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Post Info TOPIC: Ford shutting down the plant where it manufactured the 351 Cleveland V-8.


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Ford shutting down the plant where it manufactured the 351 Cleveland V-8.



The Boss 351 version of the 351 Cleveland in its natural habitat, under the Ram Air hood of a 1971 Boss 351. 

The birthplace and namesake of one of the muscle car era’s most powerful small-block V-8s will soon close.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported this week that Ford will shut down the plant where it manufactured the 351 Cleveland V-8. The 1.6 million-square-foot Cleveland Engine Plant No. 1 opened in 1951 and has built more than 35 million engines, including 24.3 million Ford 302 V-8s.

 


A Ford publicity photo shows off the enlarged flanks of the 1971 Mustang in Boss 351 trim. Photo courtesy Ford


Its most famous offspring, however, was the short-lived 351 Cleveland. In Boss or Cobra Jet form, the 351C 4V was about as close as it gets to a production race engine, notorious for having cylinder head ports bigger than a Manhattan studio apartment. The heads were very similar in design to those found on the big-block Chevrolet V-8, with canted valves measuring as large as 2.19 (in the Boss) on the intake side. For running WFO on a race track, this was the hot ticket, but for lazy driving on the street, it was impractical. Not all of the Clevelands were designed to run at 7,000 RPM, however. Most commonly, the engine was used in regular production cars with more restrictive 2V heads and a two-barrel carburetor.

The 351C block also shared many similarities with Oldsmobile’s Rocket V-8. In conjunction with the similarity of the 351C head to the BBC, has led to some conjecture that the Cleveland might’ve been heavily influenced by Semon E. “Bunkie” Knudsen, who defected from GM to briefly run Ford in 1968.


Workers at Ford Cleveland Engine Plant #1 assemble Duratec V-6s. Photo courtesy Ford

Most recently the Brook Park, Ohio, plant has been making 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engines for the Ford Flex, Ford Taurus SHO, Lincoln MKS sedan and Lincoln MKT crossover. Its 250 workers will transfer to a nearby Ford engine plant, which will put on a third shift, according to the Plain Dealer.



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