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No Reserve: 1988 Ford Bronco XLT

Some badges simply refuse to lay down, and Ford’s Bronco is a perfect example. After a quarter-century in the wilderness, the Bronco has made a return. However, there are potential buyers whose budgets won’t stretch to a new one, and that’s where vehicles like this 1988 Bronco XLT fit into the equation. It isn’t perfect, but its needs appear to be fairly minimal. It is a classic that is ready to be enjoyed by a new owner, and it is being offered for sale with No Reserve. The Bronco is located in Spokane, Washington, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding sits at $6,900 in this winner-take-all auction.

For the buyer searching for a nice older SUV, the Medium Scarlet and Colonial White XLT is well worth a look. The paint holds an impressive shine for a 33-year-old off-roader. It hasn’t accumulated any of the scratches and marks that can plague vehicles that have spent time blazing their own trail through the great outdoors. The panels are straight, with no evidence of dings, dents, or rust. The chrome seems to be in good order, while the same is true of the glass. The Bronco rolls on its original wheels, and not only are these free from damage, but they are wrapped in a set of good Toyo tires. The front of the vehicle is fitted with a black nudge bar, and the auxiliary lights mounted on this should turn night into day.

If this Bronco has a weakness, that would have to be the upholstery on the front seats. The Burgundy velour is showing some wear, and this is particularly apparent on the driver’s seat. The rear seat looks respectable, so the buyer might decide to fit a set of aftermarket slipcovers to camouflage the problem. However, replacement covers in the correct material are easy to find. The only issue is that they come as a full set, and they cost $645. That’s not cheap, but when you look at the state of the rest of the interior, it is an expense that could probably be justified. The original radio has made way for a CD player, but I can’t spot any other additions or changes. For me, the carpet is a real surprise. Off-road adventures will bring their share of mud and gunk, and it is unavoidable for some of this to find its way into a vehicle of this type. That usually leaves its mark on the carpet, but that isn’t the case here. There is no significant staining or wear, while the plastic trim and the dash are excellent. As well as the CD player, the Bronco features air conditioning, power windows, power locks, and cruise control.

Accessing hidden locations in the wild takes a special vehicle, and the Bronco ticks the boxes when it comes to the question of essential features. Under the hood is the 5.0-liter V8 that produces 185hp and an impressive 270 ft/lbs of torque. This is fed to a 4-speed automatic transmission, while the Bronco is equipped with a dual-range transfer case, providing 4-wheel-drive capabilities. When the going does get tough, the last thing that a driver needs to do is be in a position where they need to “wrestle” their vehicle. Power steering and power brakes should avoid these problems and should make off-roading an effortless experience. The Bronco is not a genuine performance car, and that makes the ¼ mile ET of 18.3 seconds seem mighty impressive. However, what makes this a versatile vehicle when the going gets rough is the engine torque. This peaks at around 2,000rpm, meaning that the Bronco should crawl effortlessly across mud, rocks, and any other nasties that nature can throw at it reasonably effortlessly. The owner says that this Bronco is in excellent shape, with everything working as it should. The 4×4 system functions correctly, and it seems that this is a classic with no mechanical needs.

When Ford announced that they were set to revive the Bronco, the reaction from the press and the motoring public was positive. However, if you walk into your local Ford dealership today to buy a Bronco, you need to have at least $32,500 in your pocket. This one isn’t new, but then again, it isn’t likely to sell for anywhere near that sort of figure. That means that if you want to live the SUV lifestyle on a tighter budget, maybe the time is right to look at this one. It shows a lot of promise, and I will guarantee that it would attract just as much attention as a new Bronco, but would do it at a fraction of the price.


  1. Avatar photo Bob_in_TN Member

    This generation of Broncos were cleanly styled, straightforward, capable, attractive vehicles. I particularly like the two-tone paint combinations (there were many) which included the basket-handle scheme. In hindsight they were about the time that full-size SUV’s were starting to come into their own as family vehicles. It’s not surprising that the values for nice examples are headed north.

    This one overall looks very nice with only a few upgrades needed. Kudos to the seller for lots of pics.

    Like 2
  2. Avatar photo JimmyB

    repaint is sloppy and you can see paint lines on the original tape stripes. Incorrect aftermarket side molding. Missing wheel well molding chrome which was standard on XLTs. I love how dealers cannot force themselves to put the real miles.. they put 34,000 because “that’s what is says on the odometer”. Such scammers.. Just tell the truth.

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo Chris Spraakman

      Good eyes on those catches JimmyB – paint, molding, chrome.

      Like 0

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