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28 Years of Ownership: 1979 Ford Bronco Ranger XLT

One of the most beloved vehicles in America, especially rural America, is the full-size Ford Bronco.  From the back roads to the O.J. Simpson chase, no vehicle has been more treasured when it is time to get away from it all.  While Ford is foolishly not producing these full-size truck-based marvels of off-road driving at the moment, you can get an older version ready to go with a more powerful, newer powerplant.  This 1979 Ford Bronco Ranger XLT for sale on eBay in Nampa, Idaho has a transplanted 460 cubic inch V-8 with fuel injection under the hood and is in running and driving condition.  Wearing the patina of the previous owner’s 28 years of ownership, how much more is this Bronco worth than the current $5,600 bid?

For those of you who have been living abroad or just plain hate freedom, the Ford Bronco is approaching legendary status.  The first-generation models were built to compete with the Jeep CJ-5, International Scout, and the Toyota Land Cruiser in the medium-sized off-road vehicle market.  The second-generation Bronco was based on the full-size Ford truck to answer customer demands for a more road-friendly vehicle.  Third, fourth, and fifth-generation Broncos were still truck-based but slowly became more luxurious as time went on.  It was after the fifth generation Bronco went out of production that the age of the SUV came about.  Still based on a truck chassis, the Expedition was a big brother to the Ranger-based Explorer, and it had four doors and a comfortable interior.  Ford officially said that the Expedition was the successor to the Bronco, but it obviously wasn’t fit for the role.  There were rumors that negative publicity from O.J. Simpson’s freeway jaunt was a contributing factor.

It took Ford 25 years to return the Bronco to the limelight with its new sixth-generation vehicle.  Once again, it is a competitor to the Jeep and can be considered a mid-sized SUV.  However, a longing in the hearts of people who are fans of the full-sized truck-based Bronco has not been satisfied.  If you want one of these powerful off-road vehicles, you have no choice but to buy a used one and modify it to your liking.  The owner of this 1979 Ford Bronco with the Ranger XLT trim package surely felt this way and held on to this example for an amazing 28 years making modifications along the way.

During that time, the truck accrued over 180,000 miles.  When you figure that the average Bronco got around 15 MPG in perfect conditions, that is a lot of fuel well spent.  The seller is very generous in the number of photographs taken of this blue and white two-tone vehicle, but the words are a bit sparing.  We do know that it has not been smoked in and that it comes with a nearly new set of 35-inch tires on what looks to be a set of older aftermarket rims.

The beige leather seats in the front of this Bronco are not the originals.  Most likely they are from a 10th generation F-series of some sort with Lariat trim.  These transplants have power adjustments and are heated to make those winter off-road adventures more civilized.  The truck also has an AM/FM radio with a CD player to provide entertainment.  We are told that there is an interior roll bar included with the sale that has not been installed.  One should also consider that the rear top is removable on Broncos of this era, but the process of removing or reattaching is a bit time-consuming.

The most interesting aspect of this Bronco is the engine.  The ad says that this truck is powered by a 460 cubic-inch engine.  By the looks of the picture above, this obviously came out of a much later truck.  Perhaps the long-term owner purchased a wrecked F-250 or F-350 and started swapping out parts for an update and more power.  This may be where the seats came from as well.  Regardless, the installation looks to have been well done.  You can see that by examining the installation of more modern components seen at the bottom of the picture.  The ad says the engine is paired with an automatic transmission and it has disc brakes.  It does make me wonder if the four-wheel drive system was hooked up and if the modern donor truck also gave up its rear end for this truck.

In all, it is an interesting Bronco in perfectly drivable condition with some sensible upgrades.  A truck like this makes me wonder what a modern version would look like.  Hopefully, Ford, flush with the success of their current Bronco, is working on this problem and will have a new full-size Bronco out shortly.  O.J. and I will be patiently waiting.


  1. Avatar photo Connecticut mark

    10-12k I bet , I had 4 of there, wish I kept them, top not that hard to get off . Unless you have a large lift.

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Al camino

      That interior is going to be a little job itself!

      Like 2
  2. Avatar photo Ashtray

    Not bad overall, taking in consideration some of the basket cases that I have been looking at lately.
    If I still had my backyard body shop I would love taking this on as a project.
    Probably underpriced at the moment?
    Good find!
    Just my oponion!

    Like 3
  3. Avatar photo Rw

    Not that makes a difference but 79 should have rectangular headlights ,even if it was a 78 XLT should have rectangular headlights.

    Like 7
    • Avatar photo Beezy

      Square headlights was a ’79 option only. The bullnose style was built for ’80 model year. I like the round lights of the later models. This is a beautiful project and I wouldn’t mind owning it.

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo Todd Zuercher

        ’79 headlights were ALL square. The round headlights were only on the ’78 Custom models.

        Like 0
    • Avatar photo Ashtray

      Rw is right. I bought a new 1979 F150 and it had rectangular headlights. I had forgotten that tidbit.
      During my recent move I found a picture of the truck, plus dozens of other pictures of cars that I have owned in the sixties and seventies.
      I need to become a member so I could post some of them.
      Just my thoughts!

      Like 2
      • Avatar photo Driveinstile Member

        For what its worth Ashtray, I hardly ever spend money on anything for myself… But I did pay for a subscription to Barnfinds, and Im really glad I did. If you do you wont regret it.

        Like 5
  4. Avatar photo Midway

    10 mpg and who knows what gremlins will be discovered as the completion of this mule is undertaken.

    Like 2
  5. Avatar photo Todd Zuercher

    Yeah, that’s a 460 from an ’88-newer F250 or F350. The seats are likely from an ’00 Super Duty Lariat. The design changed ever-so-slightly every year. They’re very close to the ones in my ’01 but the center console is a little different.

    Like 6
  6. Avatar photo Pat

    $5,600 is about what this non-stock truck is worth. Just my opinion.

    Like 1
  7. Avatar photo Charles ross

    A302 with a 2barrel carb would do good to get 15mpg. With stock tires with those monster tires and a 460 she won’t get 5 miles p gallon ! You could make payments on anew one for what gas cost in this unless you don’t drive it.

    Like 0

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