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My 1966 Ford Mustang, the 351

1966 Ford Mustang

The 351

Table of Contents


U.S. Military Name Tapes Link

To understand the importance of this car and the significance of its name, it's necessary to go all the way back to the beginning of my car fetish — I mean, fascination — and the convoluted story that unfolded over the last couple of decades.

The Original 351 was a '66 Mustang — which was simply called "the 351," back then. It had burgundy paint, spots of primer and a hideous white vinyl top. It was ugly, abused, and rusting away, but it was mine and it meant the world to me. It was powered by a '73 2-barrel 351W backed by a C4 automatic transmission and it channeled its power through an 8" rear-end sporting 2.80:1 gears and an open-differential. It doesn't sound like much until you had it walk away from you — and yes, it did that, a lot. It happened to small blocks, big blocks, foreign exotics, you name it. Even today, after having the experience of driving and racing a number of cars quicker and faster than that one, it's still one of the most brutal cars I've ever driven.

Suffice it to say, it had a big impact on teenage me that's lasted a lifetime.

In May of 1995, while I was driving it through town, the car started having transmission troubles and it came to an abrupt halt. After having it towed home, I consulted with my automotive mentor, Jack, who helped me diagnose the problem: the C4 automatic transmission's front pump had seized.

That would ultimately be the end of the Original 351. To my life-long chagrin, I eventually sold it so I could have another '66 in better shape, but with a manual transmission. As much as I enjoyed the C4 in my first car, what I really wanted was a four-speed — even if I didn't know how to drive a manual transmission at the time.

That replacement '66, dubbed the Turquoise Mustang, had a tired 302, a three-speed manual, and it lasted all of a few months before someone turned left in front of me and it was totaled — the front sub-frame buckled into the floor pan.

Not long after its demise, I purchased the 347, in its bone-stock, but high-mileage, original-to-me condition. I drove that car as my daily driver until after I was out of college. During that time, I came across the '66 GT and bought it so that I could have a classic again. The problem was, as I've mentioned, it wasn't like my first car and I'm not a big fan of '66 GT coupes. Eventually I traded it for the Ivy Green base-model coupe I own today. I drove it off and on until the clutch squealed like a stuck pig and the engine blew an already leaking head gasket.

After sitting for more than a decade, it's time to put it back on the road, this time, healthy, with its namesake 351W stuffed in it. It's long since past time for me to get back to my automotive roots — a place I've longed to be since the Original 351 went down 25 years ago.


Original 351 Windsor Title Image

Two-Barrel Terror

Project: Two-Barrel Terror is the project to convert the 351 from a plebeian 289-powered pony to its 351W namesake — this car has always been intended to emulate an idealized version of my first, the Original 351.

Updated: 8/9/20


Wood Santa Claus

Making Lists

Cleaning and organizing my storage might seem like a lame way to begin working on my car hobby again, but, after more than a decade, let me assure you, just getting to do something is way more exciting than looking at it longingly from afar.

Posted: 11/29/20

My Own Oven

Going Bigger with Powder Coating

If you read the Bench Racing post I made last week titled, Powder Coating Advice, it's probably obvious that the larger the item(s) you want to powder coat, the more you're going to need to invest in equipment.

Posted: 10/25/20

351 Package Tray

Need to Weld

When I wrote the review for Weld Like a Pro, I mentioned that many of my Car Projects require welding of some sort or another, but, didn't elaborate much on what I foresee them needing.

Posted: 9/27/20

Weld Like a Pro Front Cover

Weld Like a Pro

If you're doing anything more than bolting and unbolting parts on your car projects, then welding becomes an essential skill for your car hobby — cuz most of the other parts are welded.

Almost all of my project cars are in need of some welding, so, it's a critical skill for the success of my hobby. That's why I picked up a copy of Weld Like a Pro by author and welding expert, Jerry Uttrachi.

To see if this book can help you in your own automotive adventure, check out my review!

Posted: 9/20

1966 Ford Mustang 289 V8 After a Tune-Up

Vintage Driving

It's been a long time since I've driven a car with a carb.

Posted: 4/26/20

High-Performance Differentials, Axles and Drivelines Front Cover

High-Performance Differentials, Axles and Drivelines

Rear ends and drivelines are often poorly understood by automotive enthusiasts and professionals alike and author Joseph Palazzolo understands that.

In his book High-Performance Differentials, Axles and Drivelines he packs 144 pages full of interesting and relevant information on the subject.

If you're looking to understand your rear end or rear ends in general, then take a look at my review of High-Performance Differentials, Axles and Drivelines to see if this is the book for you.

Posted: 2/20

Ford 8.8" Ring and Pinion Gear Set-Up

Car Butts

I like car butts and I cannot lie.

Posted: 2/9/20

Road in Fall

Driving Uphill

Boy, howdy was I sick this week.

Posted: 11/10/19

The 351 on the Dyno Rollers Title Image

On a Slow Roll


Posted: 9/15/19

Sunset Drag Strip Title Image

Heaven on Earth

As I write this, I just got back from the track — and it was heaven.

Posted: 4/28/19

Running Horse Title Image

Beauty and Power

The car hobby is a fascinating culture to study.

Posted: 5/10/16

2015 Ford Mustang Title Image

Back to the Drawing Board

For a long time the Mustang held the flame in the Mustang vs. Camaro war.

Posted: 3/16/16

Laser Beam Title Image

Progress, Innovation, and Automobiles

Today, things change at a fast pace.

Posted: 2/21/16

Happy New Year 2016 Title Image

Happy New Year, 2016 Edition

Happy New Year!

Posted: 1/3/16

GreaseMaster and Rusteco Title Image

GreaseMaster and Rusteco

Environment, people, and substrate safe degreaser/all-purpose cleaner and rust removers.

Posted: 5/06

U.S. Military Name Tapes Link