I Hope I’m Getting This One Right: 1973 Bronco Project

Earlier this week I posted about a reasonably original, uncut Bronco, and some of you (very nicely) corrected some of my errors in the post. When I came across this somewhat challenged but still worthy 1973 project here on eBay, I thought I’d show you that I’m teachable and get the details right on this one! (now watch me get something wrong on this one as well!) It’s located in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, and the auction has currently made it up to $2,500 but has not yet met the reserve.

There was a 1973 Bronco color named Bright Lime–I’m guessing this is it? Obviously, the tailgate is either from another Bronco or has been painted, but at least it looks pretty solid. While the bright trim was optional, it might be difficult finding the missing piece for the left front fender. And, as you can see, there’s a little rust creeping along pretty much every body seam there is. The seller does tell us that the rear quarters do not need replacing and that they are “in good uncut condition.”

Here’s a better shot at what you’ll be getting into with the seam rust.

The seller gives me a little confidence in their description by not only telling us about this rust spot in the frame, but including a clear picture of it so again, you know what you are getting into.

On the inside, which by the way does include the rear seat, we have two front buckets that need some help, and the same type of seam and surface rust you see on the rest of the vehicle is on the floor. There are some more pictures of it in the auction listing, I think it can be blasted and coated to save it but I’m not sure. And yes, that’s a three speed on the tree and a four wheel drive shifter on the floor, not an automatic shifter. See, I am teachable!

Under the hood, we have what is probably the original 302 cubic inch V8, which the seller tells us runs well with no smoke. You’ll need to replace two brake lines to get the brakes functional, and I suspect there will be other minor issues as well before you are on the road, like a set of tires. However, this is a fine opportunity to own a classic early utility vehicle and improve it over time. I have two questions for you:  1) did I get it right this time, and 2) would you be interested in owning this Bronco?


  1. Dave

    There is no such thing as ” a little rust” when it comes to these vehicles!

  2. JW

    Can’t comment because I can’t get the “Here On Ebay” link to work for me.

  3. Todd Zuercher

    Yes, you got it right, Jamie! And up until a few years ago, we would’ve parted out this rust bucket and harvested the good stuff. No longer.

    The missing trim piece is easily sourced.

    • JamestownMike

      The missing trim piece should be your LAST concern!………look at all the rust!

  4. Dennis Hockenberry

    Great ! I’ll be the first to post a comment, and I can answer any questions you have, why ? Cause I’m the seller !! Yes, the rear quarters panels are in excellent condition, you see surface rust in and near the edges, it’seems only ‘surface’ and only paint deep. I could of scraped, sanded it down, touched it up, but I wanted the potential buyer to see the real vehicle, not trying to hide anything. This is a good early Bronco, of it don’t sell, I’ll keep it and drive it. And yes, your correct on the color, it is a rare color, not my choice of color, buy it’s different ! The chrome missed on the fender, it’s available to purchase. Guess what ? The radio even works !!

    Like 1
  5. Rustytech Member

    While this is more rust than I want to deal with at this time in my life, these are very popular vehicles in the market right now, and it’s hard to find one that not cut up. I hope someone will give this some love, but keep it as delivered. Well maybe a different color, you know what I mean. P/S I am only about an hour away, so if any of you would like a neutral set of eyes on it I could go take a look.

  6. Dennis Hockenberry

    It’s actually not a rust bucket ! When you open and you can see the entire ground under it, and the doors fall down when you open them, that’s a rust bucket. Being 44 years old, it’s in better condition then some of the new trucks that are 3-4 years old, seen a Dodge truck the other day that had the rear quarters above the tires with 4″-5″ holes rusted through, that dodge will never make 10 years. This Bronco sounds sweet and runs great. !

    • JamestownMike

      I’m not sure I’d call it a “rust bucket” but it definitely has it’s share of rust issues! I’ve seen a lot worse, however it’s more rust than I care to deal with. With the high cost of rust repair, I’d rather spent more money and buy a nicer example. You’ll save money in the long run if your doing a restoration. Rust is CANCER and won’t stop unless you completely REMOVE all signs of it!

  7. JamestownMike

    I like the color, it’s different! I appreciate the honest pictures the seller provided but WOW, look at the frame rust thru and SEVERE rust pitting underneath! If the frame has rust thru and brake lines are rusting away, that tells you something! Wonder just how thin the metal is underneath?? It’ll be an absolute nightmare once you get it back from the sandblaster! And all that rust on edges and in between panels……..you can never get rid of all the rust BETWEEN panels. When you combine the rust on the top side of the floors and add the rust on the underside of the floors, your not left with much solid metal.

