Off-Road Classic: 1971 Ford Bronco

As we watch the launch of the latest generation Bronco, it’s worth some time to reacquaint ourselves with the first generation of the model that marked the first foray by one of the Big Three into the world of sport utility vehicles. This 1971 Ford Bronco is located in Westlake, Ohio, and is being auctioned here on eBay. At the time of writing, the bid has climbed to $7,600 with a little less than two days remaining in the auction.

Originally conceived in the early sixties to compete with the likes of Jeep and the International Harvester Scout, the very first Ford Broncos were introduced in the 1966 model year. Construction was simple and rugged, with straight body panels, flat glass, and limited options. An automatic transmission, for example, wouldn’t become available until 1973; instead, all Broncos were equipped with a three-on-the-tree with a floor-mounted shifter for the transfer case. Although initially offered with a modified version of the Falcon’s inline-six, by 1971 the 302 V8 had become an option, and it’s that engine that we see in this example.

The owner states that the Bronco runs and drives, and given the state of the exterior, I’m inclined to believe the claim of under 50,000 miles. The paint appears original, though there are a few visible locations where rust has eaten through the sheet steel– including a few small holes in the bed. As befits a rough-and-tumble off-roader, the interior of this Bronco isn’t perfect, but all the pieces seem to be there. I have seen– and regularly driven– worse. The sole, worrying, omission is a good picture of the underside of the vehicle. These little trucks were often ridden hard and put up wet. It’s not impossible that some nasty surprises might be lurking literally below the surface.

By all appearances, this is a very nice example of a first-generation Bronco ready for restoration. When the seller notes the desirability of these cars in the market, he’s not wrong, and interest is bound to increase with the massive media focus on the new model. Prices at recent auctions are all over the place, but even the lower end of the average return would make the current under-$8,000 current price compelling. But as we all know, the price isn’t set until the very last bid– until then, if you’re in the market for a classic off-road vehicle, it might be worth keeping an eye on this one.


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  1. jerry z

    Maybe I should buy the Bronco that was advertised on CL for $2K. The one above looks a little better but not much!

  2. Karl

    With the hydraulics sticking out the front this thing obviously pushed a snow blade with all the body rot to go with that job. Whatever the mileage is triple it and you might be close on what to expect mechanically!

    Like 3
    • GH

      I bought and restored a 1975 that had been a security vehicle in a chemical plant in Houston. It had been much disrespected in its former life.

  3. Gerry Member

    Why does the radiator stick out of the hood?
    This was probably a plow truck for some place that had a campus like a college or a large manufacturing plant . hence the low mileage but like Karl said above the mechanicals were rode hard.

    Like 2
  4. chrlsful

    mine has plowed my drive’n many others (an income generator), brought in the fire wood, etc for 39 yrs here. The story is maintenance. I’ve had vehicles w/200 and 400k mi on them. Its abt maintenance…

  5. Luis leite

    Send phone number please

  6. MorganW MorganW Member

    “Uncut Bronco”, unless you count the hole in the hood for the custom radiator upgrade.

    Like 1

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