Original 302: 1970 Ford Bronco

Even though they weren’t the sales success that Ford had hoped for, it seems that there are plenty of First Generation Broncos emerging from barns and sheds as prime candidates for restoration. This 1970 model is a prime example of that genre, with the owner describing it as a great starting point for a project build. At the time of writing, it could also be one of the most affordable Broncos that you will find in today’s market. It is located in Hays, Kansas, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $7,200, but it’s no surprise that this figure remains short of the reserve.

The Bronco wears its original shade of Yucatan Gold, and its tired paint would seem to be the least of its problems. Beginning with some positives, this is one of those rarer examples where nobody has cut the wheel arches to accommodate larger wheels and tires. It also appears that most of the trim is present, as are the bumpers. Some pieces will benefit from restoration, but at least they’re there. From there, we delve into the inevitable world of rust. We’ve seen some real horror stories in recent times here at Barn Finds, but this one seems better than most. The frame wears a consistent coating of surface corrosion, but it still seems structurally sound. The floors are a different story, but it isn’t clear whether the buyer will need to replace these entirely. The problems may be confined to the front sections. If this is the case, a complete replacement for the front will lighten someone’s wallet to the tune of $670. The rockers also require attention, so we can add a further $200 to the tally. Rounding it out is the usual rust in the front inner fenders, so there goes another $240 to address both sides. There may be other areas demanding attention, but that will do for a start. The rear window is broken, but the owner includes a replacement. The remaining glass seems okay, so that’s one positive for buyers to consider.

Lifting the hood of this Bronco reveals a 302ci V8 that would have produced 205hp when the vehicle was new. That power found its way to the road via a three-speed manual transmission and a Dana 20 transfer case. This may not be a muscle car, but a ¼ mile ET of a neat 17 seconds indicates that it could keep up with the traffic when required. That 302 doesn’t currently run and hasn’t done so for decades. The owner indicates that it turns freely, which means that coaxing it back to life might not be a difficult undertaking. He does not know the condition of the rest of the drivetrain, so it sounds like the buyer will need to break out their best Sherlock Holmes skills to perform some detective work on this front.

Describing the state of the interior is pretty simple. She’s trashed, and a complete restoration is in order. The interior appears complete and original, apart from a radio/cassette player occupying the spot where the original radio would’ve been. However, the dash hasn’t been cut to accommodate this, so slotting in the correct unit would be easy. Once the buyer has dismantled the interior, the painted surfaces could be restored. Then begins the task of a retrim, and in this case, it should cost around $1,600. There is no back seat, so the buyer will need to decide whether they want to go hunting for one to make this Bronco a genuine family off-roader.

Sales figures for the 1970 model year were not as bad as for others, but I’m sure that Ford found the total of 18,450 Broncos to be disappointing. For some reason, buyers didn’t find these vehicles particularly attractive. However, they have done an about-face in recent years, and pristine examples can command mindblowing prices. Once meticulously restored, this Bronco should be able to fetch more than $50,000 in the current market any day of the week. It is not as bad as some examples that we’ve seen in recent times, making it worthy of a closer look.


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  1. Connecticut Mark

    205hp seems pretty good , I thought it was much lower

    Like 1
  2. John

    Well, La de frickin da! Another crappy old Bronco that costs way too much. Hope they get 1 million dollars for it.

    Like 3
    • Frank

      Why would anyone get excited over this bucket. Look around plenty of better built 4wheel any things than Bronco Bucket! A older Landi is better.

  3. ClassicCarFan

    agree with Connecticut Mark, that 205 bhp seems like a high rating for a “truck spec” 302/5.0. I have the “5.0” in my 1993 F150 and that is rated at just 185 bhp I believe, even with EFI.

    This seems like a lot of money for a project car but as the author says, really good survivor or restored examples are selling for big numbers now is I would not be surprised if this sells as advertised. I would guess these are not the most expensive cars to restore, not much to them and in my experience most Ford parts are generally available and inexpensive.

    I’ve never owned one of these but can certainly see the appeal. I like the more spartan, no-frills style. It’s much more what a utilitarian 4×4 really should be in my mind.

  4. Don

    Gross power net power

  5. chrlsful

    since U never owned 1 U must B very careful. These R rust buckets (it hides EVERYWHERE) and this 1 has done a good job of that.
    Sorry ta say but its probably a ‘total restore’. Sure, I drove 3 or 4 like this (it took all of them to make my 1 back in the 80s) around, but that “was on the edge” (rural towns, lill oversight/inspection, etc).
    Look closely, in-person, know the M/M (bad areas, prices, work-a-rounds) as they have gone cooko in price. If wanting a keeper everything (like stang) is available but get out the wallet…

  6. Troy

    I think it would just be fun, this body style and the 1992-96 are my favorite for the Bronco but at $9K+ st the time I am commenting someone else can enjoy it

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