The Remarkable Comeback of a 1971 Ford Mustang Boss 351 – After 46 Years in a Rat-Infested Barn


It’s lovely to see vintage automobiles emerge from long-term storage, but occasionally the classic in question is little more than a heap of rust. This 1971 Ford Mustang, thankfully, is not one of those vehicles. Despite having spent over fifty years in storage, it appears to be an untouched survival.

This Boss 351 hasn’t been driven since 1976, which may seem unbelievable. This indicates that the initial owner only utilized it for five years. As a result, with only 46,000 miles (74,029 km) on the odometer, the Mustang is also a classic with low mileage.

Documented by YouTube barn find hunter “Auto Archaeology,” this Boss 351 has been in the family since day one. There’s no info as to why it was retired in a barn so early, but it soldiered on through 46 years of storage in fabulous condition

Sure, it’s all dirty on the outside, but the body and the paint appear to be almost as new. All it needs is a good wash and a nice polish. The interior doesn’t look bad either except for the dirty carpets and the slightly used rear seat. And look, it still has the dealer “Cobra” sticker on the deck lid.

On the flip side, things don’t look as good under the hood. The original, numbers-matching engine is still there, but it’s covered in what appears to be the remains of a rat’s nest. Once all the debris and the rat poop are gone, the 351-cubic-inch (5.8-liter) Cleveland V8 should be there.

Granted, it won’t run again without proper maintenance and a few new parts, but the fact that it’s a numbers-matching V8 makes it worth keeping. Oh, and apparently the owner replaced the original four-barrel carburetor, which is inside the cabin, with a two-barrel unit.

The conversion was a response to the oil crisis and the rising gasoline prices. Originally, the 351 V8 was rated 330 horsepower and 370 pound-feet (502 Nm) of torque due to a configuration unique to the Mustang Boss 351. The R-code Mustang remained in production in 1972, but the mill was detuned to 275 horses and 286 pound-feet (388 Nm).

While it’s not the rarest and most powerful Mustang of its era, this Boss 351 is a cool gem worth restoring. And the good news is that the car was sold to a new owner that’s planning to put it back on the road. Hopefully, we’ll see it rev its 351 V8 soon.

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