance companies: if you bought a big-block car that was obviously a musclecar, you would get nailed to the wall with your insurance bill. This is why cars like the Dodge Demon 340, the Olds Rallye 350 and the “Heavy Chevy” Chevelle started to appear. The Mustang’s role as a hot machine wasn’t going to fool easily, but Ford managed to find a way: the 351 was a small block. So, as long as the VIN coded out to a small-block 351, all was good. Except the engine under the hood of a Boss 351 wasn’t the 285 horsepower unit that came in other, lesser Mustangs.

The R-code Boss 351 rocked with 330 horsepower and 370 ft/lbs of torque, and the whole car showed up ready to rock. The Competition Suspension package was standard. The scooped hood with functional NACA ducts was standard. The Mach 1’s grille was standard. Four-speed, standard. The 9-inch rear with a Traction-Lok and 3.91 gears was standard. It looked more-or-less like the Mach 1, it had the right gear, and in the right hands, it could make anyone’s day suck. Small blocks couldn’t keep up, big blocks had found a potent matchup. The public might have been divided on the new Mustang’s looks but the engine…the praises that have been sung about that engine and how it works. And getting our hands on one of the 1,806 examples would be a dream come true.

Mecum Auctions’ Indy 2019: Lot R118 – 1971 Ford Mustang Boss 351


  • Share This
  • Pinterest
  • 0

13 thoughts on “Monday Shopper: 1971 Ford Mustang Boss 351 – When You Want To Mess With Everyone’s Head!

  1. Shawn Fox Firth

    One of my Favorite body styles , The red one in Diamonds are Forever made an Indelible impression upon me . And Goolsby Customs did a Great job on a ’71 sportsroof called ‘Pegasus .’

    Reply
  2. Ted

    Fomoco wins the best designed hubcap of all time with this one, could live with this in the living room as an art piece, nice car. And good comment on Eleanor Bob, too many people still think that p.o.s. reboot with Nicolas Cage is the real Eleanor, what a disservice.

    One issue with this era of Mustang is axle tramp, if you’ve never rowed a gear in one of these when you pull second it’s like playing in a bouncy castle.

    Be interesting to see what this goes over the block for……….

    Reply
  3. crazy canuck

    had one of these cars cars come through my hands in the early 80s rust was held together with undercoating at that time nobody wanted the car and it went for parts . The wrecking yard I worked at had lots of muscle that went to the crusher but not before we snuck lots of good drivetrain stuff out the back door at scrap prices

    Reply
  4. Patrick

    Used to really dislike these when I was younger, now they have grown on me. The Grande roofs are still horrid.

    Reply
  5. Piston Pete

    I knew a coupla guys who did insurance jobs in the early 70s. One time they agreed to relieve a guy of his ’71 Mach 1. So, they went to an apartment complex on the west side of Indy and got it (they thought). A few days later the guy called and asked when they were gonna get his car. OOPS! The next night they went back and got the right one. I know we’re talking about Boss 351s, but close enough for a good (true) story.

    Reply
  6. OLD TIMER

    Friend of mine has one and has had it for years beat my 428 cj and would run with a ls6 it may be the best small block ever made.

    Reply
  7. Matt Z

    A few years ago one of the magazines built to factory specs an LT-1, a 340 ,and aBoss 351 ….the Boss had about 380+ hp, the Chevy had about 345ish,l don\’t remember the 340\’s hp ,but apparently the Boss 351 was underrated,the other 2 were closer to their factory rating .

    Reply
  8. Matt Z

    A few years ago one of the magazines built to factory specs an LT-1, a 340 ,and aBoss 351 ….the Boss had about 380+ hp, the Chevy had about 345ish,l don’t remember the 340’s hp ,but apparently the Boss 351 was underrated,the other 2 were closer to their factory rating .

    Reply
  9. Tim

    “The Mustang’s role as a hot machine wasn’t going to fool easily, but Ford managed to find a way: the 351 was a small block. So, as long as the VIN coded out to a small-block 351, all was good. Except the engine under the hood of a Boss 351 wasn’t the 285 horsepower unit that came in other, lesser Mustangs.”
    I bought a 70 Boss 302 in 75 and all was well insurance wise. I switched insurance in 79 and got a call from an underwriter at my new insurance carrier who was savvy enough to notice the VIN indicated it was a Boss 302. I had to do a little talking to explain I was too mature to street race but sweated a bit but ended up getting a good rate.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *