Live Auctions

Stalled in 1990: 1971 Ford Bronco

We see our share of stalled projects at Barn Finds, with some showing greater promise than others. This 1971 Ford Bronco looks like it could be a beauty. A previous elderly owner commenced the work in the 1990s, but it didn’t proceed far before grinding to a halt. It is attractive because it is complete and original and is one of the most solid examples you will see in the current market. It appears the current owner isn’t in a position to tackle it, so they have listed it for sale here on Craigslist. The Bronco is located in Bakersfield, California, and can be yours for $26,500. I must thank Barn Finder T.J. for spotting this promising project for us.

Ford sold 19,784 Broncos during 1971, and as we have seen in previous articles, many have fallen victim to crippling rust problems. However, this one is different. While its Blue paint looks tired and has a few panel problems for the buyer to tackle, the seller claims that there is no penetrating rust. If the new owner spots any surface corrosion, addressing it promptly would be wise before it deteriorates further. Someone cut the rear wheel arches to accommodate larger wheels, but replacement lower quarter panels are available for about $115 each, making reversing the change easy and affordable. The seller includes the original wheels in the sale, allowing the buyer to return the exterior to its factory appearance. There are a few dings and dents, but once again, repairing them should not be difficult. The glass is excellent, and the same appears true of most of the trim. Overall, whipping the panels and paint into shape should be a straightforward and rewarding exercise.

The baked exterior appearance makes the interior condition of this Bronco no surprise. It is complete, although the rear seat is removed. How the buyer approaches this aspect of the build will depend on whether they plan a faithful restoration. Interior trim kits are available in the correct colors and materials and retail for approximately $2,000. These kits provide everything to return the Bronco to a factory-fresh state, although they don’t include a wheel. A complete reproduction wheel with a horn ring adds a further $325 to the bill but would provide the perfect finishing touch. However, the buyer could elect to add custom touches, and many suppliers offer upgraded upholstery and trim to suit individual tastes. They will inevitably increase the associated costs and may also negatively impact the potential value once the buyer completes their work.

This Bronco rolled off the production line equipped with the optional 302ci V8 that produced 205hp. Bolted to the V8 was a three-speed manual transmission that sent the power to the road via a dual-range transfer case. While outright performance wasn’t the company’s aim, this classic would have covered the ¼ mile in a respectable 17.1 seconds before running out of breath at 99mph. That meant it was also comfortable cruising on the open road at regular freeway speeds. The previous owner removed most of the drivetrain when they commenced their restoration, but the seller indicates that everything is present for reassembly. It will require inspection and some potential restoration work, but once everything is bolted back in place, this classic’s desirability would increase due to its numbers-matching status. That may prove enough for the new owner to approach this build as a faithful restoration.

If you check the current market, there’s no doubt that you will find plenty of cheaper Bronco projects than our feature vehicle. However, potential buyers need to consider the big picture before dismissing it. The price is hardly cheap, but it is not a vehicle requiring thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of rust repairs as a starting point. It seems that some new quarter panels and basic panel massaging would whip the body into shape. The drivetrain is out but complete, allowing its next owner to return it to a numbers-matching vehicle. Most of the required work could be tackled in a home workshop, minimizing labor costs in this build. When you consider this classic’s potential value, that makes it a pretty tempting proposition.


  1. Harvey Member

    For $26,000 what a person could drive away with is almost endless,this is a big idea!After handing over your money you need to drag this on the trailer,tow it home and start spending and fixing:-)

    Like 9
    • Gary

      These things are overpriced imo. You could buy some really nice vehicles for that kind of money. I never saw the infatuation in these or Jeeps. I’ve driven CJ’s and Bronco’s and they aren’t all that good.

      Like 11
  2. Todd Zuercher

    Need some flares on the rear to fix those ugly cutouts as a first step.

    Like 4
  3. Brono Billy

    Another pipe dream project price. Labor will be off the charts and if your not a do it yourself person buying a 50-60 restored is cheaper.

    My sweat equity here is not worth it but again i am older and wiser too

    Good luck with sale !

    Like 1
  4. gaspumpchas

    26 large, hacked wheelwells, and its all apart? He couldnt take a few mins and air up the tires?? Someone with more money than brains will buy it. Good luck.

    Like 11
  5. Big C

    Grandpa’s grandson probably told him he’d sell it for him on the “interweb.” He’ll tell gramps he got “26” for it. And pocket the other $23,400.

    Like 5
  6. George Birth

    Here is a prime example of $50.00 pipe dream special. This one is way over priced!!! There are too many nicely detailed cars available for that amount of money to pay that for a car that needs to be remanufactured. By the time this one is done it could not be resold for enough to repay the cost. Pass on this one.

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