Worth Saving? 1971 Ford Bronco Project

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Ford Broncos are hot! Old ones were already gaining in popularity when Ford launched their new iteration of the famous model. That threw things through the roof, but nothing beats the original. The first generation Bronco featured a short wheelbase, multiple engine and body options, and four-wheel drive. That may not sound like a big deal today, but there weren’t a lot of off-road options back in the sixties.

This particular Bronco looks like it has lived in a stable its whole life. The exterior surfaces are covered with grim, and there are some significant corrosion issues that will need to be dealt with. I’m not sure if it’s bad enough to justify a whole new body but I do spot some rope underneath holding things together, so…

The rust may be discouraging, but this undershot photo regains some points for me. An inline-six was the standard engine option, but this Bronco was ordered with the more desirable 302 cubic inch V8. Gear changing was provided by a three-on-the-tree manual and transfer case shifter on the floor. The seller claims that the engine turns over, but they think it may start with some new fuel. Fingers crossed!

Broncos were sort of like jacked-up Mustangs. They came with the same engines, and you could even get bucket seats that looked suspiciously familiar. Unlike the Mustang, though, this bad boy could go just about anywhere. The short wheelbase and 4×4 drivetrain made them great crawlers. Not so great at cruising on the highway. Not that Jeeps or Scouts were any better though.

Think of Ford without the Mustang or the Bronco. What’s left? The Model A, the Crown Vic, and the F150? Without their two most iconic models, Ford’s legacy would be a little boring. These models have become brands unto themselves. And did you know that the same guy came up with both? Donald Frey must have been a really cool guy!

Find this Bronco project here on eBay, where the auction is ending soon!

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. mike

    You can save almost anything…all it takes is money

    Like 8
    • Jesse JesseAuthor

      True, but sometimes it doesn’t make sense financially. You can get a whole new tub with doors and windshield frame for $16k. That’s a lot of money, but it might be the way to go with this one!


      Like 2
  2. HoA HoAMember

    Saying the comments are repaired DID jinx it.
    Take 2, for me, a “hot” 1st gen Bronco is in July. A/C on a snowplow wasn’t needed. The 1st gen Bronco never asked for any of the glitz. It was designed to compete with Scout and CJ, designed to work, not 6 lane interstates. I’d have to think transforming one to do so would be a costly and foolish venture. A used Highlander does all that for a heck of a lot less. The 1st gen Bronco, I believe had an all new chassis and with proven pickup guts, it couldn’t fail. Its capabilities soon led to the discovery of where a 2wd couldn’t go, and mushroomed from there. While the authors “what’s left” list is a bit lean( T-bird, Lincoln, Pinto?) without the Bronco it would be a different place indeed, and post

    Like 2
  3. HBC

    WHOA!!! A true rust bucket….many $$$$$ to save this little Pony. Part it out & put what is left in a junkyard…

    Like 0
  4. Eric Haulenbeek

    What a POS.

    Like 0
  5. Rustytech RustytechMember

    For most cars this would be beyond restoring, however with the stupid money these are bringing right now, if you were doing most of the work yourself it would be well worth the effort.

    Like 1
  6. Randy

    I think the days of stupid money might be over. I took my 66 Roadster, completely restored to Mecum in INDY 2024. There was a 1973 restomod 2 vehicles behind mine. They both hit $40K at the auction that day.

    Like 0

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