This 1971 Ford Mustang Boss 351 Is a One-Year Gem With a Rare Interior

Now an iconic badge, the Boss nameplate was born for homologation purposes. In 1969, Ford homologated an entire car and an engine using this emblem.

Ford rolled out the Boss 302 so the Mustang would meet then-new SCCA Trans-Am regulations. The production model sported a unique stripe package, and an exclusive 302-cubic-inch (4.9-liter) V8 engine tuned to deliver 290 horsepower. The Boss 302 became a competitor for the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 and sold 8,948 units through 1970.

The second vehicle sporting the badge was a significantly meaner muscle car. It arrived in 1969 as the Boss 429 to homologate the engine wearing the same name for NASCAR competition. Thanks to this car, the 429-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) V8 was used in the race-spec Torino Talladega.

Rated at 375 horsepower, it was the most potent Ford mill at the time and shares honors with the Cobra Jet regarding the golden muscle car era. It was also produced until 1970 but is much rarer than the Boss 302, with just 1,358 examples sold.

But the Boss’s legacy didn’t stop there. While the 302 and the 429 went into the history books (Ford eventually built a 1971 Boss 302), the badge returned the following model year on a Mustang powered by a 351-cubic-inch (5.8-liter) Cleveland engine.

And even though it looked a lot like the Mach 1 inside and out, the Boss 351 was unique thanks to its engine. Yes, the mill shared displacement with other V8s available at the time, but it incorporated many exclusive features.

The list included four-bolt mains, forged steel connecting rods, forged aluminum pistons, a hotter cam, upgraded cylinder heads, and a lighter dual-plane aluminum intake with a 750-cfm four-barrel carb on top. Rated at 330 horsepower and 370 pound-feet of torque, the Boss 351 was notably quicker than the Boss 302 and nearly as fast as the Boss 429 down the quarter-mile.

The nameplate survived for only one year and found only 1,806 customers. So, in addition to being a one-year gem, the Boss 351 is also the scarcest iteration of the 1971 Mustang. The black/silver example you see here is one of those rigs, and it looks just as hot as the day it left the assembly line.

Spotted at the 2023 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals (MCACN), this Boss 351 is more than just a flawless restoration. While the body was refreshed to factory specifications, the Mustang still retains the original interior. And that’s a big deal for two reasons. First, interiors rarely survive for more than 50 years in this condition. Second, it’s a rare black-and-cream layout you won’t see in many 1971 ‘Stangs.

And because no restoration is complete without a rebuilt powerplant, this Boss 351 flaunts a spotless engine bay. It’s also highly original, according to the owner, who also shares that it took two years to revive this beauty.

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