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Rust-Free Survivor: 1979 Ford Bronco Free Wheelin’

There have been a few examples of the Ford Bronco Free Wheelin’ that have surfaced lately here at Barn Finds, and this one looks like it could be a beauty for anyone searching for a relatively straightforward restoration project. Its needs are purely cosmetic, which could make it a great project to keep you occupied this winter. All you need to be is handy with a spray gun, and the Bronco could be returned to its former glory. Located in Pawleys Island, South Carolina, you will find the Bronco listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding currently sits at $13,100, but the reserve isn’t met.

Although it was available in several base colors, the majority of Free Wheelin’ Broncos wore Black paint. The Free Wheelin’ Pack was purely a cosmetic addition, but the graphics definitely showed at their best against a darker color. The paint on this Bronco is looking pretty tired now, and a repaint is in order. However, the buyer will not be facing much more than that on the exterior because the vehicle only has some minor bubbling in the metal above the rear wheel arches. That is the only rust in the Ford, and fixing it should not pose a huge challenge. It has spent most of its life in New Mexico, and that’s never a bad thing when it comes to the question of rust. The graphics are also showing marked deterioration and will need to be replaced if the original look is to be maintained. Kits are available, but the quality can vary. A good one will set you back about $700, but it will have all of the original’s correct characteristics. This will include being reflective, which makes these Broncos look striking under lights. The trim and chrome generally look good, as does the glass. A Sky Jacker lift kit and bigger wheels fitted with 38″ Goodyear tires add a sense of purpose to the vehicle. The only note of caution that I will sound in this case is that those larger tires will impact the accuracy of the speedometer. This is something worth keeping in mind because the last thing that any owner wants is to have the long arm of the law intervene unexpectedly on any trip because the driver is unaware of the speedometer variation.

While the Bronco’s exterior shows all of the hallmarks of life in New Mexico, the interior has survived well. The upholstery on the front and rear seats look great, while I can’t spot any significant issues with the carpet. There is a cover over the dash, but I can see some pretty substantial cracks in the pad. The rest of the dash seems to be in good order, as is the remaining interior trim. Aftermarket additions include a CB radio and a Kenwood CD player with a couple of subwoofers. Factory features include air conditioning, along with an operational power rear window.

There are no engine photos, but we know that the Bronco is fitted with the larger of the two available engines from that model year. This is the 402ci V8 that produces 156hp. This is backed by a 3-speed automatic transmission and a dual-range transfer case with 4-wheel-drive capabilities. Power steering and power brakes make life easier both on and off-road. The low horsepower figure for the V8 is symptomatic of the era, but a torque figure of 277 ft/lbs is respectable. Combine these mechanical attributes with the lift kit and bigger tires, and this Bronco should be able to go just about anywhere. Anyone for a trip to the top of Mount Everest? The owner states that the vehicle is in good mechanical health. He says that the V8 feels strong, the transmission shifts smoothly and that there are no fluid leaks.

The Bronco Free Wheelin’ is a vehicle that is definitely a product of the 1970s. However, I don’t see that as a bad thing. It still looks as striking today as it did when it was new, and potential buyers are everywhere. The graphics treatment is an interesting feature. It looks quite striking in the light of the day, but it is at its very best at night under lights. That means that it is a classic that will grab as much attention at night as it does during the day. Not many vehicles manage to achieve that feat. Today, good examples can easily sell for $30,000, although figures of $40,000 are not out of the question. This one needs a little bit of work, but it does seem to be purely cosmetic. Is this one that you would take on?


  1. Avatar photo Steve R

    This is a bit too rough and too modified to accurately be called a survivor. It would be great to thrash off-road and its price will reflect that. For a better example of a “survivor” Bronco, look no further than the white and green one featured on this site a few days ago which sold for $31,000+.

    Steve R

    Like 4
  2. Avatar photo Troy s

    Looks just fine for a four wheeler as it sits(stands?), if it’s ever to see offroad from the next owner.
    Sure has big tires and I’m hoping the 400 has a bit more squeeze, looks like it in the ad. I bet those tires roar down the highway!

    Like 0
  3. Avatar photo chrlsful

    nice view inside after seein that out.
    400M’s the largest production “square motor” produced. Good 4 st,
    Glad my Bronk hasa i6 (70% off rd / 30% on).
    Looks like fun~

    Like 0

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