Ford Mustang Boss 351 Graphics

Things have been a little quiet around the Mustang camp lately, if you haven’t noticed. After a steady barrage of updates the past few years, from the design refresh in 2010 to the powertrain updates in 2011 and another styling change in 2013, Ford hasn’t uttered a peep about the Mustang for quite some time. It’s quite understandable, considering they’ve got their hands full prepping the launch of the all new Mustang for 2015, but that doesn’t mean many Mustang fans, including ourselves, wouldn’t love to see something new with the current lineup. That feeling was never stronger when Chevy introduced the Camaro Z/28 at the New York Auto Show earlier this month. It got us thinking. What if Ford built one last Mustang on the S197 platform? One last special edition. The Boss 351. Here’s five reasons why we think Ford should have built it.

5. Heritage.

The S197 platform is retro by nature, and Ford loves calling on the Mustang’s storied past. This was never more true with the Boss 302. Ford repeated history in more ways than one, building the Boss 302 for only two years and following the styling cues of both the 1969 and 1970 models. Just like decades ago, Ford built a racing version (two actually) and won a championship. And what did Ford do the following year back in 1971? They built a Boss 351. Yes, the car isn’t as famous, beautiful or as desirable as the Boss 302, but that doesn’t necessarily matter. If Ford wanted to truly follow the Mustangs history and continue the Boss name, they could have gone to the 351 and done a single year production run just like they did in 1971.

4. A ready-to-go powertrain.

Assuming Ford did want to build a Mustang Boss 351, then what engine would they use? The answer is relatively simple. The current Shelby GT500′s 5.8-liter V8 measures out at 354.6 cubic inches of displacement. To us, that’s close enough, and we’re sure Ford could get the V8 down to 351cid if they wanted to. Converted to a high-revving naturally aspirated setup, the engine could easily produce north of 500 horsepower and 450 lb-ft torque.

3. The Camaro Z/28 needs a competitor.

Both the Mustang and Camaro have always competed, and the two have usually maintained fairly similar models. Historically the Boss 302 and Z/28 were fierce rivals, both on and off the track, but the same can’t be said today. Unfortunately the Z/28 is entering production just as the Boss 302 is ending, and the two are fairly different cars anyway. In reality the Boss 302 faces off with the Camaro 1LE and the Shelby GT500 goes toe-to-toe with the ZL1. That leaves nothing to face off with the Z/28. Enter the Boss 351. A naturally aspirated 5.8-liter V8 could produce similar horsepower and torque numbers to the Z/28′s LS7.

2. A Cobra R successor

This somewhat builds on the reasoning of the last point. If Ford decided to do a Camaro Z/28 competitor, it wouldn’t be the first time they built a large displacement, naturally aspirated Mustang specifically for the track. The Cobra R models of the 1990s and 2000 have become legendary. With the Cobra name currently not in use, a Boss 351 would be a perfect way to continue the brand under a different moniker. The focus would be on reducing weight weight and track performance. It’s been nearly a decade and a half since Ford built the Cobra R, so it would be great to see its return, even under a different name.

1. The S197 needs a good send-off.

With the Boss 302 ending production for 2013, that leaves the Mustang lineup without a special edition. Yes, we have the GT500, but it’s been in production long enough to be considered a standard model now, and the California Special isn’t anything more than a trim package. Being the last year of the platform, it’s sad to see the S197 go out with little fanfare. Sales are dwindling, and all eyes are on 2015. What the S197 needs is a good send-off in the form of a special car. A Boss 351 would serve as a final tribute to the current Mustang platform.

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