AN ODE TO AN ICON: THE CLASSIC FORD BRONCO

Written by Cody Sapp

The Ford Bronco: It’s been the discussion of water cooler conversations since Ford released a teaser in 2017. Today, the new Bronco finally seems to be slowly appearing over the horizon.

While working as a salesman at a local Ford dealer, customers would walk in just to ask me about the new Bronco. I would get bombarded with questions like, “When is it coming out,” “What engine will it have,” and “Can you put me on a waiting list?” Alas, waiting lists did not exist because the Bronco was nowhere in sight, but according to a 2018 statement from Ford, “The rugged new Bronco will be a midsize SUV, and will be part of the global Ford vehicle portfolio in 2020. The Ford Bronco will be manufactured at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, which is the same plant where the 1966 through 1996 models were built.”

We’re almost to the end of 2020 and our fingers are crossed in hopes the new Bronco will see the light of day in 2021. While we wait just a little longer for its release, let’s celebrate the classics.  

Paul’s 1975 Ford Bronco

Purchased new in San Jose in 1975, this Bronco spent its entire life in the San Francisco Bay area. In its 44-year lifespan only five names have graced its title and the current owner has owned it twice, the first time from ‘92-‘95 and the second time from ‘09 to present day after stumbling across it on Craigslist. After obtaining it for the second time, it underwent a complete restoration back to its original glory, even sporting its factory Viking Red and Wimbledon White finish. Its power comes from a standard 302 V8 and a leisurely three-on-the-tree transmission as god intended. Over the years, “The Red Rocket”, as named by its owner, has stolen the spotlight at several local cars shows, taking home trophies for the mantle at a few of them. Expect to receive plenty of waves and thumbs ups when you take this time capsule out on the town.

Norman’s 1973 Ford Bronco

It’s almost easier to list what hasn’t been replaced on this Bronco than what has. While it isn’t stock, all of the modifications have been tastefully done and are for the better. The owner, Norman, purchased this vehicle around four years ago as a “ran when parked” special, and we all know how that story goes. After “Thousands of hours and lots of Benjamins,” he replaced and repaired a lot of sheet metal, swapped in a fresh 351 mated to a C4 transmission, new axles, intake, headers, power disc brakes all around, and that’s just the larger components. The body was finished in Etna Blue, which is actually a color used on newer Porsche 911s, but it looks just as sharp on the Bronco’s classic body lines. Since this beauty is complete and ready to roll, now it’s your turn to cruise some winding hills in Normans pride and joy.

Derek’s 1973 Ford Bronco

Named the “Blue Box” by its current owner, this Bronco is about as far away from stock as one can get, a prime example of just how custom you can make a classic vehicle. While the factory 302 V8 is a great engine, it is no longer present due to the interesting swap to a Cummins turbo diesel, which is even stated on its aftermarket cowl hood. With a lift and massive 37-inch tires wrapped around XD 789 wheels, this may be a stretch for some to reach, but well worth it to get behind the wheel of this ride. The addition of power steering makes it easy to handle. It’s also equipped with a folding rear bench seat and a modern sound system, so you can take your friends for a memorable drive down the main strip or out for a day at the beach. It’s available with or without the doors depending on the season. We recommend without so you can get the full experience.

Chris’ 1979 Ford Bronco

Ford’s release of the second-generation Bronco in 1977 saw the first substantial change in body styling in eleven years since the first was produced, though it was short-lived after assembly stopped in 1979.  This would be the last year that the Bronco would have a solid front axle and circular headlights. The wheelbase and width grew about a foot, the overall length extended by two feet. It packed on over a thousand pounds, which kind of sounds like a lot of us after high school. Since the earlier model was built on its own chassis, this one required a shortened F-100 4×4 frame to compensate for the new weight and dimensions. Available power plants were the 5.8-liter 351 or a 6.6-liter 400, and for transmissions, a choice of two different four-speed manuals or a three-speed C6 automatic, this example being equipped with manual. While some aspects from the first-gen carried over, the new front end and stance had an in-your-face attitude which can easily be spotted in a crowd.

Jeff’s 1974 Ford Bronco

A recent addition to DriveShare, Jeff’s freshly restored ’74 Bronco checks all the boxes on how to build a sweet 4×4. To start, the body panels were left intact, so no cutting or flaring was done to the fenders or quarter panels. To give the larger wheels and 32-inch tires plenty of clearance, a 3.5-inch suspension lift was added. The original 302 V8 was rebuilt and is paired with a C4 automatic transmission for a smooth ride. You may recognize the exterior color, which has been named F8 Metallic Green and is widely popular on newer Challengers and Jeeps, but as you can see it has been a great choice for this restoration. For the interior, the seats were wrapped in a custom 2 tone vinyl, the dash is painted to match the body, and it has been fitted with a touchscreen radio. Whether you’re looking for a vehicle for your upcoming photo shoot or static display, this Bronco is bound to be the center of attention.

Want to know what it is like to drive a Ford Bronco? Head to DriveShare and see what vehicles are available to drive near you, or continue to the next article to read about Mike Austin’s experience from behind the wheel.

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