This is a restored Ford Bronco Ranger XLT from 1978 that has been significantly modified from stock, it’s now powered by a fire-breathing 7.3 liter Godzilla V8 that’s good for 430 bhp – vastly more than the 156 bhp in the original.
The modifications aren’t just limited to the engine bay, this Bronco now has a 6R80 six-speed automatic transmission, a Wild Horses 4″ lift kit with Bilstein shock absorbers, a Hydroboost braking system, and a slew of other upgrades to make it a genuine daily-drivable four wheeler.
Fast Facts – The Ford Bronco Ranger XLT
- The second generation Ford Bronco was sold only in 1978 and 1979 before it was replaced with the third generation model in 1980. It’s based on the Ford F-series pickup truck platform, and is almost identical to its sibling from the A-pillar forwards.
- The Ranger XLT trim level was the top of the line, above the slightly more ordinary “Custom” trim level. Internally and externally the second gen Bronco was completely different to its predecessor, it’s wider, longer, higher, heavier, and more comfortable – ideally suited for daily use on and off the road.
- The vehicle you see in this article started out as a standard 1978 Ford Bronco Ranger XLT, it’s now been repainted in Midnight Blue Metallic with gradient sunset stripe decals, the interior has been redone, air conditioning has been added, and it’s been given significant suspension and brake upgrades.
- The most significant performance upgrade lies under the hood, where a new 7.3 liter Godzilla V8 has been fitted, good for 430 bhp at 5,500 rpm and 475 lb/ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. It’s mated to a modern 6R80 six-speed automatic transmission and an Np205 dual-range transfer case.
The Second Generation Ford Bronco
The second generation Ford Bronco was a surprise sales hit for Ford, the development of the new model had been significantly delayed from 1973 until 1978 due to the 1973 Oil Crisis and a number of other factors. It had been so delayed in fact that Ford had almost finished the development of the third generation Bronco before the second generation model even went on sale.
Despite these tumultuous beginnings, the second gen Bronco would out perform Ford’s most optimistic projections. Buyers often had to wait months for delivery, and for the first time the Bronco outsold both the Blazer and Ramcharger in annual sales volume.
Ford had developed the new Bronco as an answer to the Chevrolet K5 Blazer, Dodge Ramcharger, and Jeep Cherokee – larger full-size SUVs that had proven popular with the general public. In order to keep production costs down it was decided that the new Bronco would share a platform with the Ford F-series pickup trucks, this would set the trend for platform sharing that would underpin the Bronco for decades to come.
The second gen Bronco would be considerably larger and heavier than its forebear, it tipped the scales at 1,100 to 1,600 pounds more and it measured in 28 inches longer, 11 inches wider, 4 inches higher, and the wheelbase was 12 inches longer.
From the A-pillar forward the body was essentially the same as the comparable F-series truck, and the Bronco had a steel roof that ended just behind the passenger cab. A removable fiberglass roof was fitted over the rear of the vehicle, and it was often finished in white or a lighter color.
Inside you would find a much more comfortable interior than had been typically offered with the first gen Bronco. Trim levels varied, the “Custom” was the base level and the Ranger XLT was the top-level trim.
There were just two engine options on offer, the venerable Ford 351 Cleveland V8 and the larger Ford 400 V8. Both were listed at 156 bhp for 1978 and 158 bhp for 1979, with the key difference being the higher torque levels of the 400 cubic inch V8 at 277 lb ft vs 262 lb ft on the 351.
The most common transmissions were the 3-speed C6 automatic and the 4-speed Borg-Warner T-18 manual, though some vehicles were ordered with the 4-speed New Process NP435 manual which is now considered more desirable by many collectors.
Ultimately the second generation Bronco would be sold for just two years, capping off the 1970s, before the new third generation model replaced it for the 1980s. The first generation Bronco has long been a favorite with collectors, and this is certainly reflected in their higher values, but the generations that came next are slowly starting to become more popular – thanks in part to Ford relaunching the Bronco family in 2021.
The Godzilla-Powered Ford Bronco Ranger XLT Shown Here
The Bronco you see here has been completely rebuilt from its original stock condition. The headline change is that 7.3 liter Godzilla V8 under the hood of course, but the vehicle has been thoroughly upgraded throughout to ensure it can handle the new power.
In standard trim the 7.3 liter Godzilla V8 is good for 430 bhp at 5,500 rpm and 475 lb/ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. That’s over 300% more than the vehicle originally had when new. Power is send back through a modern, highway-friendly 6R80 six-speed automatic transmission and an Np205 dual-range transfer case.
The Dana 44 front axle and Ford 9″ rear axle have been rebuilt and refitted to the vehicle, and it now rides on 15″ Mickey Thompson Classic III wheels shod with 35×12.50″ BFGoodrich tires on all four corners.
A Hydroboost braking system has been fitted for optimal stopping power, and a Wild Horses 4″ lift kit has been installed for improved ride height, along with dual Bilstein front shock absorbers, Warn locking front hubs, a Borgeson steering shaft, and a Red-Head power steering box.
Inside the vehicle you’ll find a refreshed interior with black vinyl and patterned cloth upholstery, a matching fabric headliner, new sound-deadening material, and replacement carpets, door panels, and rear panels. A Classic Auto Air air conditioning system has also been installed to offer improved four season comfort and usability.
This Godzilla Bronco is now being offered for sale out of New Smyrna Beach, Florida on Bring a Trailer with a Deluxe Marti report and a clean Oregon title. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can visit the listing here.
Images courtesy of Bring a Trailer
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.