The first generation Ford Bronco was introduced in 1966 and was manufactured at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan through 1977. In fact all Bronco’s were made in Wayne and just recently Ford formally announced it is bringing back the Bronco to its global vehicle portfolio in 2020. And yes, it is to be manufactured in, you guessed it, Wayne, Michigan.
We’re a bit skeptical however, particularly gun shy after seeing the recent renderings of the new Land Rover Defender. Ford says the new Bronco will be “a no-compromise midsize 4×4 utility for thrill seekers who want to venture way beyond the city.” Translation: “It will be a 2-door 2018 Edge with more ground clearance (maybe) and lots of plastic molding covering the front, rear, and side skirts. We’ll put a quasi-metal rack on it and possibly give it round headlights that are really not round but covered up with plastic molding to look round.” Hopefully we’re dead wrong.
But back to the one we all fell in love with. The first gen Bronco was designed under engineer Paul G. Axelrad, and was aimed directly at the Jeep CJ and International Scout. As luck would have it, we’ve covered both of those. No worries bow-tie lovers, you guys with your K5’s will be next. No offense but it did take 3 full years to see a response out of Louis Chevrolet and team. It would also compete with the Land Cruiser and for a short period of time the Nissan Patrol in the States. What do all of those have in common? Sparse metal interiors void of anything comfortable, but all highly capable off-road, and all highly desirable in today’s market.
Originally the Bronco came in three flavors, hardtop, a pickup truck, and a convertible (roadster). It shared some components with the F-100 pickup of the time like axles and brakes. They came equipped with a Dana transfer case and manual locking hubs, and originally a 2.8L straight-6 which would be replaced in 1973 with a 3.3L of same cylinder count. Chevy Blazer sales had lapped the Bronco by this time, the Scout II was in showrooms, and Jeep was doing well with its SJ Cherokee. In its final year of production in 1977, sales had fallen to just under 15,000 units. In total 230,800 were made over the 12 year run. Good for us vintage SUV lovers…there’s plenty for the picking but as with most all of these, they are either rusted to Fred Flintstone status, modded to weekend crawler status or simply unaccounted for somewhere in the fields of rural America.
Luckily, there are shops like Maxlider Brothers in Bloomington, IL who specialize in Bronco restoration. Look for a full feature on these brothers coming up soon here on Second Daily. If you’re shopping, they currently have a beautifully restored 1969 gen 1 Bronco for sale. Here’s a few details on it.
The restoration started with a rust-free Bronco. The body was disassembled for media blasting and the tub and chassis were taken down to bare metal. Extensive body work was done to line up panels and create gaps and door fitment that was “better than factory craftsmanship”. A high-quality respray in Harbor Blue (Bronco color) was used. They rebuilt a Ford 302, added new power steering, front power disc brakes, General Grabber tires, clutch, bumpers, front & rear seats, exhaust, door panels, rubber seals, and more.
All photos seen here are property of Maxlider Bros. and this beauty can be found here (sorry, just sold).
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