Disclosure: This site may receive compensation when you click on some links and make purchases.

1971 Mustang Boss 351 Project


After Josh’s “pace car in pieces” Camaro story from the other day, I figured I’d better followup with something from the blue oval. This 1971 Mustang rivals that Camaro in more ways than one! It may be fully assembled and have a potent engine under the hood, but I have a feeling that its restoration may end up being just as painful. Take a closer look here on eBay to find out why. This Boss has been sitting for about 26 years and the elements have not been kind. Bidding is already over $6k, so obviously more than a few people think they can save it.


While doing a little research prior to writing this feature, I found a road test performed by Car & Driver back when the Boss 351 was first released. It is always interesting to read what people thought of cars when they were new and some of this author’s comments were surprising. Mustang fans may love these cars now, but not everyone was so enthusiastic back in 1971. You can read the story here and you will see what I mean. Even if you are not interested in saving this particular car, the story is worth a quick read just for its humor. Do I spot a four-speed down there?


Journalism isn’t what it used to be. The was writing was witty and honest back then. Basically the road tester didn’t like anything about this car except for the engine and the radio. The outward vision was poor, the brakes were bad, and the handling was even worse. Those aren’t the reasons people bought these cars though. They bought them for the gem of an engine that resided under the hood. Ford had exited racing by this point, but that V8 was basically a race motor! The 351 was a continuation of what Ford had started with the mighty Boss 302 which they built to compete in Trans-Am.


For Mustang fans, this is a special car. Even with its many deficiencies, I dont know too many people who wouldn’t like to have one today. The only problem with this one is rust. There’s lots of the nasty stuff here if you look closely. Far worse has been saved, but when contemplating a project of this magnitude you have to be realistic. You are going to need lots of skills or lots of money to make this one happen. This is still a sub-$100k car even when perfectly restored, so do you think the task will make sense financially?


  1. Mark

    All Boss 302′, 351’s and 429’s had 4 speeds!

    Like 1
  2. Rocco

    The picture in this ad shows without a shadow of doubt, the eng. in the pic. is NOT a BOSS 351C. It isn’t even a 351C. Those were solid lifter motors, and a lot of them did not survive.
    On another note, they all came with 4-speed, and A/C was not an option. If someone is biding on this car for the motor, it is not in this car. That might be a 351W or 302.
    Just trying to help potential buyers.

    Like 1
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Well, I ran VIN number and it does belong to a Boss. Looks like someone may have removed the most valuable part here…

      Like 1
      • Stephen

        Definitely not a Boss/Cleveland engine. The Boss/Cleveland heads were squared off at the end. You can see on the left valve cover that the front end of the head is curved. 351W or 302.

        Like 1
    • Off2hcky

      Agree with Rocco. Pics are poor quality but the top radiator hose appears to attach to the intake and you can just barely see the vacuum tree thats mounted on the hose neck. Clearly Windsor characteristics. Cleveland radiator hoses mounted down into the block directly. Hopefully the bidders are seeing this. There is so much rust on this car, (hood is trash) it would take deep pockets to restore plus trying to find the high dollar mill for it.

      Like 1
  3. Jeff V.

    I do believe the BOSS351 is the rarest of the set 302/429.

    Like 0
  4. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    The eBay link was wrong, but has since been fixed.

    Like 0
  5. D Cassidy

    I’m in total agreement with the article, Jesse. These cars were impossible to see out of; almost like going to the moon in a rocket: lots of power but you’ll have to be very hopeful you’re going end up where you want to go. Ford had it going on in ’69 and ’70, then they self-destructed with year after year of dismal offerings until they got rid of the Mustang II

    Like 0
  6. Robert J

    I drove a ’71 Mistang Mach 1 with a 351 Cleveland in high school. I rebuilt it bored, balanced and stroked with a double pumper carb. I would light up its wide tires getting on to the freeway every morning. The smoke from the tires would actually pass the front of the car before I launched out of it due to the light rear end.

    Mine had a cool flip down gas cap which this Boss, oddly, seems to be missing. I wonder why.

    Like 0
  7. jim s

    this is another car that i think people are bidding on for the VIN and title. it is no reserve so it will have a new owner in 3 days. interesting find but it needs a PI before bidding for the reasons stated above.

    Like 0
  8. MikeW

    It almost worthless with out the Boss 351C motor. That was some motor! The radiator hose goes horizontal into the Windsor intake.

    Like 0
  9. William Henshaw

    This is my favorite body style of all the early Mustangs and it’s sad to see that someone sat on it until it was just a POS! I can’t see any value here unless your just going for the VIN and title. Makes you wonder what kind of shape it was in 15 years ago.

    Like 1
  10. kiwicustomsllc

    I asked the seller for history on the car and mentioned that the engine does not look correct for the BOSS 351 and he replied that he is not an expert on these cars but does not “think” the engine is original. As others have stated without the correct and original engine this car is worthless. Not even the vin and title make the purchase worthwhile. I hope he updates the listing and isn’t trying to capitalize on what the car could be…

    Like 0
  11. Sundog

    I also had a 71 Mach1 with the 351c-4v. Like Robert J’s, mine had the flip down gas cap, as well as a body-colored front bumper. Could this be an imposter?

    Like 0
  12. Cameron Bater UK

    Hmm, I’m no expert on restoring classics or Mustangs but from what I DO know I would say that that shell needs alot of work, if someone COULD save it they may find it cheeper buying a brand new tub. Also a few of my friends have called me “Mustang Manic” and I can say that the engine in this “Boss 351” is not the origonal (assuming it hasn’t had the 351 body sculped onto it) the Boss engines (along with the Cleavland engines) were squared off. I don’t know how to check it as I’m a Brit and it wouldn’t be registered with Swansea but I suspect that this is a 351 kit car thats been sculpted around a lesser model simmilar to what some people do to turn a Dodge Charger into a Deytona model (visually at least)

    Like 0
  13. Aaron

    Dear sir they also bought these mustangs because. Sir Connrey had one in james bond

    Like 1
  14. ian

    look at the vin number if it has a r in it its a boss car .not a boss motor.

    Like 0
  15. Charles Burton

    the 71 boss 351 was a R engine code shown in the VIN F102RXXXXX.
    351 Cleveland, 12:1 compression, solid lifter,factory buddy bar aluminum intake, d1zf dual point, ram air, spread-bore autolite carb , 3:91 locker 9″ , staggered shocks. it is the rarest Boss other than the 429, 1802 made and it is thought only about 600 remain on the road today. You may ask how do I know so much about them? I own one. Have a great day and hope your project went well.

    Like 0
  16. David

    I do believe the correct number made is 1806 not 1802 . I also own one of these rare cars.

    Like 1

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.