Rusty but Trusty? 1974 Ford Bronco

Scotty GilbertsonBy Scotty Gilbertson

It’s amazing what a few decades can do to a person, and to a vehicle. Not to mention what time can do to the price of vehicles. When I got my license and started buying vehicles in the late-70s, this 1974 Ford Bronco would have been in mint condition and it probably would have sold for less than what the seller is asking for this one: $4,700. Time has taken a toll on a lot of us, personally, and also on this very rusty Bronco. It’s on Craigslist in the Duluth, Minnesota area; not surprisingly where they use literally tons and tons of road salt every winter.


This one must have been off of the roads for awhile since it’s not wearing license plates. I don’t know if it should be on public roads in this condition. But, the seller says that they “drove it 35 miles today. 4×4 works great. Wipers work heater works. Lights work blinkers works.” When even the seller says to “expect a major project”, you know that it’ll need a lot of work! It’s hard to believe how hard time is on most things, especially metal things when road salt is involved. Yet, the seller says you just “get in hit the key and drive.” And, it also has brand new Goodyear tires and a new battery. Maybe it isn’t as dire as I’m making it out to be?

I don’t know if I’ve seen too many Broncos in this color, but if you look at the photos you’ll see that it’s been repainted at some point. This blue color fits in perfectly with the cold background, doesn’t it? We all know that Broncos have absolutely gone viral, so to speak, in the vehicle world, almost like the Porsche 911, Jaguar E-Type, Mercedes-Benz 190SL, etc. Maybe even a decade ago you would have been immediately been dragged to a padded cell if you were to suggest that a rusted-out Bronco like this one would be worth $4,700 someday; yet here it is. Hagerty lists a #4 “fair” condition Bronco as being $7,700! And to think, some people bought stocks instead of vehicles! A #1 “concours” Bronco is valued at $54,500! So, yes, a restoration on this one makes sense if a person did at least some of the work him/herself.

This odd, diagonal photo is a composite, just to try to keep the images in the same size/format, since the seller didn’t take any horizontal overall photos of the interior. Just some insider info in case you see one of these types of images on other posts, that’s why we do that. Back to the Bronco! You can see that you’ll need to hit up the aftermarket catalogs for thousands and thousands of dollars in replacement interior goods, right after you order thousands and thousands of body parts. A vehicle this rusty scares the living daylights out of me, but I know that a lot of you have restored similarly rusty vehicles to like-new condition. Is this one savable?

This is Ford’s 302 V8 with around 200 hp and this one has the super rare factory auxiliary gas tank! Just kidding, of course.. I’m not sure how the seller drives this one 35 miles on that small gas tank, the MPG wasn’t good when it was new. Or, maybe it isn’t a fuel-related tank? If it is, it looks pretty scary to me to have an open gas tank under the hood of a 43-year old vehicle. My wife thinks that I have a of rules, the seller has a few of his own! “Cash only. Firm price No tire kickers. No shipping NO EMAILS….I will not respond No text I will not respond. CALLS ONLY.”  NO SOUP FOR YOU! What are your thoughts on this Bronco? Can it be saved or would it be better to keep it as a farm snowplow truck or something like that at this point?

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  1. irocrob

    I would only drive it 35 miles if a tow truck was behind me. Why would someone buy junk like this!

  2. Todd

    I live in Minnesota and can tell you for a fact that if that bronco has been on the roads its whole life in that area you are buying nothing but a Vin number. To restore that truck to a #2 condition you would be replacing almost every part.

    I think the price is high for either for a pro to use the Vin to make a collector piece or for a hobbiest to make a solid project out of her. Shame that one would be fun for a father daughter team.

    • Jerry HW Brentnell

      find your local scrap metal press and put this rust bucket out of its misery! where the heck do you start?

  3. Don

    The body is wasted .A new dynacorn body is about 14500 with hard top 12850 with out top.

  4. Tim M

    Love these old Broncos. Such a simple vehicle to work on. Sheet metal and parts are readily available for these gems.

    • Mel

      Love the Bronco not the 2. It’s my ultimate dream project, as a female wanting to learn machanics, it’s perfect.

  5. Todd Zuercher

    It will get rebuilt in today’s market but up until a few years ago we always parted out trucks like this.

  6. JW

    I’ve owned 2 a 68 rusty one I beat the daylights out of 4 wheeling and a restored 73 with a 351 windsor that was my road warrior. I would kill myself before paying this much for this piece of rust, I don’t care how well it starts.

  7. John H from CT

    The reason seller doesn’t want tire kickers is that one firm kick will cause the whole thing to disintegrate! Too far gone.

  8. RR

    Wonder if gas cap is Rusty?

  9. tasker

    RUST? that is pristine compared to what I have had in the past up here in new England!

    • half cab

      That’s a Big Foot Bronco.

  10. newfieldscarnut

    yabba dabba dooo

  11. John M.

    The seller is nuts if he/she thinks that someone will pay $4700 for that.

  12. Larry

    I bet it will become a VIN donor. Way too far gone to resurrect. I’m from salty Wisconsin and I know a total rust bucket when I see one. I think the Hagerty rating scale only goes to #4, but if it went lower, I’d rate this about a 7. This Bronco is why you should keep up on your tetanus shots.

  13. Fred Hicks

    I once traded 5$ and two joints for a 52 Olds . It had a brand new 6 volt battery that I need for my 39 LaSalle hearse. I then sold the olds for 60$.It ran and drove . Those were the days ))

  14. Barzini

    Might be a good truck for plowing a long driveway.

  15. cyclemikey

    I knew I’d seen this truck before. If you look up the word “unrepairable” in the dictionary, there’s a picture of this.

  16. RJ

    Let it finish dissolving in pieces. This is a classic example of why one should buy the best project vehicle available and this is not that vehicle.

  17. Howard A Member

    I certainly get a chuckle from those of you that think this is junk. I can tell right away, which of you are from non-salting states. I’ll admit, is rather daunting to see vehicles like this, but this is the norm. The farm I live at ( for now) has a Dodge 4×4 pickup, that has the same body style. Pray for me, we still use it.
    I suppose, if one grows up with it, it’s not so obscene. It literally does remove entire body panels. Something some can’t comprehend. This is a great plow truck, and it has a lot going for it, in that regard. Clearly, it’s too far gone to restore, and price is subjective. Asking $4,500, might take a grand, you know how it is. I guess that’s what makes clean ones so expensive, this is what we grew up with.

    • Todd Zuercher

      He’s a flipper that got it a few weeks ago (was advertised at $2700) so unfortunately I’m guessing he won’t be talked down to a grand :(.

  18. Steve

    I wouldn’t mind having all the running gear to build my 65 Falcon, the body is too far gone.


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