Runs & Drives: 1972 Ford Bronco Project

“Ladies and gentlemen, please ensure that your seatbelts are firmly fastened and that your seat is in the upright position because the ride is about to get bumpy!” That pretty much sums up this 1972 Ford Bronco. It runs and drives, but its significant rust problems mean it will take a brave and dedicated individual to return it to its former glory. There’s a lot to consider with this classic, so we need to take a more detailed look. If you like what you see by the time its story has been told, you will find the Bronco located in Sarasota, Florida, and listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN of $13,750, and fifty-four people are watching the listing.

Starting on a positive note, this Hot Ginger Bronco appears to be essentially complete. Somebody has installed an aftermarket bullbar, but the rear bumper and all of the trim are present. These items look like they would restore okay, while the glass appears to be in an acceptable state. The frame wears a heavy coating of surface corrosion, but it looks like it could be structurally sound. Okay, now we need to draw a very deep breath as we plunge headlong into this classic’s rust problems. It would probably be quicker to list the panels that haven’t been affected because there is an awful lot.  If we start with the items that will require replacement, it will include the floors, front inner fenders, inner and outer rockers, rear quarter panels, and the passenger door jamb where it meets the quarter panel. The owner believes that the next owner could patch the rust in the hood, lower front fenders, and doors. When you add the windshield frame, tailgate, and top to the list of potentially repairable items, that is a pretty long list. It seems that the buyer will need to be handy with their grinder and welder if they aren’t prepared to hand the whole thing to a professional. The saving grace is that replacement panels are readily available and highly affordable. For example, lower quarter panels sell for about $95, while a complete set of floors can be found for under $1,000. The door jamb section adds $155 to the total, and a full set of inner and outer rockers adds a further $200. It will cost a few dollars when you start tallying it up, but when you consider the vehicle’s potential value once complete, it could be worth the expense.

If you thought that we’d finished, I’m afraid that you’re wrong. As is the case with the exterior, this Bronco’s interior appears to be complete. However, it also shares the exterior’s need for a complete restoration. The dash pad looks like it might be salvageable, but the rest of the interior looks pretty sad. If the buyer follows the expected path, they will tackle this restoration as a frame-off undertaking. With the vehicle dismantled, they could return the interior painted surfaces like the dash to their original state before fitting a new carpet set, upholstery, carpet, and a headliner. I’ve previously discussed the benefits of trim kits, and that would seem to be the most logical and cost-effective solution in this case. It will add a further $2,000 to the tally, but it would also return it to a factory-fresh state.

If this Bronco has a strong point, it rests under the hood. The engine bay is occupied by the original 170ci six-cylinder motor that produced 82hp and 129 ft/lbs of torque in its prime. The power finds its way to the road via a three-speed manual transmission. The engine bay shows years of accumulated dirt and grime, but if the buyer performs a frame-off restoration, that will provide the perfect opportunity to pull the motor and detail it to a high standard. The owner says that the Bronco runs and drives around a yard or driveway and that the brakes function. It isn’t clear whether it is actually roadworthy, but I suspect that the buyer will want to address the vehicle’s rust issues before venturing onto the open road. At least it represents one aspect of this Ford that shines in a positive light.

There’s no way of sugar-coating it because the restoration of this 1972 Bronco will represent a significant undertaking for its next owner. They will face a bill of several thousand dollars for replacement steel, while the interior will consume a similar figure. When you add that to the BIN price, that sees the buyer spending around $18,000 before anyone lays their hands on the tools. Fully restored to a high standard, it should be capable of commanding a value north of $50,000 any day of the week. If the buyer achieves perfection, the figure could climb even higher. That leaves room to move on the restoration, particularly if the buyer can undertake at least the disassembly and reassembly work themselves. This restoration will be a monster, but is it one that you would be willing to tackle?


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  1. Mike W_H_ Mike W_H_ Member

    Swamp Thing. You just know the owner has a mullet. And a mobile speed lab. Because Florida.

    Like 2
  2. Stevieg Member

    I believe you can buy a new body for this, might even be Dynacorn (not sure on that). It would cost around $20,000 if memory serves me right. That would be the way to go with this one.

  3. Steve Clinton

    “The ride is about to get bumpy!” when the rusted-out body parts fall off.

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