Big Horse: 1971 Mustang Grande

Bigger isn’t always necessarily better. For 1971, Ford decided to take make a Clydesdale out of their once athletic pony car. Grande in Spanish means big, though I’m sure Ford would prefer the Italian translation of great. Find this 1971 Ford Mustang Grande here on craigslist in Lawrence, Michigan for $10,995.

This big brown horse was created to cash in on the growing personal luxury car market. Cutlasses, Grand Prixs, and Monte Carlos were all gaining market share, while the Mustang was losing the race. It is hard to picture it, looking at this example, that just a couple of years prior Mustangs were winning both on the sales charts and on the track. If you tried to race a Grande like a Mach 1, you’d lose a few hubcaps and those clean whitewalls. Possibly even scrape a door handle!

If you prefer your pony car with a layer of luxury, this clean 1971 Grande might be your kind of ride. Very clean, with some paint touch up and a few dings, the claimed 38K miles seems believable. Does the fender match the door or just bad lighting? Dark brown vinyl roof mixes well with the flying buttresses. Always cool to see a car that accurately mimics a brochure car and that they aren’t claiming it to be a one of one, even though a Marti Report is included. Cloth inserts are a bit faded and dirty, but the brown and gold interior shows well. No door speaker cut outs or vinyl wrap steering wheel here.

351 Cleveland should provide some scoot, even with a two barrel carb. Power steering and brakes should help keep this horse within the steeplechase. A new radiator has been installed and the car is said to run well. A few pieces of documentation are included and are already framed for the next car show. Engine compartment will need some cleaning, but the Ford blue paint looks correct as does the Autolite battery. Since everyone has been priced out of Bosses and Machs, will Grande became the next BIG thing?


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  1. crazyhawk

    I don’t know about the next big thing, but a big brown stock 1971 Mustang at a car show would make me smile…

    Like 1
  2. rdc

    My interest in Mustangs faded with the 71 Model year. Too big with too long of a nose. Fastback, AKA flatback just looked wrong. Sorry fans. Just my opinion.

    • redwagon

      i share that opinion. thumbs up

  3. JW

    One of my brother inlaws had one identical to this one but it had a 302. It was dependable but very blah in exterior styling from previous years of the Mustang line up. I just never cared for the 71 to 73 models, I would take a Mustang II over one of these. JMHO from owning 4 Mustangs 67 / 78 / 95 / 70.

  4. T Mel

    Are those apostrophes being used correctly?

  5. Scott L

    Big Boat comes to mind with no real value in the long run.

  6. Alan

    Early last year 2016 I bought All original 1973 Mustang hardtop coupe exterior color same as this 71 but interior is brown leather. All original 9K mile car an Arizona car was storage 302 2B Auto power steering power brakes factory AC factory AM radio manual windows. Beautiful Mustang in almost new condition! Asking price was 19K I got it for 17K

  7. Randy Naylor

    I think the 71-73 coupe’s lost it in styling. The same year in Fastback is great , I would buy one any day a deal came my way I could afford. The best looking Grande is a 1969, I had a triple black. Loved it.

  8. Rabbit

    Not a Ford expert, but I do believe the 2bbl 351 was a Windsor motor, H-code. Cleveland would be an R? Still handsome. Heavy…..but handsome.

    • Jerry Russell

      Even with the windsor two barrel im sure it does fine , I had a 1969 cougar with one , going down the freeway at 70 mph and punch it and it would still break the tires loose . Just plain Ford fun .

    • grant

      THANK YOU! I came here to say just that. Why is it that anyone selling a small block Ford thinks it’s either a “Cleveland” or a “Boss 302?” I looked at a Ford truck last year with a 460 in it. Dude still thinks it’s a Boss 302…

    • Kevin W

      This car has a Cleveland, easily identifiable by the valve covers, two totally different engines. They both came in either 2 or 4brrl form.

  9. Maestro1 Member

    I’m not a big Mustang fan except for mid 60s, but this car is very handsome. Negotiate a decent price (don’t try and steal anything) clean it, do what it needs mechanically and enjoy.

