In front of every barn is a set of prying car enthusiast’s eyes driving by while their imagination runs wild. Thoughts of what could be behind those doors replaces sleep at night and intrudes into day to day tasks. In most cases, it’s nothing more than rusted farm equipment and dilapidated bicycles taking up space. Every once in a while it is something completely different. In this case, a 1971 Ford Boss 351 Mustang had been waiting years to be rediscovered. Thanks to the efforts of Ryan Brutt of Auto Archaeology, one of these barn’s can now be crossed off our list.
As with any car that sat for years, there is a story on what occurred decades before to have it be left behind. This Boss met its period of slumber after the original owner sought improved fuel economy during the ‘70s fuel crisis. In 1976, a two-barrel carburetor was purchased and set to be installed in the Mustang before the owner stopped mid-install for unknown reasons. The car would spend decades between a few barns before it ultimately would become forgotten with time. As Brutt was traveling through the area, the daughter of the original owner contacted him to come see the car and document it.
Low and behind, the car’s condition was not in as rough of shape as one might think. The lack of exposure to the elements allowed the paint to stay in a salvageable condition and void of massive amounts of cancerous rust. The black interior remained pristine with the original carburetor sitting in the floorboard of the rear seat. However, the engine bay had seen better days as a large rodent had taken up living quarters under the mass amounts of tarps and what appears to be wood chips confined to the 351’s engine compartment.
This 46,000-mile example was far from a goner, unless you’re trying to buy it. The wife of the original owner found a local buyer who has already managed to get the car running. For those who are like me, keep an open eye to what may be behind those doors, as you never know what could be back there.
Correction: If you’ve made it this far and are still wondering how a 351 Windsor engine ended up in a 1971 Boss Mustang, just realize it never did. A freudian slip if you will….