  8. Dennis Hockenberry

    The frame is solid except the section in the photo, the frame had,dirt and mud laying in the rusted area on the frame, this caused the rust in that area. Being a boxed frame and the rear of the frame is widely open to allow dirt and debris to enter the frame in the rear, this is common on the early Broncos.

    • JamestownMike

      You REALLY think the frame rust thru and DEEP rust pitting is isolated to this one small area you took a pic of????………really?

      • johnd

        The frame is SOLID, except for the rusty places. . . . The pits are just a little deeper than the metal is thick . . .

  9. erikj

    Dennis H. You are a honest seller which I wish I could say more often. And ,yes the frame looks bad in that area, but you showed it!! And it makes sense that sediment would rest in those areas,I,ve seen it before.
    Thanks for the honesty.
    And Jamie, Don’t let those others correct you. Nobody knows everything!!!
    As I have said before, We should be here to learn more about our car affection,no need to critic . Great website and great job to all of you on staff. sad day if you where gone!!!

    • Bobsmyuncle

      Don’t correct mistakes? But you want to learn…

  10. erikj


    • Joe

      Check out his ebay description. Then you will understand.

      • Dennis Hockenberry

        Wow, I list a vehicle for sale, take photos of the areas and explain, not trying to hide anything, I thought I was doing the right thing” being honest”, and I get bashed for it. My ad does not say ” if you read this ad you are forced to buy it”, it’s for sale to that person that wants to purchase it, no one is being forced to buy anything. If your not interested, there is another one listed for $ 35,000. It’s for sale ! Think positive, life is more enjoyable when you do !

      • Tony S

        There are a lot of jerky kids on here that are jealous they can’t afford a decent project car – they’d rip off the owner but if someone else did and then flipped the car they whine and cry.

  11. Jay M

    This truck has to be dismantled for a frame off restoration, -to stop the rust before it gets even worse. Once the body is media blasted you will see how much metal repair & replacement is truly required. Ask someone who has done it!

    If you like these trucks it may be a good project for you.
    But, that will take 30k plus, depending on how much you can do yourself.
    And it will never be original again.
    Count the cost(s) from a professional shop, not just someone’s opinion.

    • JamestownMike

      AGREED! Been there, done that! Learned the hard way.

  12. Dennis Hockenberry

    Joe, we’ll let me educate you on car restoration. You can take an older car, cut the front, we’ll on a newer front frame for an updated suspension ! You can cut a rear frame and reposition it to tub it out ! You can cut a frame, weld on a lowering kit up over the rearend ! But your saying it’s bad to cut out a small section and weld on a new section in the area that only supports a bumber ?? Think about what your saying, these are the statements the news media talks about to only get attention, get out of the media position and get your hands dirty, this is how you educate yourself. I would be more then happen to educate you if you need help. How long have I owned it and how much I have invested ?? Why pull your personal feelings into this, it will be ok, trust me, you will pull through this, just breath and relax, everything will be ok.

    • Joe

      Then do it–big car restoration expert! Hahahhahaha.

    • JamestownMike

      “only supports a bumper??”……..um, isn’t that a rear spring perch right next to the rusted out frame?

  13. Dennis Hockenberry

    Joe, your wrong about me gone to the beach, I was hurt in the military. Please be careful on your comments, I would really appreciate your respect.

    • Joe

      Sure Dennis! Bro’s. Looks like your ebay auction is bringing real money — so Best of Luck and hoping the best for you and the buyer.

    • BMWTundraguy

      Dennis, I know this is late. The auction has ended and it looks like your reserve wasn’t met. I’m sorry for you because I’m sure you had reason to sell it. My comments really doesn’t pertain to the vehicle nor the sale. I personally would like to thank you for your service!!!!! I have two Brothers that served, one did see action and too was wounded, but Blessedly it wasn’t major. Again, I want to THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE and your “taking one for your Country”! Cliche, but real!!! I also want to apologize for those that haven’t the respect nor appreciation to respect those that serve so that they have the FREEDOM to be disrespectful without repercussions! I do hope whatever you want to happen to the ole Bronco, does!! Thank you again and I’m sure you have heard worse, from much better! (which in itself is sad too)

  14. JamestownMike

    Lol, no kidding. First off, you’d have to cut out the section of the rusted out frame, then sandblast inside and out of the frame section, then do some grinding (lol, if there’s any more metal left) to get to some solid rust free metal (yeah, right) to weld to, then replace what was removed and stitch weld. With all the extensive DEEP rust pitting underneath, I’m not hopeful. Wonder what the body mount areas look like underneath??

