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.

(Image/Summit Racing)

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.


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.


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.


Author: Matt Griswold

After a 10-year newspaper journalism career, Matt Griswold spent another decade writing about the automotive aftermarket and motorsports. He was part of the original OnAllCylinders editorial team when it launched in 2012.