Boss 351 with a factory-installed automatic?!?

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Watkins Glen NY
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Past Owner:
1973 Hardtop
1972 Sportsroof
I purchased a bunch of Cars & Parts magazines from the late 80s and was reading the December 1986 issue last night when I came across this ad:

Mustang 1971 Boss 351. Original in and out. White with black interior, stripes. 48,000 original miles. Ford factory installed auto. Immaculate California car. No rust! Garaged, mint condition. $8,500.00. R. E. Hathaway, 319 S. Turner Ave. West Covina, CA 91791. 818-966-5191

I did some research and found that the seller, Richard E Hathaway passed away in 2011. He was 55 in December of 1986. No relatives were listed on Find-A-Grave. His grave marker shows that he was a veteran of the Korean War.

Some old Ford literature lists automatic transmission as a $238 option on the 1971 Boss 351.

I wonder if that car still exists today? Could it have been legit? Based on the existence of the 1971 Boss 302 and the 1971 Euro Shelbys, I think it's quite possible.
 
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1971 Mustang Mach 1 M code 351 4 speed
I have never heard of a factory Boss 351 with an automatic transmission, but in those days almost anything was possible, but I doubt that it could have happened on a production vehicle. On a prototype with special one off parts maybe. One of the main reason why the Boss Cars were 4 speed only was because of the cam used. Those cams were really too big for a stock torque converter that Ford would have had in their parts bins. You could obviously get a higher stall converter that would work, but Ford did not have anything in their parts bin like that, or you could use a smaller cam on the automatic cars. Oldsmobile did this in the muscle car era. A 1970 W30 442 with a manual transmission had a bigger cam with more duration that the same exact car with an automatic transmission. The 4 speed car would make more power that the automatic car because of the bigger cam, but they were rated at the same horsepower. For Ford to do anything like this, they would have had to make changes to either the engine or transmission, that were not really possible for a one off car.
 
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Cloverdale, CA
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71 429CJ
I purchased a bunch of Cars & Parts magazines from the late 80s and was reading the December 1986 issue last night when I came across this ad:

Mustang 1971 Boss 351. Original in and out. White with black interior, stripes. 48,000 original miles. Ford factory installed auto. Immaculate California car. No rust! Garaged, mint condition. $8,500.00. R. E. Hathaway, 319 S. Turner Ave. West Covina, CA 91791. 818-966-5191

I did some research and found that the seller, Richard E Hathaway passed away in 2011. He was 55 in December of 1986. No relatives were listed on Find-A-Grave. His grave marker shows that he was a veteran of the Korean War.

Some old Ford literature lists automatic transmission as a $238 option on the 1971 Boss 351.

I wonder if that car still exists today? Could it have been legit? Based on the existence of the 1971 Boss 302 and the 1971 Euro Shelbys, I think it's quite possible.
Hopefully that car is still around, one rare bird.
 

Sheriff41

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72 Mustang Q-code
My dad had a nicely optioned white on black B1 that had a C6 in place of the 4-speed when he bought it back in the late 80's. The story was it had belonged to a Ford exec and the C6 was installed at his request. The car came with the top loader and all the associated original parts. The clutch pedal was still in the car fully depressed with the carper over it. We pulled the C6 and put the 4-speed back in.
 

Greg

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Vallejo California
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I have a 71 Mach 1 grabber blue and white, a 73 Mach 1 Copper and White with power sunroof and a 73 Convertible all loaded
Over the years I've seen many Bosses advertised with an automatic and many with Air Conditioning. They usually were fakes or altered originals. Without knowing the 5th digit and it's authenticity I wouldn't put much weight on them. There is always something new to discover like Two 69 Shelby's were made with factory power windows (parts were already made for Cougars) and the 71 Boss 302.
 
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