  15. Andy

    Just want to say, regardless of the condition and what it will or won’t take to bring it all the way back: I appreciate the reminder that, in my lifetime, you could go to a dealer and buy a vehicle this simple and honest. It’s just a shame that when Ford started dabbling in imitating the Japanese, they started with sheet metal.

  16. Mike Burnett

    Wasn’t Bronco a 1970’s make of toilet paper? Nuff said!

    • half cab

      Yea it was kick xxx

  17. Jesper

    Life is to short, for fighting on BF.
    Enjoy our hobby.

  18. Bobsmyuncle

    One day Barnfinds is heavy handedly deleting every post without rainbows and butterfly wings, and today you leave Joe’s comments.


  19. racer99

    Seller gave enough info and pictures to make your own decision (OK, some additional underside pictures would have been helpful but think of all the ads we’ve seen with 3 or 4 fuzzy pictures on cars with $10K starting bids). I agree that the rust here would put me off but these trucks are gaining popularity and someone will take the plunge on this but the restoration on this won’t be cheap as a full frame-off will be necessary to do this correctly and fix the frame issues. For someone who has to have one time spent hunting a more rust-free platform to start with or one that’s already had some of the work done would put them way ahead or jack the body up on this one and put another frame underneath it.

  20. Howard A Member

    Wow, I’m shocked at where THIS went. What is wrong with some of you people? Thumbs down crap is one thing, but Dennis showed us the vehicle, was totally upfront, he didn’t have to say a darn thing.
    @ Dennis: I feel bad you had to go on the defensive here, I’m a follower of Hemmings as well, and they discontinued the “comments” on their cars for sale, because of some that couldn’t keep their big mouths shut, resulting in several sellers to pull their ads. Those ads pay their salary, although, I don’t think BF’s is in the same position, I feel, we should treat all sellers with respect. You want it or don’t you, here it is. This is an amazing service here, as it is. Stand your ground, it’s a nice truck, and rare as hand signals, don’t let these people convince you to give it away. Personally, I’d keep it, if you could. Good luck, and thank you for your service.

  21. CJay

    For those who have not grew up working on cars located in the rust belt. This is a solid truck for its’ age in central PA (I live 30 miles from this vehicle). It’s all in the terminology.
    In PA “Weak floors” mean. Has holes that need patched.
    In NM “Weak floors” mean .” Pin holes.
    In PA “Floors need repair” mean. The cats can get in!
    In NM “Floors need repair” mean some patching.
    I have hauled parts to PA for 15 years and things that in NM and TX that they part out saying “Its rusted out” We are exited to have.
    A 1966 GMC cab I hauled back, the new owner was excited and said “There’s something I haven’t seen in 20 years. Floor boards!!!”

  22. Mike Burnett

    Ouch! I live in rainy Brittany, France and my classic cars are deteriorating faster than I can keep up with, which is why I am selling the house and workshop and (hopefully) moving further South into the sun, so I know the feeling.

  23. rando

    All of the “experts” here who start attacking a car are one reason I’m tiring of BF. Then they attack the seller, as well. This is getting as bad as Facebook and I’m looking at a different website more and more these days. I’m not really in the market for an old car, but like to look at and learn more. The site I’m looking at now doesn’t seem to have the same problem. They show a car, talk about it, and discuss it, mostly in the form of fond memories. I won’t give the name of it because I don’t want the same people on there arguing over every little thing.

    Grow up people. If you don’t want it, don’t buy it. If you have something to add constructively, do so. Even if it’s not a positive about the vehicle. But don’t resort to arguments and shaded name calling. Good on you, Howard. Again part of the BF problem is the people who give others thumbs down just because their name appears. I think Howard A and some others have great input and knowledge.

  24. John vreeland

    The turn of the comments maybe due to the Steelers loss…..me, I wish I could find a good Scout in the NE, not gonna happen. At least this Bronco is still above the dirt.

