No Reserve: Original 1979 Ford Bronco Ranger XLT

The pages of automotive history books are littered with models that have fallen by the wayside due to low sales totals. The Ford Bronco could easily have joined that list because the 1st generation vehicles didn’t enjoy the showroom success that the company had expected. However, rather than killing the badge, Ford released a bigger and better model that sold more examples in its first year of production than the original model sold in its best three sales years combined. Today, these 2nd Generation vehicles have joined the ranks of the automotive “must-haves,” with values continuing to climb rapidly. That makes this 1979 Bronco Ranger XLT worth more than a mere passing glance. It is a one-owner vehicle that has never ventured off-road. It has spent its life in a heated garage, so it’s no surprise to find its condition well above average. Adding some spice to this auction is the owner’s decision to list it for sale here on eBay with No Reserve. The Bronco is located in Tacoma, Washington, and some frantic bidding has pushed the price to $19,100. With No Reserve to consider, a second owner for this Bronco is mere days away.

Careful ownership always shows, especially when the vehicle in question is designed to forge its own path through the great outdoors. According to the listing, this Pastel Sand Bronco has never been off-road, spending its life on the blacktop or hidden away in a heated garage. Therefore, it’s no surprise to find that it presents in a better-than-average state. The paint holds an impressive shine, with no significant chips, scratches, or other defects. The panels are remarkably straight, although there are a couple of minor dings. The worst of these is in the driver’s door, but I would approach one of those paintless dent removal companies before sending it to a panel shop. If the next owner can remove the marks without repainting work, that would not be bad. Rust is not something that potential buyers will need to consider. The exterior is clean, and the numerous underside shots reveal little more than a dusting of surface corrosion. The exterior trim, including the original hubcaps, is in good order. I can’t spot any issues with the glass, meaning that things look pretty promising so far.

Ford offered potential buyers a couple of engine choices for their 1979 Bronco, and the original owner ordered this one with the 351M V8 that produces 158hp and 262 ft/lbs of torque. Bolted to that V8 is a 3-speed C6 automatic transmission, while a dual-range transfer case should allow the vehicle to access some pretty remote locations. While straight-line performance is never the focus of vehicles like this, that impressive torque figure and the automatic transmission should allow the Bronco to inch its way across some pretty inhospitable terrain. Compared to the exterior, the Bronco’s engine bay doesn’t present as well as I had hoped. The valve covers and some of the ancillaries wear more surface corrosion than expected. However, the overall condition is probably consistent with a vehicle of this type with 122,000 miles under its belt. This classic is about more than looks because the seller refers to it as a turn-key proposition. It runs and drives well, the transmission is smooth, and the 4×4 system works as it should. It seems that the buyer won’t be spending much on this vehicle’s drivetrain.

Finding an off-roader of this vintage with a nice exterior is a treat, but when the interior is even better, that’s a rarity. There’s no evidence that anyone has been tracking mud or other icky substances in there. The carpet is free from stains, while the vinyl and cloth upholstery is even better. Scrutinizing the interior shots tends to suggest that nobody has ever sat in the back seat. The dash and pad are flawless, and there are no issues with the faux-woodgrain highlights. The original owner installed a twin-port glass sunroof, and its seals appear to be watertight. The interior isn’t loaded to the brim with luxury appointments, but air conditioning and a pushbutton radio should make life on the road a pleasant experience.

If you combine the total sales for the best three years of the 1st Generation Bronco, the figure comes to 71,494 vehicles. The 1978 model year marked the first for the 2nd Generation Bronco, and sales skyrocketed to 77,917. If that didn’t cement the badge’s spot in the Ford lineup, the 1979 total of 104,038 undoubtedly sealed the deal. This Bronco is a gem, and it has hit the spot with potential buyers. They have already submitted forty-three bids, and there’s plenty of time left on the listing. If it worked its way beyond $30,000, I wouldn’t be surprised. With the growing popularity of these classics, are you tempted to join the bidding war?


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  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Nice Bronco in good condition. Kind of odd, it’s an XLT which includes the extra trim, and it has the cool striped upholstery. But in a paint color which reminds me of a fleet or municipal owner, with base blackwall tires and hub caps. I like the “base” look, but a set of upgrade tires and wheels (no lift kit, please) would make it more eye-catching. Tons of high-quality pictures.

    I bet the previous owner was one of those no-nonsense guys who kept good care of everything he owned.

    I wonder what the seller paid for it, likely not long ago?

    Like 8
    • Dave

      White wagon-wheels with BFG Radial All-Terrain T/As would do the trick, since Goodyear Tracker A/Ts aren’t available.
      This generation rode on the popularity of the Ford F-series and dealers around Pittsburgh couldn’t get enough of them, especially the black and gold Steeler Specials.
      Unfortunately, PennDOT’s winter road treatment sent most of these to the crusher with broken frames by the end of Reagan’s second term.

      Like 1
  2. GPAK

    Such a great Bronco but …..
    That dodgey aftermarket sunroof is a deal breaker for me !

    Like 3
  3. mainlymuscle

    Most boring looking XLT I’ve ever seen,so it would be a waste , for me , to pay 25 or 30k for one that would go straight to the paint shop , with a stop for new wheels and tires on the way home.

    Like 1
    • bobH Member

      I once bought a Cherokee from a government surplus sale that was a color similar to this. This Bronco would always remind me of that Cherokee. Cheap-axx government color, strippo model. As said, needs paint and a whole lot of other stuff , at least for me.

  4. Troy

    They don’t salt the roads in the Pacific North West like they do out east and its only been about 10 years since they started using this brine stuff to prevent ice but since snow only last a day or two most years any exposure to deal icing crap should be minimal I bet this thing will go over $25k

    Like 1
    • Brad460 Member

      From what I can research that brine stuff is some seriously nasty stuff. Apparently it has a compound in it designed to make it sticky to stay on the roads. The downside is it will stick to and coat all the hidden cracks and crevices under your vehicle that are almost impossible to fully clean out. Net result will be massive rust and corrosion in short order.

      I loath whoever’s came up with the idea to spread all this crap on our roads. If it’s too challenging to drive without all this slop and crap on the roads stay home

      Why should the rest of us have our vehicles destroyed so some inexperienced driver can go where he/she doesnt need to go.

      Like 2
    • Dave

      The year after PennDOT started using brine the number of accidents caused by brake failure skyrocketed. That crap ate through the brake lines on the 2001 Dodge Ram I had and made the frame rusty enough that I was forced to buy another car five years ago. It rots out things like control arms and tie rods too. Regular road salt seemed to attack body steel and leave brake lines alone but this brine likes brake lines and suspension parts.

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