  10. Wrong Way

    My first stang was a 64 1/2 ! When this body style first came out, I thought OMW! What are they doing to the Mustang? Yes, kids pop’s is a little old! Over the years, I have owned many Mustangs, and I always had to wait for the new body style to become familiar to me before I would buy it! I am a very diehard Ford, and Mustang fan! I still drive one and will be buried in one if I get my way! LOL! One thing that I have learned watching Mustang market’s is that If you find one in good condition like this one appears to be grab it up and hold on to it! The sky is the limit for these cars kept up! Especially completely stock! Have a great evening fellas!

  11. R Bruce

    T Mel is correct. One doesn’t use an apostrophe when the subject is plural. Proof reading seems to be a lost art.

  12. sluggo

    I am sure this thing would turn lots of heads at a car show or cruise night and for that reason alone is a cool car. But I didnt like the styling of these, Ford people can argue windsor vs cleveland all day,. I dont care. But I do have fond memories of several rides in a Gran Torino (A boat by any measure) and it had a 351 Cleveland and it made me totally respect the Cleveland and how fast it made that land yacht on wheels.

    But this car has the Primus song “Big Brown Beaver” in my head now,, No one can really understand Wes Claypool anyway so it fits,, But thats what I would call this car.

  13. TR

    I had a 73 convertible with a 351 Cleavland 2 Barrel. Wish I still had it, very nice driving top down cruiser

  14. RP

    I had a ’71 Grande when I was a kid. Light blue with dark blue vinyl top and blue interior with denim inserts, looked exactly like the one in the photo. With that 351C and C6 behind it, that thing would fly. I wound up owning 5 different big body Mustangs after that, and enjoyed all of them.

    Like 1
  15. Rich 1

    This is a great example of a desirable Mustang series (’71 to ’73). My parents had a ’72 Mustang Convertible (new) when I was eight and kept until I was fifteen–it had the 351 engine and it was a great car. Sky blue (non-metallic) with blue woven-vinyl interior (stayed cool when parked in the sun with roof down) and Black Top with those sports mirrors and same deluxe wheel covers. I would love to find a convertible like it! Regrettably, most of these in Northern climates rusted. My parents traded it on a ’78 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ with T-Tops (had the leather bucket seats with a hole cut-out in the head restraints). I liked the Mustang better!

  16. half cab

    Love them seats. Bet they would look good in my Bronco.

  17. ROB

    I have many Mustangs and if built many Mustangs over the years all first generation Mustangs basically the same 1971 to three are approximately 6 inch longer and actually the cars are a little wider and handle much better the weights of a 64 to a 73 differ by about 200 lb if you’re a true Ford fan kid cruising with a smile onyour face RockN Ontario

    • Wrong Way

      Dammit boy, I am a very young 70+ year old kid, I still rock in my stang! WHERE IS THE PARTY?

  18. Jorge

    Had a 1970 Mach 1 w 351 Cleveland 2 bbl..put a Holley 550 2 bbl w open moroso air cleaner and dual exhaust..c6…Bulletproof n Fast as hell, but in the rain ,wet, rear end got very loose..Blast from the Past !

    • Wrong Way

      Take it from a very well experienced Mustang operator! LMAO, they are all light in the rear! I still cruise in one at over 70 years old, and always will! I have a stable of 12 that will go to my grandson when I am done and won’t need them anymore! You must tweak the rear end of one to keep it on the ground!

  19. Troy S

    Ford wanted to use the big 429 in the mustang so some extra space was in order, one year and the 429 option vanished. I like these “fat” mustangs and the 351 Cleveland engine is the best all around performer for these. I remember hopping in a 72 mach1 and realizing just how flat that roof line was…..DANG! No visibility at all. Not a problem in this grande.

  20. Jay

    That is not a Cleveland motor but a Windsor.

    • Kevin W

      Sorry, but it’s a Cleveland.

  21. Lou

    In 1971 options were a F code 2V 302 Windsor motor, or a H code 2V 351 Cleveland motor, or a M code 4V 351 Cleveland motor. That is definitely a Cleveland motor, which I’m sure he has confirmed through the Marti report he says he has. Yes the look is different but aside from the other motors offered the 1971 351 Cobra Jet motor option was awesome. You can’t deny this look…

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