Forty-two years ago, John Friden returned home to northern California after serving as a Latter Day Saints missionary in South America. Removed from mainstream American life for two years, he was out of touch with Ford showrooms as he headed off to Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City. He feared his '67 Ranchero with a 390 and four-speed would prove a real slip-slider on snowy Utah roads, so he drove off in a six-cylinder Maverick. But before John headed to school, he learned about the Boss 351 Mustang coming for '71.
John liked the longer, sleeker SportsRoof body, along with the muscular solid-lifter Boss 351 Cleveland engine. So he sat down with his Ford dealer and ordered the Boss 351 exactly the way he wanted it--Dark Metallic Green with argent, black interior, and AM/8-Track stereo.
"One thing I was adamantly opposed to was the front spoiler," John told us. "I thought it disrupted the aerodynamic look of the new Mustang." John adds that the front spoiler was never installed on his Mustang, which was fine with him even though it was standard equipment on the Boss 351. John and his father headed to the dealer in the Maverick coupe that had transported him to school. In the service department was a Dark Green Metallic Boss 351 waiting to be driven home. John recalls the moment: "When the car was started, I remember the excitement of hearing the mechanical valvetrain in action, but also how subdued and well engineered it all sounded."
Like most Boss owners of the day, John disconnected the rev limiter, commenting that the Cleveland would rev to 7,000 rpm without breaking a sweat. And with a four-speed transmission and 3.91:1 cogs, it did so quickly. John and his wife, Peggy, dated in the Boss while they were both attending BYU in the early '70s. Later, babies were brought home in the Boss. Many trips were made across the Utah and Nevada deserts toward his native California home.
There came a point where John understood it was time to put the Boss away for safe keeping until he could give it a proper concours restoration. And when he did, there would be no cutting corners. The Mustang would be restored to the same condition as when John took delivery in 1971. Ultimately, he handed the Boss 351 engine over to Carpenter Automotive for a stock rebuild. Beckham Auto Body & Paint massaged the body and laid down fresh Dark Green Metallic. AAA Top Shop renewed the interior.
Today, John continues to enjoy his original-owner, 81,000-mile Boss 351, as he was doing when we discovered his Mustang during the Mustang Club of America's Round Up at the Red Rock Corral national show in St. George, Utah, last April. However, he does admit that the lack of a front spoiler continues to cause some confusion for the show judges. But it's hard to argue with the original owner.