Danbury Mint 1971 Ford Mustang Boss 351 Page 2

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The 351 fills the engine bay practically to overflowing with cool details such as foil warning labels, a shock-tower brace and brilliant work on the lines and gaskets for the ram-air system.
Left: coiled wire brake lines, a properly painted Ford 9-inch diff in the sprung rear axle and even lines to the fuel tank’s pick-up highlight the underbody.
Magnum 500 wheels are about the only thing carried over from the ‘70 Boss, and these look dynamite with their carefully painted flat-black inner sections.

Engine. You’d think there’d be ample room for a small-block underneath that pool-table-size hood, but the 351 Cleveland still manages to look tightly wedged. Part of that is the beefy strut-tower brace installed to prevent that long front end from wallowing around under hard cornering. The ram-air assembly is a work of art; the soft rubber gasket on top of the air cleaner seals against the hood, and the vacuum switches on the bottom of the hood that operate the air inlets are carefully molded and have rubber hoses that run down to the proper fitting on the intake manifold! There is a nest of wiring and hoses that includes those for the power steering (Boss 351s often came option-loaded). Little details such as battery cables and wiper-fluid hoses really make the difference, as do the beautiful engine warning and instruction labels, some with a foil finish or sporting tiny Ford logos. My Boss is one of the very first Danbury produced, and it had one glue joint visible on the accessory belt, but expect Danbury to have such things well in hand by regular production.

Interior. If black vinyl is your thing, you’ll love the Boss interior; I call the look “’70s noir.” There’s a little bit of fake wood trim (steering-wheel rim, door inserts, the center dash panel) to break things up, but the grain is about as realistic here as it is on the original (which is to say—not). Most of the handles, stalks and levers are chrome, and the pedals are rimmed in chrome as well. There are three pedals, as the Boss is a 4-speed car, and the Hurst T-handle shifter has an “H” plainly visible on the top of the grip. Beside the seats, lap belts are tucked conveniently out of the way, and the shoulder harnesses are tacked to the roof panel above the windows; in ’71, the former got precious little use, and the latter were purely ornamental! I have two favorite interior features. The first is isn’t actually in the car, but it comes into play when accessing the interior: each door is equipped with a spring-loaded catch that causes the doors to click satisfyingly when you open and close them. The second item is purely for nostalgia’s sake: the white rectangle sticking out of the middle of the radio. If I’m not mistaken, that is an 8-track tape deck!

Seatbacks flip forward, but you won’t see much besides a conspicuous lack of room for legs and heads. Speaking of which, you can lift the rear wing to open the mail-slot-like trunk lid. In the trunk, you can see a jack and mini-donut spare tire, but the trunk opening is so small, I’m sure they were installed before the body was mounted. Slightly more interesting is the visible fuel-filler neck that runs from the stallion-adorned chrome cap on the rear valance down into the trunk floor.

Chassis, wheels and tires. Neither the solid axle with leaf spring/staggered-shock rear end nor the control-arm/coil-spring front suspension was exactly cutting edge, but decent tuning—and a pair of thick anti-roll bars—gave the Boss 351 pretty stout handling for its day. Danbury does a fine job replicating the suspension and even incorporates a degree of articulation. The front coil-springs’ function is roughly scale, and it allows the car to settle nicely. The operational rear is stiffer, as the rigid axle limits travel. The metallic paint on the exhaust system looks a shade too bright, but coloration on the driveline, transmission and engine block look very authentic. Brake lines and a neat fuel pick-up are well-appreciated finer touches.

The classic Magnum 500 wheels were one of the few styling features carried over from 1970, and Danbury’s multipiece construction and well-painted flat black inner sections look spot-on. They come wrapped in replicas of 60-series Firestone Wide Oval tires. Tread and sidewall detail is sharp, but their width is exaggerated a bit, particularly next to other Danbury 1:24 muscle-car tires.


Scale: 1:24
Overall length: 7.9 in.
Wheelbase: 4.5 in.
Width: 3 in.
Price: $120

» Functional steering
» Opening hood, doors and trunk
» Telescoping antenna
» Folding seats
» Articulated suspension

RATINGS (scale of 1-5)
Body, paint 5

Body, paint 4

Wheels, tires 4

Engine 4.5

Chassis, suspension, undercarriage 4.5

Interior 5

Presentation, proportion, stance 5

Collectibility 4

The Boss 351 should have been a resounding success; it was faster than its predecessor (Boss 302) and its main rival (Camaro Z-28). But the success of a sporty vehicle hinges on many intangibl
es, and the new Boss clicked with only 1,801 customers. As a result, it was gone after just one year, and with it went the muscle-car era. Danbury Mint quietly goes about making some of the best models in the business, and this 1:24 Boss is easily the best replica of this often-overlooked muscle machine to date. No collection of Mustang history is complete without the last of the Bosses, and this is the one to get.

Danbury Mint (800) 243-4664; danburymint.com

Updated: June 30, 2011 — 11:23 AM
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