Jim Smart
March 1, 2005

Factory performance cars have changed a lot in 30 years. Today, cars like the Mustang GT are loaded with all kinds of accessories-power windows, automatic transmissions, deluxe interiors, sound deadening, power steering, sound systems, cruise control, and even air conditioning. Most are standard equipment. Back when we were still making love to the beat of the sexual revolution, a factory musclecar had none of these things. We bought musclecars for one reason: to look cool and go fast.

In 1970, factory musclecars with accessories were for sissies. Automatic transmissions weren't hip when only a four-speed would do. Power accessories, like power steering and air conditioning, were laughable because they robbed horsepower. Other accessories, like stereos, power windows, and sound deadening, added weight. Sacrificing power and adding weight wasn't fashionable because losing to the other guy wasn't the way to win friends and influence people.

The '71 Boss 351 represents one of the last of the first-generation Mustang musclecars. And it came at a time when Ford was trying to make the Mustang all things to all people. Oddly enough, the '71 Mustang was widened to accommodate the powerhouse engines that were expected to come but never arrived, thanks to rising fuel prices and insurance costs.

Paul Woodlief, 33 years old, was scarcely a flicker in the universe when 1F02R146291 was being bucked December 14, 1970, at the Dearborn Assembly Plant. This car was ordered a month earlier, on November 16, by Ford Marketing Corporation for delivery to North Brothers Ford in Westland, Michigan. It wound up being the most generously equipped Boss 351 Mustang ever ordered and built.

The order begins with the Boss 351 package and continues with the Mach 1 Sports Interior, power steering and brakes, Traction-Lok differential with 3.91:1 gears, power windows, Magnum 500 wheels, Convenience Group, Rim-Blow steering wheel, tilt-wheel, Sport Deck rear seat, rear-deck spoiler, rear-window electric defogger, AM/FM stereo radio, console, deluxe seatbelts with warning light, and tinted glass. And there's even one deleted item: the automatic seatback release. The only option missing is air conditioning, which wasn't available on the higher-revving Boss 351 engine.

Paul's Boss 351 was also ordered with special paint. When delivered new, it was painted '70 Grabber Orange, which wasn't available for 1971. A previous owner repainted the Boss in Medium Yellow Gold, a '71 color.

For years, it was sacrilegious to modify a decidedly rare factory performance Mustang like this. But Paul decided to catch the rising tide of the restomod movement, installing modifications like headers, wider Magnums with Goodyear Eagle VRs, a warmed-over 351 High Output, Addco sway bars, and other invisible improvements that make the car safer and better.

Paul's '71 Boss 351 Mustang is a study in what factory performance cars would ultimately become in the 1990s and 2000s, where people who love fast cars can also enjoy luxury without having to give up too much performance.