The Ford Bronco Half Cab was a rare version off the iconic 4×4, just 2,317 were built in 1969, as the overwhelming majority of buyers opted for the slightly more practical wagon body style. Officially called the Bronco Sport Utility Pickup, the motoring public quickly nicknamed it the “Half Cab”, and today this is the name that’s almost universally used.
The Story of 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 there wrong reasons by O. J. Simpson in 1994. In more recent years Ford announced that the Bronco would be returning in 2020, this new 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 1967 Ford Bronco Half Cab Shown Here
The Bronco shown here is one of those rare original Half Cabs, it’s fitted with its original 170 cubic inch straight-6 and 3-speed all-synchromesh transmission, and it comes with its original sales invoice and owner’s manual, along with a dealer-installed rollbar for added safety.
Drivers can choose between 2×4 or 4×4 driver modes, it recently had the engine refreshed with new gaskets and a new reproduction radiator, it also had a repaint in its original Holly Green color, with the top and grille in their original white.
If you’d like to read more about the Half Cab Bronco or register to bid you can click here to visit its listing on Mecum.
All Images: Carol Duckworth – Courtesy of Mecum Auctions.