No Reserve 1972 Ford Bronco Project

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In movies, culture, and cars, it seems that what is old is new again.  Movie theaters are filled with sequels and reboots.  Seventies colors and fashions are rising from the grave.  In our world, Ford dealerships are starting to fill up with a modern remake of the classic Bronco.  Ford has a hit on its hands, and that rising tide has lifted the prices of older Broncos into the stratosphere.  If you don’t have bottomless pockets but want one of these old warhorses, then you have to take on a project truck.  This 1972 Ford Bronco for sale on eBay in Lafayette, Louisiana may be just the starting point for you.  If you can look past the rust and the rough condition, this truck may provide a foundation for a great custom.  At a current bid of $10,100, is this truck a possible alternative?

Most of the people running into Ford dealerships and paying full sticker plus a “market adjustment” probably have no idea how the Bronco began.  This unique vehicle got its start in 1966.  Debuting not long after the wildly successful Mustang, the horse-themed name made sense.  The difference in the vehicles is obvious, but there is more to consider than just looks alone.  When we think of a Jeep or Bronco today, we imagine a mall cruiser that you can drive across the country at highway speeds with the air on and a wicked stereo shaking the cabin.  Back in the late sixties and early seventies, the Jeep CJ-5, International Harvester Scout, and the Bronco were built for outdoors-type people.  From the woods to the dunes, these vehicles lacked several creature comforts and were not the best choice for highway cruising.

With stiff, crude suspensions, short wheelbases, and a high center of gravity, they handled poorly on pavement.  Off-road was another story.  All of those characteristics were huge advantages when the going got rough.  Being able to leave the rat race behind and invade nature like Patton’s army was liberating for a lot of folks.  Those folks were generally rough, outdoors types that would spend good money on what most would consider a hobby vehicle.  In other words, the original Bronco catered to a limited market.  Later Broncos were based on the F-Series pickup and the Bronco II was likewise based on a Ranger.

Even the Broncos that were based on ordinary trucks were not very luxurious until the Eddie Bauer editions began to sell like ice cream on a summer day.  We have come a long way since then, and as consumers, we demand and receive luxurious vehicles.  So, with Jeep’s continual move upmarket and farther away from its roots, automakers have seized on the idea that these off-road type vehicles can be quite a profitable segment.  Thus, Ford’s reintroduction of the Bronco.  With its iconic throwback styling and tons of creature comforts, the company has quite the hit on its hands.  What is old is new again.  Sort of.

What if you want a Bronco without signing a note for $50,000 or more?  With the cost and lack of availability of the new Bronco, folks have begun to scoop up traditional Broncos at an alarming rate.  As with every supply and demand situation, prices have skyrocketed, and good examples are hard to find.  One of the biggest issues with these early Broncos is rust.  We all know that steel quality varied wildly during this period.  While there were some years (1966-1977) that first-generation Broncos suffered a bit less than others, many rusted out and were unceremoniously junked.  Those that have managed to hang on with rust damage will likely avoid the indignity of the crusher because of these skyrocketing values.

The 1972 Bronco you see here is one of those survivors.  At first, the seller was going to use this truck as a basis for a custom project.  That project would have included a new body and an engine swap for a newer Coyote Ford V-8.  That brings up the subject of parts.  You can now purchase nearly anything you need from the aftermarket for these beasts.  That includes every stamped steel body part you might need.  There are also several custom pieces available, from tube doors to fender flares.  Rust around the wheel wells?  A Sawzall and some new fender flares will fix that.  Half of that process may have already happened to this truck.

Despite the four flat tires and general left in the weather condition, the seller tells us that this Bronco was running when parked.  We are also told that the engine may be a 302 or a 351 and it has a manual transmission.  From there, the pictures tell the tale because the ad is a bit vague.  The only other clue is that this Bronco is located in Lafayette, Louisiana, which is known for its humidity and its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico.  A few more pictures of the undercarriage and some background into the vehicle’s history would have been helpful.

Overall, a lot could be patched up on this Bronco.  This is especially true if you aren’t planning a concours restoration.  If you are looking for a first-generation Bronco to drive and enjoy as intended, then I say weld up the holes, bleed the brakes, try to get the engine running and start driving it.  They still have a place off-road, and this one would be perfect to knock around in.

Have you ever owned a Bronco?  What would you do with this one?  Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.


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  1. Todd Zuercher

    This one’s going to take a lot of work but someone will rescue it.

    Like 4
  2. Nostromo

    Was walking up the trail from my favorite fishing spot about 45 years ago and saw a white Bronco stuck firmly between two trees. I was amazed because the clearance on the steep path was just about wide enough to allow for two people walking shoulder-to-shoulder.

    The driver of the Bronco and his buddy were sitting on some boulders close-by and explained that they’d gone up the hill already to the golf course a half-mile away to call for a wrecker. The go-to place for this sort of situation was Scrappy’s in Penndel, Pennsylvania. Scrappy’s typically handled the cleanup after the bigger accidents on the Pennsylvania Turnpike between Bristol, PA and Fort Washington, PA.

    There was not much in the way of help that I could offer the guys but I did say that if I saw Scrappy’s I’d direct the driver to the trailhead which was overgrown somewhat back then. Sure enough I see the driver up top and recognize the man as one of the pit crew for wreck removal for the old Langhorne Speedway on Route 1 across from the sprawling Reedman’s Auto Complex. I cleared the trail opening with my machete I carried for such purposes so the fellow could more easily walk the cable down the hill. I didn’t stay to watch the extraction of that Bronco but I’m sure that the doors were dented/caved in a little.

    Like 6
  3. Mike

    Skipping leg day I see.

    Like 1
  4. Tim

    No comment.

    Like 0
  5. Tim

    How much would restoration be? 60,000?

    Like 0
    • Harvey HarveyMember

      I’m pretty sure you could buy new one for the amount it would take to get half started on this project.

      Like 0
  6. Big C

    You gotta love the rear fender radius. No doubt done after couple 6 packs, by a 16 year old.

    Like 4
  7. Russ Ashley

    Sold for $10,100. If you wanted one of these this might have been a good deal as it looks better than some others I’ve seen that brought more money.

    Like 1
  8. Mountainwoodie

    I think there’s a little Cajun mischief at play here. Gone fishin. Set the hook and wait for the big dumb whale. Or as General McAuliffe said upon seeing this Bronco; Nuts!

    Like 0
  9. DE

    Buy a scout instead

    Like 0
  10. dogwater

    Sorry DE the scout is junk

    Like 2
  11. Kevin

    Being an owner of a 1st gen, I can say without hesitation that there are far worse projects out there than this one and for more money. I would think for about an additional 20k, 30K all in one could turn a buck on it. Never in my imagination would I have thought when I bought my 69 for $2,600 in 87′ that it would be worth what numbers folks are throwing around. Glad I hung on to it! Might be my fishing cabin soon!

    Like 1

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