1971 - Mustang's Third Redesign
The Ford Mustang has become somewhat of a mascot for Ford. Ford has always been proud to offer each year model of the Mustangs and has taken it’s revisions seriously. This was evident in late 1970 when Ford released the 1971 Mustang models. Though 1970 saw a sharp decline in Mustang sales, this did not deter Ford. They were proud of their Mustangs and still are. The 1971 Mustang edition saw a lot of revisions from the previous year, some were received well and a few were not, but the Mustang line was full steam ahead!
CHANGES FROM THE PREVIOUS YEARS
1971 is the start of the third edition Mustang. The Mustang model had evolved so much over the past few years that it may seem to some that the 1965 Mustangs and the 1971 Mustangs have little in common stylistically. The 1971 edition came with three new rooflines, including a new ‘flat-back’ option. This meant you could choose from six models and dozens of customizable options. The models were as follows: Mach I, Grande’, Boss 351, Hardtop, Sportsroof and Convertible. Each model was bigger than the previous years, and featured a modified stance for better handling. Ford was clearly making the option available in 1971 of customizing your very own Mustang in every way possible.
A few new engine options were included, such as the 429 Cobra Jet Ram Air V-8. Some of the standard features included were DirectAire Ventilation, steel guard rails on the sides, high back bucket seats and a rear window electric defroster. The wheelbase was 1 inch larger than in 1970, the length 2 inches longer and the width increased by 3 inches.
One thing that Ford did continuously through out the years is change the taillights. The 1971 edition had three side by side lights. The middle one was rectangular, while the two bookends were slightly angular. This can make it easy to spot a specific Mustang year model, even in the dark!
Special Edition 1971 Mustangs
1971 MUSTANG MACH I
Due to the increase in size, the Mach I weighed approximately 250 pounds more than the previous year. The Mach I logo appeared like a large stamp just behind the front wheel and if you purchased the new Ram Air engine, it could also come with a NASA hood that had Ram Air markings on top. The lower portion of the Mach I was stylized with a blacked out design, perhaps making the vehicle look a little slimmer. The black out design was a stark contrast next to the new flashy colors Grabber Orange or Grabber Green. The 1971 Mach I featured a new roofline that sloped at a 14 degree angle. While this was aerodynamic, it made it difficult to see when backing up. This combined with other limited sightlines throughout the vehicle prompted people to call it a “bunker”. The 1971 Mach I is sometimes referred to as “last of the breed”. At this point with emissions laws becoming tougher, the muscle cars were fading from the spotlight. This model was the premier performance car, but performance cars were quickly becoming a thing of the past.
1971 MUSTANG GRANDE'
The Grande’ luxury edition Mustang featured high back bucket seats, a woodtone high-lighted instrument panel, a mini floor console with a lighted ash tray and the choice of a Cruise-O-Matic shift option which allows a driver to shift automatically or manually. As any grand vehicle would, it came with a plethora of options all aimed at the higher income market. One of the new features available in 1971 was a choice between five different colors for the vinyl top roof as well as Lambeth cloth and vinyl seat trim. Though previous models were focused only on luxury, this model could include a new 429 Cobra Jet Dual Ram Induction engine. Luxury and speed was now at a consumers fingertips.
1971 MUSTANG BOSS 351
1971 was the last year for the Boss. 1971 introduced the Boss 351 and only 1,806 models were produced. Ford was aware that new emission regulations would prevent the Boss from carrying popularity before it had even begun production. Therefore production was greatly hindered and the Boss 351 was discontinued after 1971. It is considered by many to be the most underrated muscle car of the era. The Boss 351 Cleveland engine could output 330hp with the right modifications. Stylistically the Boss was virtually identical to the Mach I other than the obvious Boss 351 stamplike logo.