I had an extraordinary car day today and it started with my friend Jay Orr and his extraordinary 1971 Boss 351 Mustang. Many of you know that my favorite Mustangs come from the 1971-1973 model years...the big ones. Of those, this is the rarest, only 1806 made.
The Boss models sprung up in 1969 with the Boss 302, which had to be produced to satisfy racing rules. The Boss 429 had to be produced so that the engine could be used in another racing series. The Boss 302 and Boss 429 lasted two model years, 1969 and 1970.
The Boss 351 didn't have a reason except that Ford wanted to keep the Boss name alive and true to the name, it was special. The Boss engines were never used in any other production Ford. The Boss 351 engine is probably responsible for the high-performance reputation that the "Cleveland" series of Ford engines still enjoys today. Solid lifters, 11.3:1 compression ratio, pushrod guide plates, functioning Ram Air...it was special.
And this particular car shows it. It's a low-mileage (50,000-ish miles on the odo) survivor and it has led a good life. The Magnum 500 wheels are beautiful on this body style, as are the silver front splitter and the rear spoiler.
It's in fantastic shape, not as a show car, but as a driver.
And we drove it. I drove it. I'm forever thankful that Jay handed me the keys and I drove one of my favorite cars of all time. I expected it to drive like a nearly 50-year-old car and it did not. It was as easy as any car to drive. The clutch has a high engagement point, but once used to that I could drive it in traffic like a normal car. The brakes worked well, the car turned nicely, and it did have that legendary Boss power. Each Boss 351 came with 3.91 Traction-Lok differential, which means it will rip the treads when you stab the throttle but you can control it at the same time. Jay did that, I opted not to drive someone else's car like I stole it.
And the sounds. V8 roar, solid-lifter clatter. Oh, the sounds.
And the interior is awesome. Gauges that I never remember in the old cars were all present and working well. The Hurst shifter felt awesome in the hand. I love the small steering wheel. The seats and the rest of the interior are in great shape, with only minor blemishes and wear and tear. The color is very nice contrasted with the 70's green and silver exterior, too. Funny that we should call this generation the "big" Mustangs. Looking at the dimensions, the 1971 and the 2010 cars are almost identical in length and width...with the '71 actually being 200lbs lighter.
Under the hood is the business end. Factory aluminum finned valve covers, engine oil cooler, Ram Air plumbing, even the factory rev limiter were in place.