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4X4 Project: 1972 Ford Bronco

After being absent from the market for more than 20 years, Ford is bringing back the Bronco in 2021 as a mid-sized SUV derived from the new Ford Ranger. The original Bronco was launched in 1966 to compete with the Jeep CJ-5 and International Harvester Scout. They were SUVs before the Sport Utility Vehicle was even a category and ran for the next 30 years. This Bronco from 1972 is pretty rough but runs and needs a cosmetic restoration. It’s available here on eBay where the no reserve auction is sitting at $7,100 in Weatherford, Texas.

The first generation of the Bronco ran from 1966-77 as something of a “compact” but it gained size and weight as it also began competing with the Chevy Blazer and Dodge Ramcharger. Unlike most SUVs today, the Bronco was a 2-door pick-up style vehicle with a removable roof. While it was largely an off-road vehicle, it had some on-road manners, too. Bronco’s came with full-time four-wheel drive and locking hubs, and first-gen models used a chassis built for this purpose with box-section/body-on-frame construction. Production was always below that of Ford’s trucks, with a little more than 18,000 units for 1972. Thanks, Early Bronco Ads, for background info.

The seller’s 1972 Bronco is far from perfect, but it said to run and drive. There is visible rust on the lower rear quarter panel and all along the bottom on the driver’s side and rear-wheel opening. It’s also pretty crusty below, but a good sand-blasting would reveal whether there are any significant issues there. We’re guessing the Bronco was white in color originally with a blue and white interior. At least one repair was made to the floorboard with a patch welded in by the front passenger seat. The glass all looks good along with the front bumper, but there is not one in the rear. The upholstery on the front seats is pretty trashed.

Under the hood resides a V-8 engine, likely a 302 but there is no indication if its original. The odometer apparently has turned over at least once, resting at 7,554 miles. So, while it is said to having plenty of power and doesn’t smoke, it’s certainly not like new. The manual transmission is probably a 3-speed but being a 4X4 it could also be a 4-speed. The buyer will get an assortment of spare parts including a grill and the removable rear passenger seat.

A rocking version of this Bronco could go for upwards of $50,000, but units like that have likely never seen the great outdoors. Most of these things were used and used hard as this one has. I don’t have a comfort level for the cost of restoring one of these, probably along the lines of restoring an old pick-up. You could end up having more than $20-25,000 invested by the time you got done.



  1. RoughDiamond Member

    So from the factory did the rear floor in these Broncos have a bit of a crown width wise from outside to center? When I cover up the tailgate that is what I am seeing, but my eyes are not the greatest.

    • Flethc

      I don’t know for sure, but pickup trucks don’t have a crown like that, not sure why this would.

      $7k is a lot to pay for a vin tag.

    • Todd Zuercher

      No they did not. Should be flat.

      Like 1
    • Todd Zuercher

      This generation of trucks never had full-time 4wd. They were all part-time transfer cases.

      The transmission is a 3 speed – there were no 4 speeds available for this generation.

      The full-time trucks in 78-79 didn’t have locking hubs.

      Like 2
  2. Fletch

    I don’t know for sure, but pickup trucks don’t have a crown like that, not sure why this would.

    $7k is a lot to pay for a vin tag.

  3. chrlsful

    there’s a stiffener under that often goes & the simple weight of the top can push dwn on bed rails raising the middle…mine came in the (faded) red. I’m havin trouble guessin if this were red or blue…it was worse than this in ’83 – took 3, 4 more in the nxt 5 yrs to make the 1 I drive now.

  4. walter rose

    Hey don’t forget that it was competing with the toyota land cruiser 40 series and 55 series too.

  5. Karl

    NICE patina! NOT!!

  6. Phlathead Phil

    I’ve had my E.B. Bronco for 22 years.

    They will climb a tree in reverse, pull a mountain, and, you can have fun in the back anytime your girl says turn off at the next 🌽 field.

    I once pulled a Dodge Ram 1 ton out of a ditch with a 20’ deck over trailer loaded with 3 snow mobiles in a blinding snowstorm.

    I asked for a chain, after he was freed, he said; I don’t know what you got in that rig but, it saved my life.

    I answered 351 Windsor, a C-6 Trans, and bone stock rear gears.

  7. Mike Brown

    I’ve never cared for these Broncos and I think that the new ones are even uglier! However, I keep getting “notifications” about how the new ones will have this or that. Can anyone tell me how to make them stop?

  8. Arthur

    I bet Stacey David would have appreciated this Bronco, especially since he used an even rougher Bronco for Project Crazy Horse.

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