Original 4X4: 1974 Ford Bronco

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Here’s something you don’t see very often. A 46-year-old 4X4 that hasn’t been beat to pieces. Ford brought out the Bronco in the mid-1960s and they were an early start at creating the SUV market. This first-generation Bronco looks to have survived the years without too much wear and tear. The ’74 model resides in Parsons, Kansas and is available here on eBay where bidding has reached $30,000.

The Ford Bronco is another of the vehicles created under the watchful eye of Lee Iacocca. It was intended to compete with the Jeep CJ-5 and IH Scout as a civilian off-roader, i.e. “sports utility” in a two-door pickup format. It sold well early on, but the market started to get crowded and demand began leaning toward SUVs with better on-road capability, so demand for the Bronco declined. The first-generation of the Bronco (1966-77) was built on a chassis shared with no other Ford product. To simplify production and save costs, all Broncos were built with four-wheel drive, Dana transfer case and locking hubs. Prior to 1973, the only way you could get a Bronco was with a manual transmission. In response to demand, the three-speed automatic transmission was added as an option. Ironically, right after the OPEC oil embargo, 1974 was the year the first-gen Bronco had its best sales performance at nearly 26,000 units.

The seller’s ’74 edition is one of the models ordered with an automatic tranny and was previously owned by a park ranger. Five decades later, the “truck” has under 87,000 reported miles on it and appears to be original, right down to the metallic bronze/cream paint combination (we’re told it has never been repainted; however, it doesn’t quite match on the driver’s side). The Bronco is mostly rust-free, but there is a small spot behind the left rocker panel that you’d want to attend to. There are some minor hail dimples in the hood that likely add to the charm of the old vehicle. The left front marker light is cracked.

The park ranger also opted for the 302 cubic inch V-8, which is said to run and drive very well. It came with the Pony Sport Package, so it has a bit nicer trim level than the standard Bronco would. We’re guessing the homemade seat covers are there to protect the upholstery, not hide some problems. It also has dual fuel tanks, so some distance driving was also in mind. The tires have plenty of meat left on them and the brake lines are new.

Hagerty says the average resale value of one of these vehicles is $30,000, so perhaps the bidding has about topped out. This one is probably as nice as any of these early SUVs that you would find. The only thing that might concern me is that this era of American auto production had so many bolt-on emissions controls that they performed poorly right from the factory. I hope this Bronco is the exception.



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  1. Keith

    Looks like the front clip has been painted, different color shade.

    Like 5
    • Phlathead Phil 🚗🇺🇸

      First thing I saw. Hood indication of a frontal collision. That can warp a frame.

      Like 1
      • Phlathead Phil.

        Has, not hood. (Auto correct) Also, if you look close you can see the front bumper is not straight with the body tin. Indicates a possible frame issue.

        Definitely not a reject.

        Like 1
  2. Fred W

    The seller should remove the seat covers (which would take about a minute) and include photos of what’s underneath. If it looks like it should, would increase the value substantially.

    Like 2
  3. 1-MAC

    With no catalytic converter, all emission controls are easily removed or bypassed. As a pre 75 there is no emission test for it anyway. Put dual exhaust on it and you are good to go.

    Like 1
    • Todd Zuercher

      Depends where you live. Here in 2 counties in AZ, you’d still have to emissions test this beauty.

      Like 2
  4. Gate1967

    Definitely a nice old bronco. Could be a new new fender, tough to match that old paint. New headlight trim and chrome bumpers. I’m pretty sure the bumper is on upside down. Probably would be nice to have the original steering wheel as well. This one won’t disappoint.

    Like 1
  5. Todd Zuercher

    Yeah, the front bumper is on upside down. And there’s no such thing as a ‘Pony Sport’ package. It was simply the Sport package.

    Like 2
  6. Johnny

    As you look down the center of the hood. The vent on passenger side is lower. The picyure under the hood is not a very good one. As you can see a metal thing is NOT bolted down. I think I would have to take a good look at the frame really good before I would bid on it. The seat are covered for a reason and I think its to hide something bad–wore out seat, No pictures of the under neither to see any bushing or rust issues. I was taken buy one bronco that was PRETTY-then in the spring I crawled up under it and found out everything was wore out. Whoever buuys it. I wish them good luck and hope they check it out real good. I think its a pig in the poke.

    Like 0
    • KKW

      The “metal thing” laying under the hood is the battery hold down, apparently someone forgot to reinstall it. People don’t necessarily install seat covers to hide something, sometimes this is done to protect the seats lol. But yes, after 46 years, the vinyl might very well be cracked, in which case, the seat covers could be hiding something lol. This Bronco looks to be quite exceptional, I highly doubt there’s any serious rust issues or problem with the frame. So you think it’s a pig in a poke? Everything sold on the internet is a pig in a poke!!!! You guys kill me. Lol.

      Like 0

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