Dale Amy
February 1, 2004
Horse Sense: We'd love to get the Boss 351 on a road course. It has morepower--and apparently better weight distribution--than the vaunted '00Cobra R. How much fun would that be?

"Whaddya wanna do today?"

"Oh, I don't know. Why don't we whip up an all-aluminum, short-deck, modular V-10, stick it in a Mustang, and call up those boneheads at the car magazines?"

"Sounds good. I was gettin' a little bored."

This is most assuredly not how the project began for the talented enthusiasts at Ford Motor Company's Powertrain Research & Advanced Engines division (they never even thought of us magazine boneheads), and they are never bored with this kind of hardware around. But it does make one wonder just how such a seemingly unlikely bit of vehicular R&D ever saw the light of day.

This amazing spectacle is run like two inlinefive-cylinders by twin EEC V processors.

Had someone whispered to us even a few months ago that there was a New-Edge GT running around Detroit, wearing manufacturer's plates, and packing a DOHC 10-cylinder underhood, we would have laughingly dismissed the suggestion as fume-induced gearhead fantasy. Well, it turns out this thing has been unceremoniously prowling the streets of Motor City for more than a year now, proving once again that we should never be close-minded in this occasionally madcap business.

First, let's be clear that the 5.8 V-10 that is the centerpiece of this story has absolutely nothing in common with the cast-iron, tall-deck 6.8 10-banger found in Super Duty pickups and Excursions. Instead, this is an all-new engine that is most accurately visualized as a 4.6 Cobra short-block with two additional cylinders grafted on, and topped by similarly stretched Cobra R DOHC heads, resulting in an all-aluminum V-10 of surprisingly compact external dimensions and manageable weight. To be specific, it is some 60 pounds lighter than the 5.4 engine found in the '00 Cobra R. By adding the 25-percent displacement increase of two extra pots onto a 281, you get 351 ci. Therefore, it was only natural that the '99 GT it was strapped into should come to be known, in-house, as the Boss 351. Besides, the decals that emblazoned the '71 original of the same name were a cheap purchase, fitting nicely within the project's skinflint budget.