THE FIRST GENERATION FORD BRONCO
The concept of the Ford Bronco was developed by the same two men who came up with the idea for the Mustang and subsequently created the pony car genre – forever transforming the American sports car market.
The men were Ford product manager Donald N. Frey and Lee Iacocca, and in the 1960s they were likely the two most important men working at Ford, and certainly two of the most influential in the American motor industry. They developed the Ford Bronco concept to compete with the International Harvester Scout, Jeep CJ, and the Land Rovers coming out of Britain.
The engineering was kept simple, front and rear axles were borrowed from the F-100, as well as the brakes. A simple box-section ladder chassis was developed with a 92 inch wheelbase – offering excellent manoeuvrability off-road.
The first engine offered was the reliable 170 cubic inch straight-6 with solid valve lifters, a heavy duty oil pump, and a carburettor with a float bowl designed to tolerate tilting.
The body design was kept simple, with not much consideration given to aerodynamics. The windscreen is a flat pane of glass and both door skins are identical – with the exception of the location drilled for handles and hinges.
The first generation Bronco was built between 1966 and 1977, and over the course of its life additional engine options were added to offer more power. Starting with the original 170 straight-6, the 200 straight-6 was next, followed by a 289 V8 and a 302 V8 – the latter of which offered 205 hp – which was probably slightly more than was wise considering the suspension and brakes on offer.
Ford built second, third, fourth, and fifth generation Broncos – the fifth generation was made famous for all the wrong reasons by O. J. Simpson in 1994. In more recent years Ford announced that the Bronco would be returning in 2020, this immediately set the automotive world alight with speculation – with many hoping it would be a return to the simpler styling of the first generation Bronco, following in the footsteps of the retro-futuristic Mustang released in 2005.
The 1968 Ford Bronco 302 V8 Restomod Shown Here
The simple design of the first generation Ford Bronco has aged exceedingly well, prices have been climbing in recent years and the time when you could pick up a solid one for not a whole lot of money seems to have gone for good.
When it was first introduced, the Bronco was offered with a solid, reliable, albeit a little boring 2.8 litre straight-6. The popular V8s would come a little later, though many modern Bronco owners have since retrofitted their vehicles with uprated engines, typically V8s but occasionally hefty diesels too.
The Bronco you see here is a restomod, benefitting from a slew of upgrades including a 302 cubic inch V8 with a Holley Street Avenger 4-barrel carburetor, dual exhausts, Warn locking hubs, 15-inch alloy wheels, Stewart-Warner gauges, a roll bar, and both a white hardtop and matching soft top for the summer.
It’s also been fitted with power steering and power assisted brakes, tan bucket seats, a rear tire carrier, and a new coat of Red Rose Pearl paint. If you happen to be in the market for a pristine first generation Bronco, you’ll can click here to visit the listing on Barrett-Jackson to read more, or register to bid.
Photo Credits: Mecum Auctions