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429-Powered! 1979 Ford Bronco Ranger XLT

Interest in the vintage Ford Bronco market seems to be on the rise and isn’t showing signs of letting up anytime soon, particularly for the earlier examples, plus with the renewed attention brought on by Ford’s recent re-introduction of the model demand will probably only continue to increase.  This 1979 Ford Bronco Ranger XLT might have an enhanced appeal for those seeking a mostly stock-looking body with some extra surprise kick from under the hood, as this appears to be one horse with a meaner-than-most demeanor as we’ll see in a moment.  The Bronco is located in the small community of Tygh Valley, Oregon, and can be spotted here on eBay, where bidding has currently reached the 10 thousand dollar level.

Buyers only got two engine options in ’79, both decent V8 choices which included the standard 351 or you could step up to a 400, each one coming with a 2-Barrel carb on top.  The Bronco being offered here originally came equipped with the latter, but even the larger component barely made over 150 horsepower.  Somewhere along the line, the decision was made that this just won’t do, and the factory motor was yanked and in its place went a 429 rescued from a 1970 Mercury Marquis, which produced approximately 425 HP after the build was completed and included numerous high-performance aftermarket components.  It’s run for 80,000 miles since but is now using oil and leaking water, so it may be in store for some additional refreshing in the not-too-distant future.

Adding the XLT package got you the highest trim level available on a Bronco for 1979, with this one featuring a two-tone paint job on the outside but there’s no confirmation of whether or not the finish is original or if it’s gotten a respray, however, the seller does state that there’s never been any bodywork performed.  The carrier on top is an add-on, plus a 2-inch lift has been incorporated all the way around along with 2-inch wheel spacers, providing a wider wheelbase.  A few dents and minor rust issues are mentioned, but if the nearly 230k mileage of travel mentioned is correct combined with over 4 decades of use, it seems fairly insignificant after all those years and miles on the road, or off the beaten path depending on how much time has been spent navigating non-paved regions.

Most of the inside is still stock, and it actually looks fairly good in there considering how many miles the interior has been occupied, although the front seats could use some upholstery work.  I’m not sure how big of a fan I am of that tach staring at me in the face constantly, but the dash is cracked so if the next owner replaces it that may be a good time to lose the aftermarket instrument.  But even with all its imperfections and the oil-consuming engine, I’m seeing lots of positives here too, and envisioning the price steadily increasing until the hammer drops.  How much would you be willing to spend for what you’re getting here?


  1. Avatar photo bobhess Member

    Looks like a good rig. Do find it interesting that Ford went with the wheel openings commentators complained about folks putting on the rear of the first generation units. It’s a good looking unit. My bother lives in Portland and over the past week the temperature has hit over 100 degrees. After disconnecting the AC I’ll bet it gets hot in that truck.

    Like 3
  2. Avatar photo chrlsful

    answer?: not enuff.
    I like these w/the 400 (largest ‘square motor’ produced I believe). Might grab it for the motor (sell after assembling it for some racer).
    This probably is the higher trim. It has the 1 yr wing window in the back sliders. I C the rack above’n hope the glass top has some kinda reinforcement in there if carrying much ofa load. This thing is probably not 1 that’s been off rd much.

    Back to the 400, remove wheel spacers and use as multi-purpose (on/off rd, hauler and carrier). If I had it I’d rebuild my 1st gen as off rd only, haul in on a trailer w/this one.

    Like 3
  3. Avatar photo Bob M.

    I miss my old ’79 – 351M was a dog but with the T-18 4spd it would climb a sheer rock face. That 429 would make it a good crawler rig, but I wouldn’t go too deep in the woods w/o at least 4 jerry cans of go juice! I sure don’t wanna push it to a gas station!

    Like 7
  4. Avatar photo C Force

    Using oil and leaking coolant with 80k miles on it is code for”engine needs complete overhaul and the trans while you’re at it.”get ready to crack open your piggy bank to do it.One of the more expensive Ford engine overhauls.it’s already surpassed what it’s really worth at $10k

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo BOP_GUY Member

      Exactly what I was thinking.

      Like 2
    • Avatar photo Mark

      Just drop a coyote V8 in it ;)

      Like 1
  5. Avatar photo BA

    It’s got all the right stuff at a decent price for rebuilding into a have it your way rig. I personally would go with a more black top oriented work/play rig with the capability of handling snow, ice , sand the occasional off road situation. Since it’s a Ranger Xtra Lettuce & Tomato package I would fix the A/C and keep it from becoming a off woods beater just too nice truck. Did I mention I had a 1985 GMC full size Jimmy that the top comes off like this one & that just makes for awesome fall day & night cruising cowboy Cadillac style!

    Like 2
  6. Avatar photo James

    Had a friend with one of these in the 90s with a 429. Of course the seller told him it was from a Boss 429, which sounds ridiculous now. Anyway, it was amazing but the gas was unmanageable even at mid 90s prices. I recall driving to Tahoe from Palo Alto took $100 in gas, the one time we did it.

    Like 1
  7. Avatar photo Kenneth Minnich

    Bidding is over 12k now. For a rusty 79 Bronco in need of engine and transmission rebuild. No thanks..

    Like 3
  8. Avatar photo Bunky

    351/400Ms were dogs. “Ask the man who owned one” to paraphrase the Packard advertising line. I bought an ‘81 full size Ranger XLT pickup in about ‘85. Certified 53k on the clock. All in/all done. Did a total rebuild. D-O-G. Happiest 2 days of my life- the day I bought it, and the day I sold it.
    My shop put a 429 out of a ‘71 Mercury (same specs as a 429 Cobra Jet) into a ‘78 F150 that was originally equipped with a 351M. Customer took it for a test ride, and was smiling so hard he couldn’t speak. Put a 400M back in it? Yeah, No.

    Like 1
  9. Avatar photo R Niz

    I guess nobody has the balls to put money into old classic trucks anymore with all the complaints I read on here nobody’s got the passion. Too bad I had a 79 to 351C and I wish I still had that thing to this day no matter what was wrong with that thing was a monster. 36 inch dick Cepek wire giants, lifted 4 inch Ranczo suspension. Fun times.

    Like 2

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