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Wilson's Auto Restoration Blog

9 Things You May Not Know About First Generation Ford Broncos

The all new Ford Bronco is set to hit the market in just a few years and enthusiasts can’t wait to catch a glimpse of it or maybe even put one in their garage.

Despite all the hype on the sixth generation Ford Bronco, it’s the first generation Broncos (1966-1977) that still steal the show.  They are by far the most coveted and collectable.  After all they are the first and they laid the ground work for the next 5 generations.

Here are nine things you may or may not have known about the first generation Ford Bronco.

1. Most Collectable Classic

We wrote an article last August about the Ford Bronco topping the list of most collectable car or truck according to the Hagerty Vehicle Rating (HVR).  In August the Ford Bronco was scoring a 95 out of 100 and still in December the first generation Ford Bronco is holding on strong with a 93 HVR rating.

Looking at the price increase over the past five years is staggering!  According to Hagerty, the value of a concours condition first-gen Bronco double in 5 years from $27,500 to over $55,000!  Even ones that were in “Good” (#3) condition went from an average of $11,000 to well over $20K.

2. New King of the Hill

The Ford Bronco was originally introduced to directly compete against the Jeep CJ-5 and the International Scout.  It was Ford’s first compact SUV and it had some features that set it above the rest.  First, it had coil spring front suspension which provided excellent off-road performance and it also had a V8 engine while the competition was offering six cylinders.

Ford product manager Donald N. Frey, who also created the Ford Mustang, was the mastermind behind the Ford Bronco.  It was brought to life with the help of Lee Iacocca.  The Bronco had a frame, suspension, and body that were not shared with any other vehicle, making it more original than the Ford Mustang, in many respects, which was based on the Ford Falcon.  The first-gen Bronco was offered as a wagon, pickup, and a roadster. The roadster was discontinued in 1968 and the sport package replace it.

3. Sweet Deal

When first released, the base price was only $2,194, but it had a long list of add-on options.  You could have ordered front bucket seats, a rear bench seat, a tachometer, and a CB radio.  Other more functional add-on items included a tow bar, an auxiliary gas tank, a power take-off, a snowplow, a winch, and even a posthole digger.

There were also tons of aftermarket parts and accessories that quickly followed.  You could get a camper, overdrive units, and the usual array of wheels, tires, chassis, and engine parts for increased performance.

4. Engine Upgrade

We did mention that the Ford Bronco came with a V8, but it was not always the case.  The very first ones were fitted with an upgraded inline six cylinder.  It wasn’t until mid-way through the first model year that they upped the motor to eight.

5. Two Doors, One Skin

To keep costs down, Ford designed the skin for the Bronco doors to be identical except for mounting holes.  They did not become left and right doors until the holes were punched and the proper door skins were attached.

6. No Doors, No Problem

During the first two years of production, 1966 & 1967, the Ford Bronco was available as a Roadster model.  There was no roof and no doors.  Instead there were metal inserts covering the door mounts which made it look a lot more similar to the open air CJ-5 design.

7. Bronco #1

We discovered a cool fact about Broncos in an article from Gas Monkey Garage.  According to the story, a gentleman in Texas purchased a Ford Bronco pickup that belonged to Christmas Mountains Land & Cattle Co.  This ranch just happened to be owned by none other than Carroll Shelby!

Upon inspection of the vehicle’s VIN number, it was quickly discovered that it came from Ford’s pre-production plant in Allen Park, MI, in 1966, which could only mean it was a prototype vehicle and likely the very first Bronco ever created.

8. Ten Years to Shut the Door

A quick fun fact is that it wasn’t until the 1977 model that Ford put a door over the gas cap.  Until then it was always visible.  It’s a quick way to spot a 1977 Bronco as it was the only year with a door.

9. Build a New Bronco

Looking for the perfect Bronco, but can’t find one or can’t afford it?  No worries…  You can now build a bronco to your specification using reproduction parts.  We aren’t just talking basic parts like a fender or hood, but the entire thing.  Every part you could need from bumper to bumper is available, even the frame.

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