Crazy Transformation: Freewheelin Bronco Revisited!

Bronco Transformation Front

The other day I featured this good looking Bronco. Immediately after doing so, one of our readers (thanks bdub!) brought it to our attention that the same truck sold on eBay three weeks ago. At that point it had rusty quarters and looked pretty rough. The selling price isn’t listed, but the next owner obviously worked wonders. I even had to compare to VINs just to make sure it was the same truck.

Rusty Quarters

I suppose the miracle worker could have cut out all the rust and welded in new metal, but with such a short turnaround, I would question their rust free claim. It’s amazing that the rest of the body cleaned up as well as it did. Even the dingy rims and tires look completely different.

Bronco Transformation Interior

The interior underwent quite a transformation too. I’m guessing that new seat covers and carpets went in along with a lot of elbow grease cleaning. It’s easy to feel a little duped here, but at least the new seller was honest about the mileage and didn’t try to pass it off as a 5k mile rig. They just know that appearance can have a big influence on perceived value.

Bronco Transformation Rear

I had mentioned in my first story that these normally don’t get me excited because they were a common sight where I grew up. Well, the crazy thing is that I could have actually seen this exact Bronco! When it was first listed for sale, it was actually located in my hometown over in Wyoming. Now, it’s a short distance from where I live in Idaho. Perhaps Josh and I should go take a look at those rear quarters…


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  1. JACKinNWPA Jack NWPA Member

    Rust free must mean that you don’t pay extra for it because us bodymen know it’s still there.

    Like 2
  2. Bobsmyuncle

    I’d be VERY curious to know about those quarters.

    I’m impressed by the seat covers! Quite a quick turn around and can’t be the seller’s first kick at the can.

    Like 1
  3. Alan (Michigan)

    “The body is straight and rust free.”

    As far as anyone can see, anyway. See my (longish) comment in the listing for the refurbished version of this classic.

  4. Alan

    There is also the possibility that some excellent Photoshop work was done here. By deepening the Shadows setting, the lower black portions of the truck blend into the shadows. They are totally black so any wavy bodywork, etc. is invisible. Adding Clarity increases color depth and contrast to make the paint pop. I would think some other color corrections might have been applied to the carpet as well.

    Not suggesting all this is how it happened in this case, but as one who does a lot of vehicle photography, just sayin’

    Like 2
  5. Mark S Member

    The rust was well below the decal that would make for an easy repair. I would not be surprised in the decal was taped out and the whole body was repainted. Then clear coated.

  6. Barzini

    You see this all the time on TV (Fast n Loud, Fired up Garage, etc.) but I never thought you could really clean up a car this quickly.

    Like 1
  7. SRT8

    Looks like they may have just dyed the carpet, if you look you can still see some “weak” spots. Also if you look closely you can see some places on the top that match up to the worn spots on the before photos.

  8. SRT8

    This reminds me of the Bronco

    Like 1
    • Blackta


  9. JW454

    At least this flipper put some effort into this one before trying to quadruple his money. Buy and old car fix it up and try to sell it at a profit. I think some of us have done it. It’s better than those people that list their find for sale using pictures of it still dirty sitting on the U-Haul trailer.

  10. bdub

    Glad I could help. I’ve been following Barn Finds for a short time, and when a vehicle interests me (whether I like it or not…$ it’s selling for sometimes is a factor, which was the case in this one, rarity, uniqueness etc.) I really start to dig into the vehicle (even though I have no intention of buying it).

    After looking at the before and after, and me hedging my bets on this rust likely wasn’t fixed the best, my guess is this is a $10k truck (maybe $15k depending on how well that engine was built and the rust was fixed). Rust free is an extreme overstatement in that ad.

    • jim s

      great catch.

  11. Rando

    I think the wheels were replaced with newer shiny wheels. Look at the offset of the rims. Tires too? Newer tires with slightly different tread? Maybe. It’s an amazing transformation on the body though. Spooky. A lot of work from buying on ebay to relisting. Hope it was good quality.

    • bdub

      look closer, Rando, it’s the exact tires and wheel from the original sale.

  12. jim s

    yes if you have time to do a PI on this that would be great. see how different it looks in person. also see what the rest of this sellers inventory looks like. thanks.

  13. Rob

    Pond scum selling for high value to some unsuspecting buyer. Seller is now Reported to ebay with both item numbers, they were very interested. It is clearly misrepresented, lied about, etc. A damn impressive fix and flip, and tricky photography. Polish the wheels, and you’re off to the races. You can see the waver in some of the lower lines of the truck, it’s just filled with bondo, sprayed and cleaned up. There is some impressive stuff as well, but someone is going to be buying a rust free rustbucket. Not a good way to do Buisiness; total dishonesty.

    Like 1
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Why would you report them Rob? Everyone assumed the worst here, so I went ahead and called the seller up this morning. When I asked about the rust, he told me that they cut out the rear quarters and welded in new sheet metal. The rest of the truck was solid. They had an upholstery guy redo the seats and spent a lot of time cleaning. They are a restoration shop that buys, fixes, and sells cars. The seller seemed upfront when I called, so I don’t see any reason why we should call them names or assume they are dishonest.

      Like 1
      • bdub

        upfront on the phone about the rust, but not in the ad? doesn’t sound honest to me.

        Like 1
      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        That’s true. If I were a buyer, I would like to know that there had been rust repair work done upfront.

        Like 1
      • racer99

        Must have just welded patch panels in as the decals still have the original cracking in them. Semantics issue on “rust free” if they cut it all out and replaced it with steel panels. Still would be nice to know it’s been repaired before purchasing it. Nice catch.

        Like 1
  14. todd

    those aren’t the same wheels, if you look at the dish you can see the new wheels have a deeper dish than the old ones.

    • bdub

      Look closer. They appeared to have a deeper dish because they are actually clean and polished. Those are the exact same wheels. You do not have a eye for detail. Look again.

  15. grenade

    Whiny cryin’ nit pickers. If you are interested in buying it, go and see it for yourself. Everyone knows that used cars and internet claims are saturating. If you know what you’re looking at, you’d know how it was repaired. If you buy blind based on someone’s ad and their typed words? You should get a time machine and go back to 1950. They can take your money just as easily.

  16. bdub

    It will be second chance offer or relisted in 3 weeks for no pay. Buyer had zero feedback.

  17. bdub

    The level of deception in this ad still concerns me. So I did a little searching around… and found this…

    Like 1
  18. James Turner

    Back in the 1990,s, I bought a 1 owner 1979 Ford Bronco X L T. Automatic with the standard 351 engine with a 2 barrel carb. After I had it repainted the original Jade green metallic paint I applied thin gold pinstripes around the tailgate, and side chrome panels etc. Gold metallic on the running boards and Wagon wheel rims with RLW tires. Also had a rebuilt engine installed. It was one of the nicest old Broncos around south central Pa. After a few years I got tired of feeding it gas as I was only getting about 8 to 12 M P G. They were cool trucks in there time but had the aerodynamics of a building block in the wind especially with the west coast mirrors and twin C B antennae’s LOL.

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