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Top 10 Engines of All Time (#9): Ford 351 Windsor

Ford 351 Windsor engine

Ford Motor Co. introduced their Windsor small block engine family in 1962, releasing the 289 and 302 into the automotive wilderness.

As the public demand grew for more factory performance, the gang at Ford needed to figure out how to bridge their 302 and big block 390.

Enter the 351 Windsor.

Fun Fact

In 1970, just one year after introducing the 351 Windsor, Ford introduced the 351 Cleveland—an entirely different engine from the Windsor, but also displacing 351 cubic inches.

History 

Ford debuted the 351 Windsor in the 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 with both two-barrel  and four-barrel carburetor configurations.

The four-barrel variety disappeared after one year. And Ford continued to emasculate the engine as government mandates forced automakers to reduce power and fuel consumption. In 1978, Ford put small-valve 302 cylinder heads on the 351W and banished it to grocery getters and full-length vans.

But the 351W was the little engine that could.

And it was resurrected as a performance powerplant for later model Mustangs, though known mostly as the Ford 5.8L. And that’s when the automotive aftermarket started delivering power adders for this engine.

It was last seen coming out of the factory in the 1995 Cobra R.

The 351W still lives and is available as a crate engine from Ford Racing.

Specifications 

1969 – 1970 with 2 Barrel Carb
Max Brake Horsepower – 250 @ 4600 rpm
Max Torque – 355 @ 2600 rpm
Stroke – 3.50
Bore – 4.0
Compression – 9.5  

1969 with 4 Barrel Carb
Max Brake Horsepower – 290 @ 4800 rpm
Max Torque – 385 @ 3200 rpm
Stroke – 3.50
Bore – 4.0
Compression – 10.7

Top Aftermarket Upgrades 

According to Summit Racing, these Ford 351 Windsor parts are the most readily available (number of options as of 1/16/2014 in parenthesis):

Editor’s Note: This series counts down the Top 10 engines of all timesee how the voting was done by reading our initial post.

SOURCE: Hemmings.com.

 

 

 

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29 Comments

  1. Can anyone tell me if a 351 Cleveland engine will fit in a dodge nitro engin bay.

    • The 351W continued in production past the 1995 Cobra. It was also used on the F-150 and Bronco through 1996 and a limited number of Super Duties and Vans in 1997.

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  3. monkeyvibes says:

    Its potential would have never been fully known if not for the aftermarket. And its its not ford’351 with the greatest potential either. If the Cleveland were more readily available and had a larger following the aftermarket and ford builders would really be making a statement about Ford performance . The cleveland was built for high speed , high rpm and was halted and killed in its infancy by the new emissions regs . A little ride in bone stock boss 351 is all it takes to see what could have been if you understand what was going down at the time and the direction the cleveland pointed before getting neutered

  4. I had a 1970 Ford LTD 2-door with the 351 Windsor, bone stock. What a pretty car, with its hidden headlights and aircraft-carrier hood length. The rear styling was a bit frumpy with those little tail lights. The truck was enormous, as was the interior. Back in the late-1970’s I used every but of that space driving to-and-from school with all my college-apartment stuff. And then, talk about reliability! The car never stranded me, ever. Plus, in any weather where the temperature was above 40°F, I could merely blip the key, and the engine would start. Some passengers weren’t sure if the engine even started it was so quiet. On Friday & Saturday nights you could flip over the air cleaner cover (all the intake air still passed through air filter, so it was safe to do). That resulted in the engine letting out this fantastic growl when punched, a sound that would turn heads.

  5. scaler911 says:

    My very first car at 16 (1984) was a ’69 Mustang coupe with a 351W and side loader 4 speed. Over the 10 years I had it, I went through the entire drivetrain front to back: Polished/ ported, huge vales in the heads, big cam, roller rockers, MSD electronic ignition, headers, top loader 4 speed, race clutch, 3.83 limited slip for the 9″ in the back. Etc, etc. Super reliable, and super fast on pump gas. I loved that car.
    I kick myself in the backside almost every day for selling it.

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  7. Currently posses 351 w it’s in a 66 f100,swb,c4 auto tranny,posi rear end.. She’s getting a make over… As. We. Speak. Searchi,g ideas for motor upgrades,and interior upgrades as well… Will post as we go.. Awesome article,well informed,and love the custom Opinions as well.. Keep up the good work!!

  8. Pingback: What’s the Difference Between a Ford 351 Windsor, Cleveland, or Modified Engine? - OnAllCylinders

  9. Roberto Palomo says:

    Great sight,considering engine swap on 302 to 351 W. lots of questions on both engines , alot of great information and a lot of positive opinion so I figure i cant go wrong with either engine. THANKS

  10. Christopher says:

    Hi;
    I’m looking for the torque on 1984 / 351 W Ford,
    For the complete engine .
    Heads, timing chain cover, water pump, extra…..
    Thank you

    • What vehicle was it pulled from? Is the engine in the stock form, e.g. no power adders like a camshaft or headers?

