One Family Owned: 1966 Ford Bronco Half Cab Pickup

We see an eclectic mix of classics here at Barn Finds, with one of the more popular being Ford’s First Generation Bronco. While never deemed the sales success the company hoped for when new, the Bronco’s stakes have risen considerably in recent years. We generally see examples that fall into two categories. We either see those that represent meticulously restored vehicles or those that need vast amounts of TLC. This 1966 Bronco Half Can Pickup is a rare exception. It is an original and unrestored survivor that has been part of the same family for its entire life. All good things must come to an end, meaning this Bronco needs a new home. Located in Templeton, Massachusetts, you will find this survivor listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding sits at $35,100, although this figure falls short of the reserve.

Ignore this classic’s current location because this Rangoon Red survivor has spent its life in Texas. That is significant for potential buyers. Apart from a reputation for elegantly simple engineering, if there is one other thing a First Generation Broco is renowned for is its ability to develop significant rust problems. Climatic conditions combine with a history of storage in a dry barn to leave this example seemingly rust-free. The panels and bed are clean, and the floors and frame retain most of the factory undercoating with only the occasional spot of dry surface corrosion. I would sound a note of caution because if the buyer lives in a less favorable climate, addressing that surface corrosion would be a wise move before it can develop into something ugly. My only qualm surrounds the front inner fender on the passenger side. The photos of this area aren’t the greatest, but it looks like that spot may be showing some typical rust development. It isn’t the end of the world because replacement steel is easy to find and cheap. It could also prove to be nothing, but only an in-person inspection would clarify that point. The paint isn’t perfect, but its few flaws and marks are forgivable since this classic is a genuine survivor. Nobody has cut the fenders to accommodate larger wheels, with the Bronco retaining its factory wheels and hubcaps. The trim is excellent, and with spotless glass, this vehicle ticks the right boxes for prospective buyers.

This Ford’s interior trim may have fallen foul of the Texas sun and general wear-and-tear because the owner recently treated the interior to new seat foam and upholstery. This looks excellent, while I suspect that the floor mat may have appeared at the same time. A wrap protects the wheel, the painted surfaces look nice for their age, and there is no evidence of dash pad deterioration. The owner removed the factory radio and fitted a Kenwood radio/cassette player. This unit, along with the lights and gauges, works as it should. If the buyer is concerned about originality, locating the correct radio should not present a challenge.

Buyers in 1966 didn’t need to make many choices when it came to the mechanical configuration of their shiny new Bronco. A V8 became available in March of 1966, but this Ford houses a 170ci six-cylinder engine that produces 105hp and 158 ft/lbs of torque. Shifting duties fall to a three-speed manual transmission, and a dual-range Dana 20 transfer case helped this classic cope with harsh terrain. It may not have been a jet over the ¼-mile, but with 95% of its engine torque available below 2,000rpm, it could climb its way effortlessly into some pretty inaccessible locations. The seller has treated this Bronco to some TLC to ensure it is mechanically healthy for its next owner. The work includes a new master cylinder, new wheel cylinders, new water pump, new fuel pump, and four new tires. He performed a tune-up that included plugs, plug wires, condenser, cap, and rotor. The fluids are flushed, and he has replaced the filters. The only task left for the buyer to tackle is to fit the new exhaust that sits in the bed. The existing exhaust is original, and it has seen better days. The Bronco runs and drives nicely, and this YouTube video verifies that. It is ready to be driven and enjoyed by a lucky new owner.

During the 1966 model year, Ford produced 23,776 examples of the First Generation Bronco. Of those, only 6,930 were the Half Cab Pickup variant. Hard living and rust have claimed many vehicles, and with their growing popularity, original examples command a high premium in the classic market. I’m not surprised that the current bid falls short of the reserve because I believe that the action will have to get well beyond $40,000 for this to occur. It is conceivable that it will hit $50,000 before the hammer falls. There’s no evidence that the bubble will burst any time soon on the First Generation Bronco. If one is on your Wish List, you may have to act quickly to avoid missing out. This could be the one you’re looking for.


  1. mike

    Very well preserved Bronco.Hopefully next owner will keep her stock.

    Like 4
  2. Howie

    I always liked these half cabs, but not crazy over the 6cyl. Seller has other cars listed.

  3. Doug

    My grandpa bought one in 1971 . Had a 170 six cylinder and manual everything . 3 on the tree . It had a full bench with a panel behind the seat . He always thought maybe he should install a half top . He still used it for firewood anyway . He was always approached in the 80’s to either sell it or why not convert it to a V8 . Said that’s what some kid would and hung on to it until he passed away in the 90’s and then my Uncle got it and I never saw it again

  4. chrlsful

    up-dated, not preserved (plus ‘add-ons’ of later model) as it lives 1/2 hr east of me (I know the conditions here). No crime there.
    Needs R fender corner above tail light popped out ‘less its the shiny paint and some light trick on my eye & pass’s side frnt corner of hood painted. Survivors get the big buck end of above quotes. This isn’t that. Y say it is? To garner more $ from the unknowing~

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