No Reserve: 1975 Ford Bronco 302 Project

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UPDATE – When we previously featured this Bronco, bidding reached $7,800 but apparently it didn’t actually sell, so it’s been relisted. This time it’s bid up higher, with a current bid of $9,600 and just a little over a day left to go. You can take another look at it here on eBay.

Typically, I look at a classic vehicle favorably when it has been the subject of long-term ownership. Those vehicles have usually lasted so long because the owner has lavished TLC on them, and they have treated their prized possession with total respect. I have also learned that there has to be an exception to every rule, and this 1975 Ford Bronco might be living proof. The seller is only the vehicle’s second owner, and he purchased it in 1988. It initially led to a sheltered existence, but that all changed when it was retired from driver duties and commenced a life in brutal competition. The owner has decided that all good things must come to an end, so he has listed the Bronco for sale here on eBay. It is located in Apollo, Pennsylvania, and bidding has hit $2,750 in a No Reserve auction.

That poor Bronco! Life has not been kind to this classic. After being retired from driver duties, the owner introduced it to the world of dirt drags and time trials. That means that the panels now wear more than their share of dings and dents, while he cut the wheel arches to accommodate larger wheels and tires. Purely from a parts perspective, addressing these issues is not an expensive undertaking. Lower rear quarter panels sell for around $95 per side, while front fenders retail for approximately $210 each. The doors are one of the more expensive items because they retail for about $420 each. However, that’s the tip of the exterior panel iceberg because while replacement tops are available in kit form, they will leave the buyer little change from $1,900. When we delve below the surface, we find that this Bronco has fallen victim to the usual rust problems. The floors are rotten, as are both inner front fenders. The front floors will add an extra $500 to the tally, the rear an additional $300, and the inner fenders will lighten the buyer’s wallet by a further $130 per side. So far, the bill for replacement steel has chewed a $4,400 hole in the buyer’s pocket, but when you consider the quantity of steel involved, that isn’t particularly expensive. With all of those new parts fitted, this Ford should be rust-free. However, if the buyer cannot perform the work themselves, they will need to factor in labor costs. That could see the total balloon significantly. While it has probably sounded like gloom and doom to this point, it is worth noting that the Bronco’s frame carries little more than some surface corrosion. There is no rot to address, so that aspect of this classic is structurally sound.

One small ray of light with this Bronco comes in the form of its drivetrain. The vehicle is a numbers-matching classic that features a 302ci V8 and a 3-speed manual transmission. The power and torque figures of 125hp and 220 ft/ls might not sound particularly impressive, but they allowed the Bronco to acquit itself well when the going got tough. It’s worth noting that this 302 breathes more effectively through a set of headers, so it may have a bit more to offer potential buyers. One added attraction is the original owner’s decision to order the vehicle with power steering. That should make life a bit more bearable when the going gets tough. The owner says that while the engine doesn’t run, it turns freely and the oil is clean. He removed the fuel tank at some point, so a replacement will need to be added to the extensive shopping list. One of the greatest attractions of the 1st Generation Broncos is that the drivetrain is essentially bulletproof. If fuel can find its way back into the carburetor, breathing new life into that V8 may not be difficult.

The Bronco’s interior is a mixed bag for the buyer. The painted surfaces are pretty sad, while the same is true of the upholstery. Surprisingly, the dash pad doesn’t look that bad, but there might be some hidden worries for the buyer to consider. If the vehicle has been sitting exposed to the elements, moisture will have found its way behind the dash and into the gauges. This usually isn’t a good thing, and it will almost certainly have damaged the inside of the gauge cluster. Once again, it will be a question of whether to have it refurbished or head out and source a replacement. The same will be true of the switches, as well as any relays or connectors. The safest bet would be for the buyer to secure a replacement wiring harness, which adds even more to the repair bill. When you add around $2,000 for a trim kit to the equation, the bills will be piling up before this classic sees the road again.

I always subscribe to the belief that virtually no vehicle is beyond restoration. However, the question will always be whether such an undertaking will be financially viable. There’s no shying away from the fact that the person who tackles this 1975 Bronco will be scaling the automotive equivalent of Mt Everest. There is not one area of the body that won’t require attention, while the interior is in a similar state. That sounds like I’m sounding the death knell for this classic, but that is not necessarily the case. It is a project that has many aspects to consider. The first is that it is structurally sound. Most of the panels are well past their “use-by” date, but the frame is solid. The second factor to consider is that this Ford is mechanically complete, and its original V8 may be able to be revived with little effort. The clincher is the potential value of this Bronco if the buyer performs the restoration to a high standard. If you go out into the market with $45,000 in your pocket, you should be able to drive home in a relatively tidy ’75 Bronco. If a pristine example is on your radar, that figure can quickly increase to $70,000. And that’s today because with the way values are climbing, the sky could be the limit in a very short while. If the vehicle sells for anywhere close to its current bid level, that leaves a lot of change in the buyer’s pocket to perform the work before it is no longer financially viable. That’s why I believe that the bidding activity will intensify very shortly. That makes this an auction worth watching.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. bobhess bobhessMember

    Looking at this Bronco and the one further down I don’t think there is enough of either one of them to make a complete vehicle…. The difference between restore and reincarnate applies to both of them.

    Like 11
  2. Todd Zuercher

    We used to part out Broncos that looked a lot better than this! No more….every VIN gets re-born.

    Like 7
  3. Mark

    Opting for power steering was a wise choice given the tire pressure he’s running….

    Like 12
  4. CCFisher

    The first two pictures look like they were taken in the lot behind Dr. Frankenstein’s lab. What on earth happened to that Jeep?

    Like 3
  5. JoeBob

    Special toe-in adjustment used for furrowing.

    Like 1
  6. chrlsful

    brought ’em back worse than this in the 80/90s. Guy in Amarillo is lookin for VIN plates! Its all wide open since auctions and net sales. I used to see buyers who didn’t know what was there, now I see sellers who don’t as well. “Gimmie one, here’s my $.” Pretty wacky to observe from my house~

    Like 1
  7. John

    Screw this dime a dozen POS Bronco. Check out the International Travelall in the background

    Like 0
  8. HoA Howard AMember

    Not sure it’s a ’75, it looks like a roadster that ended production in 1969, the “pickup” in ’73, I read. If it is a roadster, it’s a rare model, as the roadster was the 1st time we saw the Bronco, that debuted on the TV show “Green Acres”. The bumbling county farm agent, Hank Kimball drove a ’66 roadster. Still nuts, regardless.

    Like 0
  9. Todd Zuercher

    Howard – it has roadster inserts but it’s not a true roadster. The VIN would begin with U13 instead of U15 if it was one.

    Like 0

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