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Original 302: 1970 Ford Bronco

Predicting what cars will become future classics is difficult. Some vehicles that seem no-brainers will fail to fire in the market, while success can come from unexpected quarters. Such is the case with the First Generation Bronco. Today, spotless examples can command extraordinary prices, but Ford struggled to sell the Bronco in respectable numbers in 1970. Our feature Bronco is a project car requiring its share of TLC. It is complete and unmolested, and the original V8 under the hood helps its cause. The seller finds himself with one Bronco project too many, so he has listed this one for sale here on eBay. Located in Norco, California, the bidding has raced past the reserve to sit at $6,011.

This Bronco is a classic that has led a colorful life. There’s evidence of grey and brown paint on various locations, but it appears that its panels originally wore a combination of Caramel Bronze Metallic and Wimbledon White. The paint is tired and baked from years of exposure to the elements, but addressing this is only one item on a pretty long list of tasks. If the vehicle has spent its life in California, that could be good news. It’s a First Generation Bronco, so the buyer will inevitably have rust to tackle. However, it isn’t as extensive as some we’ve seen at Barn Finds. The rear quarter panels look pretty crispy in spots, but the remaining exterior trouble spots like the door bottoms, tailgate, hood, and rockers pack a genuine surprise. They look surprisingly solid, and with replacement quarter panels readily available, whipping the exterior into shape might not break the bank. The front floors wear a heavy coating of surface corrosion, but it’s difficult to determine whether there is any penetrating rust. Welding in replacements would be wise if the steel feels soft. The rear floors look good, but there is evidence of previous repairs on both B-Pillars. The photos suggest that the front inner fenders have been spared the worst of the usual tin worm. If correct, this project shows plenty of promise.

If buyers in 1970 ordered their new Bronco with the optional 302ci V8, they received a three-speed manual transmission. That’s what we find with our feature vehicle. That little V8 produced 205hp and 300ft/lbs of torque. Coupled with a dual-range transfer case, the Ford could easily access some pretty harsh terrain. Potential buyers will be unsurprised to learn that this classic isn’t roadworthy, and it seems it hasn’t seen action for years. The seller recently coaxed the motor back to life, and it moves under its own power. There will be work required to return the Bronco to its rightful place on our roads, but it would appear that process will commence from a relatively healthy base.

The generally positive news continues when we examine this classic’s interior. The bucket seats wear non-original cloth upholstery, with no rips or tears. They are serviceable, but buyers seeking originality will probably replace them. There is no back seat, and the dash pad is beyond help. Refreshingly, there are no other aftermarket additions beyond the upholstery and a wheel wrap. The factory AM radio is intact, which is a genuine surprise. There are several paths that the buyer could follow returning the interior to its best. A trim kit in the correct materials and colors retails for under $2,000. From there, the sky is the limit. Some suppliers offer more contoured seat foam and matching upholstery to improve occupant comfort and lateral support. From a potential value perspective, returning the interior to a factory-fresh state would seem the intelligent choice.

In 1970, Ford found 18,450 buyers willing to hand over around $3,400 to park a new Bronco in their driveway. I’m sure that plenty of enthusiasts today wish they could find one for that money. Values have soared in recent years, with $50,000 for an original V8 vehicle pretty common. A perfect example could push that figure beyond $80,000. That puts the First Generation Bronco out of the reach of most enthusiasts but makes projects like this one look extremely attractive. If a First Generation Bronco rates highly on your Wish List and you’re willing to tackle a project, perhaps you need to monitor this auction.


  1. chrlsful

    best thing bout this one might B the top.
    I like it (as mine’s a ’70 too) for something I can look at to see how ‘sleeper’ my mods are. Here U C 2 tanks a radio’n ash tray and tire carrier. I hada add all those. “We make’em our own” so lots to do on this one, sheet metal the least…”X” sez there’s plenty where he is (NZ) wounder how many in OZ? Put the 4.1L in mine & would likea 250 2v iron head for it from Down Under~

    Got one? Just put the aol behind my ‘name’ & U get to my inbox

    Like 0
  2. Howie

    $7,700 now, this is a long ways away from a Mecum Moment.

    Like 1
  3. Elbert Hubbard

    Got to drive one of these Ford creations with my job in the late 60s – it was sportier than the step-side delivery van it shared my attention with. I am amazed to see that they have become desirable classic cars since they were another evolution of the Ford Falcon design and construction methods – ladder frames with different sheet metal bodies offering something for everyone. My interest was more in the mid-50s Porsche Speedster that another employee’s son would use to shuttle his mother to/from work -it was all original and had been purchased for a few hundred dollars.

    Like 0
  4. gaspumpchas

    Take a DA sander to it and see how the metal is. It will go for stupid money for sure. Kinda hard to tell what you are looking at in these pics. Good luck and happy motoring.

    Like 1

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