9 Strange & Little Known Facts About the First Gen Ford Bronco
It’s looking very likely that the Ford Bronco will return to production before the decade is out. To get ready, here’s some trivia about the first Broncos.
Ford brought the Bronco to the market to take on the Jeep CJ-5 and the International Scout, but the Ford Bronco had two big advantages: its coil spring front suspension provided better on and off road performance and the optional V8 was not available at that time from either Jeep or IH (though IH moved quickly to change that).
While many people think of the Bronco as always having a V8 option, in fact one wasn’t available until mid-way through the first model year. early buyers had to settle for Ford’s inline six-cylinder engine (though upgraded for the tougher conditions, engineers expected the Bronco to see).
To save costs, the left and right door skins are identical, except for mounting holes. Once the holes are punched and the door skins are attached to the inner panels, they become left and right sided doors.
For the 1966 and 1967 model years, the Bronco was available in a Roadster configuration. There was no steel roof and the doors were replaced by inserts that covered the mounting hardware for the doors.
Actor Jeremy Piven (Entourage, Mr. Selfridge) drives a restored ’77 chocolate brown Bronco around Los Angeles, the last model year of the original body style.
The first Bronco
According to Bronco historians, the first production Bronco carries the VIN plate with “732000” on it. The purchaser bought it from Terlingua Land & Cattle Co. back in the ’70s. The Terlingua Land & Cattle Co. was a ranch owned by Carroll Shelby, and several Broncos were provided by Ford to be used at the ranch.
It’s a gas
A quick way to tell a 1977 Bronco from earlier models is that the ’77 was the only year the Bronco came with a gas door. By the way, it’s the same trick for spotting a 1972 Porsche 911. It has two doors, one for gas and one for oil. After too many accidents, the oil fill was moved back next to the engine, so much like the Bronco fuel door it’s a one year only feature.
HBO series True Blood featured a first generation Ford Bronco driven by character Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell). After the series wrapped the Bronco was auctioned for charity and raised $7,900.
Ford knew well the value of motorsports in promotion its products, whether it was at the Indy 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the NHRA Winternationals, or the Daytona 500. Ford handed over eight pre-production 1966 Broncos (some in bits and pieces) to racer/builder Bill Stroppe, who had successfully campaigned Lincolns in the Carrera Panamericana races of the 1950s. Stroppe was instructed to focus on a new race called the Mexican 1000 Rally, soon known as the Baja 1000.
New to you
Have a hankering for a Bronco but can’t find one in the price/condition/specifications you’re looking for? You can build a brand new Bronco from reproduction parts, and not just the hood or the doors, but the frame, tub, top – the whole enchilada.
Categories: Gear Grinding