  25. JW

    This Bronco is not all that bad, the one I bought from my friend that he restored was in a lot worse shape than this and it turned out beautiful. There are parts suppliers out there for these little beauties and if closer I would be inspecting this one for myself. When doing our 70 Mach1 we had to repair both rear frame rails with pieces cut from full replacement ones and they have never given us a problem in 6 years of driving it to multiple states.

  26. dl

    Problem solved now quitchyerwhinin…http://shop.broncograveyard.com/New-Mandrel-Bent-Ford-Bronco-Frame/productinfo/10810/ or as stated above just weld in a new section…

  27. TBall

    From my chair – all of you that are trashing Dennis – shame on you! While he may be underselling some (I.e. lifting the back gate and looking at rear drivers side tire well, you can see pavement), this is a nearly 44-year old vehicle, living in the rust belt, that – devoid of undercoating and proper/regular undercarriage washing during winters – was prone to rust. Dennis has been more than upfront about condition and flippers DO NOT start eBay auctions at $200. I would by from him, I am watching this auction and should it stay reasonable, will have a heart to heart with the bride in a few days about me getting in the mix. Dennis – thank you for properly reporting “danger zones” on your listing, these are vehicles no longer made with a devoted fan base and your vehicle is reasonably priced (obviously, I do not know the reserve, but should current price be close, then God Bless you). Joe – throttle back a bit brother. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to buy it.

  28. the one

    Hey! rat rod? Aaaah ha ha ha ha.

  29. Tony S

    Wow jealous much? It is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS how much someone has invested. You need to relax – and sounds like get a better job!

  30. Brad

    Good God, bullying the seller. Thanks for being honest about it all Dennis! I have to say that the number of comments posted on BF are WAY more than they used which is a good thing but really folks, we are car/truck/vehicle lovers or we would not have signed up to get the posts.

    Opinions are fine as they say, we all have one (or more) and kudos to the BF staff for this site!

  31. moosie Craig

    Strict inspection in Pennsy regarding rust. That frame would most likely flunk it. I had a girlfriend who had the most awesome ’94 Fleetwood that from outward appearances was “Cherry” but underneath was a rusty mess and would not pass Pa. inspection. Fixing seam rust without disassembly is like taking a water pistol to a gun fight , not worth the effort. It amazes me how people can sit and criticize sellers and have opinions without actually knowing, seeing, touching the vehicle in question. Peace,,,,,,,,,, OUT !

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Craig, NY as well, I believe would nix this. They have no sense of humor. On a recent visit, I was amazed at the lack of beaters. In Wisconsin, this is like a new truck.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      Acid dipping the body would be the best way of dealing with it.

  32. chad

    onea da common rust sites is @ gas tank/frame. Not many C it (including sellers) but will appear well after the sale, during restoration (it took me 3 bronks to make 1). The $3k frame replace offered by JBG is 1 (expensive) option.
    -do yer due diligence-
    wrds don’t mean much in this game, eyes’n experience do…
    as does kindness 2 1’n other
    (end of rant)

  33. gardener

    There is a bone yard here in MI called DAD’S that sells nothing but these old beautiful trucks.In MI this is a great start and a good price for it every part and I mean every part can be bought for this truck new rust free for not bad money the parts are not what cost you it’s paying your local wrench to put them on that will kill you so ask for help and give it back when you can.You might be shocked at how fast things get done and the people you meet and the friends you can make.In my town you want to learn go to our auto museam volenter your time they will help you learn even putting on a quarter panel or fixing a frame.I got to learn to wield on a 52 buick convert looks great in the display and I helped.So don’t complain find help and offer it it helps you and others.

  34. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Hidden, due to low comment rating. A shame.

  35. half cab

    This bronco isn’t bad at all. I’d take it in a heart beat . In my area they would ask 7 or 8 G’s for it.

  36. Josh Staff

    Hi guys,
    Are we going to have to turn off commenting for a while or just issue bans to those that can’t play nice? I leave the site for a couple hours to take a break and come back to find people attacking the buyer and each other. Come on guys! I know you are all better than that. This isn’t Reddit or Facebook, it’s Barn Finds. If you want to critique the vehicle, you have the right, but if you are going to flame the seller when they get on to respond to questions don’t be mad when you loose your commenting privileges.
    With that said, I want to thank Dennis for taking the time to get on and respond and give him my apologies for not deleting some of the comments immediately.