    • Where are you located, as I have the complete 351W cast iron 4 bbl intake, dual exhaust which is home made. I also have an aluminum intake with a stamp on it 351W and a 1310 street Avenger 1661 series 4 bbl Holley. its in a ’78 Ranger 2wd and am the 2nd owner. I live in Northern ALBERTA, CANADA. i ALSO HAVE AN ’84 1 TON CREW CAB WITH A 351W AND IT ALSO HAS THE SAME ALUMINUM INTAKE AND THE SAME 4BBL CARB. I want $750.00 for the ’78 Dentside and $2500.00 for the Bullnose 1 ton 4×2. I also have a ’75 Bronco with the removable top, it has the 351M and I have a spare 351M that’s bored 0.40 over and the rods and mains are 0.10 i also have a ‘781/2 F-250 Ranger 4×4 with a 400 4 spd dana 44 front and a Dana 60 rear. as I have 8 trucks, also a ’69F-100 300 6cyl and a ’73 Ford Gran Torino with a 351 Cleveland 4 dr. everything’s for sale for the right price. I also have a garage full of parts. carbs, starters, steering columns, alternators, computer ignition boxes, front diffs, rear ends. and a 302 out of a ’71 Torino GT.

  11. Felix OSORIO says:

    I want to know if i could put a ford 351w engine in my f250 ford which as a 460 engine

    • RAYMOND WHITE IV says:

      The 351 Windsor and the 460 have different transmission bolt patterns. That’s just the start of the numerous differences. You will have to change many things to make it work depending on what year vehicle, engines, auto/std trans (flywheels may bolt on to either crankshaft, but be balanced differently, which will give a terrible vibration). Plan on changing motor mounts, exhaust piping, radiator hoses, etc… If you can find a donor vehicle that has a 351W it would make things easier. It can be done though.
      Good Luck.

  12. oldschooljim says:

    I have owned many fords in my 54yrs here and got to know a few of there engines up close and personal. Any way did not like the 351m I had in my 76 grand torino sport which at the time I thought all 351 were like the 351m. I had one truck with a 302 from the late 80s. loved that motor Ran strong and very dependable and gave that f150 some balls TIRE BURNER. And then I bought a 1985 f150 2wd with the greatest engine ford ever built the infamous 300 cubic inch inline six cylinder. bought the truck for a 1000 bucks owned it for 7 years and 180,000 miles added to the odometer. in fact I own another 1985 f150 2wd 300 inline 4spd manual. paid 1350 and on my 4th year and adding almost 80,000 more to the odometer so far and running strong. its my work truck and I am a carpenter who does everything. Then I found my car 1969 FORD XL SPORTSROOF With a 351w 98,000 original miles automatic transmission FMX And a 9inch rear with b2.75 non locker. This car is mostly stock except for custom air cleaner and dual glass packs rated at 250hp stock with the 2bbl. Let me tell you more like 280 and with the exhaust modification maybe close to 300hp. 1969 351w is a strong torque motor. my plans are to rebuild the bottom end just enough bore to clean it up say .20 over all new rotating assembly basically stock but good parts then find me the DOOE 1970 4bbl 351 cleaveland heads have them hooked up with a matching cam high rise with a 750 double pumper should get me 450hp easy. Then I can twin turbo it BAM. These blocks have been tested and can take 1000hp.

  13. What do the letters mean at the end of the 351 Windsor identification number? Did the 351 Windsor come with a 4 bolt main?

  14. No mention of the 1985 and 86 ford truck 351w HO engines. I have a couple. Small chambered head, flat top pistons, 4 barrel. I do not know the power ratings but they run pretty good.

  15. I have a 1969 Mustang coupe with no engine or tranny. Found a 351 Windsor in a 1978 F100. Understand they went to a smaller head setup in 1978. Does anybody know if it is a direct match on the mounts and if any modifications are necessary vs. the earlier 302 & 351 which are a direct match in earlier years?

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  17. Bill Ballinger says:

    I liked the 390 and 428 better. They just needed a can swap and headers and they were 425 hp engines. I did it a lot in high school. 351cs were cast but needed gears low end was lacking. 351w was choked by the 302 heads, they didn’t get a lot of respect back in the day. I could get a 406/427 solid cam, block the lifter galleys and put cheap headers on and 390 or 428 was a 60s animal.

  18. Lorenzo Cooper says:

    I have a 1996 Econoline high top conversion van with a 351 W. It has 430,000 miles on it and it’s still running strong.

  19. This engine could not keep up with my 340 Formula S Barracuda.

  20. Ron Miller says:

    I am currently going to put a 1992 351W stock roller cam engine in my 1973 F250 with a C6. It will have a Edlebrock performer intake, and use a 2 barrel carburetor. I put a 351C in my 1973 F100, and it gets around 17 mpg. 70 fastback is setup with a HO 5.0 and 4V carb. 69 fastback has 351W with 4V. I want performance and mileage. All my vehicles can be used year around. I like the fox body mustangs too. I also take care of my various 4 cylinders for the day when gas gets more expensive. I trade off big block stuff because of their mpg.

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