First Gen Bronco: 1974 Ford Bronco Sport 302

As I’m writing this piece there’s a ’74 Bronco on Counting Cars, so clearly that’s kismet. This 1974 Ford Bronco Sport from Baker City, Oregon waits here on eBay where 45 bids have driven the top bid to a $12,100. I’m no Bronco Billy but that sounds like beaucoup bucks. These early Broncos and International Harvester Scouts created their own market one notch above the Jeep in size and comfort but smaller (more maneuverable and trail-friendly) than GM’s truck-based Blazer and Jimmy.

This one-family Bronco appears mostly stock and original. With red paint, white interior, optional 302 V8, and dual fuel tanks, this first-generation Ford has clearly caught the attention of the Bronco faithful. The gnarly deep-lug tires look like every truck I remember through the early ’80s. Tom’s Bronco Parts and others can help you put these boxy brutes back on (or off) the road.

The seller claims the floors are solid, and most Bronco fans prefer the 302 V8 and standard transmission. This rig appears to pack a column shifted 3-speed while the floor shifter handles the transfer case. There’s no need for a cell phone when you have a boss aftermarket CB radio. “Jackalope Jake to Base… Get them vittles ready; we’re done fencing the back 40!” The ubiquitous Western seat covers hide the snappy white vinyl seats. Fully restored, this color combination will be hard to beat.

By stating the engine was last started three years ago, we can assume some failed efforts to start it more recently. Apparently the seller has pressed the right rear hubcap into service as an air-cleaner substitute, always handy to keep squirrels from storing nuts inside the carburetor where they can drop into the intake manifold and combustion chambers when you open the throttle. The 302 appears mostly stock with manual brakes, and I have to ask (after a fruitless Internet search)… why on Earth do the brake lines go immediately into what looks like power steering-sized rubber lines? Aside from adding infinite sponginess to the pedal feel, what purpose could that serve? These first-generation Broncos will never decrease in value or in their popularity as restored and highly modified Jeep alternatives. Ken Block just built an off-the-hook Coyote-powered First-Gen Bronco. You can buy this one and make it even crazier, or simply put this Beaver State beauty back to original. What’s your preference?

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Comments

  1. Gary

    Cool air cleaner. Where do you get the filters for that?

    Like 1
  2. Peter k

    Dats one of those snow cone air cleaners…

  3. JW

    Wow did I make one huge mistake selling my 73 Bronco with a 351W that would make this one look like a piece of junk for $5500 in 1995. No way this is worth that kind of money IMHO.

    Like 1
  4. Tom Hall

    From the rust belt, I would consider this a very collectible piece and thus likely worth the $12K and beyond.
    Darn near every 74 here was rusted beyond saving by 79….maybe even 77.

    The tops of the inner fenders look suspect on this one. But they appear better than those around here did by 1975 :)

  5. Todd Zuercher

    They don’t show the most critical part of the floors.

    Looks like it has some potential!

  6. half cab

    Drive it as is.

    Like 1
  7. Greaseball

    Imagine what we would have today if Ford had a good management team back then. Ford ditzed their consumers when they dropped the Early Bronco. Then dropped the Bronco altogether in 96. Now they find themselves in an all out drag race to catch Jeep. Im betting they wont be able to.

  8. Howard A Member

    What is the overblown attraction to these ( and FJ’s)? Folks, I can say from experience, THEY’RE NOT THAT NICE,,,sorry, sorry, no coffee, let me get a Coke,,,ahhhh, ok, where was I ? Oh yeah, these are miserable trucks to drive. 2nd gen, much nicer. They were designed to be in direct competition with Jeeps, and Scouts and strictly utilitarian in nature. A friend just out of HS had a Bronco just like this ( only automatic) and I found out 1st hand, why they called it a “Bronco”. Without the seatbelt, you WILL hit your head on the roof. Poor handling, so-so brakes, no heat, rattle can interiors, people are making these seem like it’s a new Explorer, and they’re not. Far from it. I think the only reason people are asking these outrageous prices for these, is because, like any 4 wheel drive, they were used exclusively in winter, and very few survived.

    • Vincent

      I concur. My passion for ugly cars had me owning a screaming yellow first gen Broncos with a lift kit. Ended up putting a Jeep trans in it just so I could have 4 speeds and get on the highway.

      Decided that I loved it a much as my former VW breadloaf bus, which is to say: not at all.

      Sold for a profit, never looked back.

      Sometimes primitive is just primitive.

  9. Ray Smith

    Looking at the bids Jonathan Ward must have his eye on this one.

    • Todd Zuercher

      Is he buying any cut trucks?

      • Ray Smith

        All it takes is a clean set of rear panels to fix that problem.

      • Colleen Hulburt

        Hello, I am the girl you bought this from and I would desperately love to find this rig again. Does anyone know who bought it and where it went?

  10. Nrg8

    Dash gun rack would close the the deal for me

  11. jay

    I have never understood the love affair people have with these. I had a 74 and it rode like a go cart, in the snow it hopped and bopped you out of the seat. I also had a 1970 Scout 800a with 304 and it ran circles around the Bronco, in all ways.
    Guess its all about the marketing. Still, 12k is a lot of money .

  12. chad Member

    D44 up frnt, buncha other pluses…
    (site disallows attachments so no pic)

  13. El Chinero

    The coolant (?) jug between the seats is a nice touch …

  14. JNorton

    For some of us it’s just about the “cool” factor. If I had the time and money I would have one or an early FJ. As it is, my first gen 4 runner eats up what little of both I have.

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