    • JW

      I totally agree Josh, I get on here to learn and have my failing memory restored by others. We should all be civil to others whether we agree or not. Thanks for this great site.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Josh, not unlike a bunch of 3rd graders, can I go to the can? I know you can’t be everywhere here on this site, but didn’t you used to have a “report” thing? Somebody hates me so I bet every one of my comments would be reported, but it may be a quicker way of seeing these shenanigans develop.

      • Josh Staff

        The thumbs down is essentially the same thing as the report button. We may have to remove thumbs up/down and return to the old report button though, we just liked the idea of allowing everyone to interact in a way that didn’t always require an actual comment. Given the way this conversation thread went though, we are rethinking the entire commenting system.

      • Howard A Member

        Oh oh, I don’t like the sound of that. Not much else going on in the Northwoods this time of year. Don’t change too much, the good here far outweighs the bad.

      • Josh Staff

        Don’t worry Howard, commenting isn’t going anywhere! It’s an important part of the site and always will be. We just need to rethink how we handle it. It might be that we require everyone to have an account, so that there is some form of accountability. Or perhaps we will have to start issuing warnings, time out or bans for those that can’t play nice. I don’t know what the solution will be, but it’s something we are working on.

  37. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I agree with Howard. I am no computer guy, but don’t we kind of have an account when we sign in to comment? I don’t know much about the time out thing, but I do remember doing some time in detention back in school! Or maybe the double secret probation that will not let you comment for a set amount of time. Escalating as the number of violations increase. Regardless, keep up the great work, thank you, Mike.

  38. Dennis H.

    I don’t think I did anything wrong or out of line, I do apologize if I did. I was only stating the facts that I know as the owner. I look at Barnes Finds three to five times a day, it’s very interesting, when I seen my vehicle listed, I made a sensible comment, then got bashed. In the future , I will be a reader only, no comments. That’s why I been quietly the last few days. Thank you, good luck, hope everyone finds there best barn finds ever.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Dennis, as self appointed Goodwill ambassador for BF’s, I urge you to join in the conversation. Josh and Jessie are great guys, they’ll fix this. I have someone riding my butt for months on the thumbs down thing, but, it’s the good folks I like to focus on. I like to sit back, and wonder what oddities Scotty G ( and others) will show us. Take care.

    • gardener

      It’s not you,it’s them you were great and keep up the good work your comments were fine they are just malcontents never happy don’t let them stop you from saying what you want thank you for your posts

  39. Mike Burnett

    I agree that in the absence of self discipline there needs to be some sort of discipline involved, but we should avoid it becoming censorship (freedom of speech, etc.)

  40. Mike Burnett

    I was saddened by my comment about Bronco toilet paper being supressed as undesirable, because it was meant as a piece of light hearted humour. Perhaps the English and American senses of humour are different, in which case I apologise for any offense caused, but for those who missed the point of my joke, please check out this link (If Howard A is about to go to the can you might like to take some of this with you!) ;


    • Howard A Member

      Hi Mike, are you in the UK? If so, that’s pretty cool as well. Seems the focus of this has gone away from the Bronco ( I think we lost Dennis) I think he’ll do ok, but perhaps an awakening of sorts, of who is out there. Continues to amaze me, but the fact you and I can talk about cars thousands of miles away, thanks to this site, is pretty cool. I love British “in your face” humor, but some don’t see it that way. For an American to say that is different than British. Rather than concentrate on the bad, which goes away, like Dave sez, it would be great to have a “personal message” dealy like my trucker site has. I don’t feel safe putting my email address here in the comments, but I think it would be cool if we could chat “off the record”. I’ve made some great friends like that. And now, I’m headed off to the “loo”, thank you for the “bog roll”. :)

  41. Mike Burnett

    Hi Howard,

    Thanks for the personal contact. Yes, I too would like to exchange emails. Please feel free to contact me.

    I am aware that I owe you some photos of the Mercedes SSK replica that I recently bought, but I have suspended all work on my cars while I prepare the house for sale. I’ve just got to move to somewhere warmer and drier, further South but still in France. In reply to your question, I am English but I have lived in Brittany, France for last 14 years.

  42. Jay M

    You should list that ’36 Dodge here.
    Very complete, and super cool.
    If I lived closer it would be mine already.

  43. Dennis H.

    Thank you. I might consider it. Do you have to be a member ?

  44. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Auction has ended at $6,100.00. Reserve not met. 32 bids.

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