Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Random Car Wednesday: 1970 Ford Bronco

For a civilian-ized military vehicle, the Jeep has become far more successful than anyone in 1944 could have predicted. As such, many manufacturers tried to cash in on the same idea: a small, off-road ready vehicle that could work on pavement, as well as everywhere else. The Land Rover Series I and Toyota FJ-40 Land Cruiser were the first to use the Jeep formula, and later vehicles such as the International Scout and Chevrolet Blazer were met with great success. Today's RCW, though, might have been the most successful of them all. 

The Ford Bronco debuted in 1966 as a compact off-roader. A 170 cubic inch straight-6 was available, along with a more powerful 289 cubic inch V8. Bodystyles included a full "wagon" version, a pickup-style half cab, and a convertible option. Other novelties, such as dual gas tanks and a fold-down windshield, guaranteed strong sales. So strong, in fact, that the original bodystyle lasted until 1977. There were a handful of tweaks, such as more powerful engines and an automatic transmission, but the ruggedly simple styling went unchanged until the larger fullsize Bronco debuted in 1978.

Nowadays, the Bronco is still popular, with a devoted fanbase and a massive amount of aftermarket support. Customization is common with classic Broncos, so it's very rare to ever see two that look the same. Lift kits, custom paint, and roll bars are all standard fare. Here in Austin there are a number of classic Broncos that I've seen about, but this one is the first I've really been able to photograph.

The lack of styling changes makes it difficult to nail down an exact year for this beauty, but I'm going to tentatively call it a 1970 model, as that was the first year for the higher-mounted side marker lights. This is the so-called "wagon" roof, making the Bronco a scaled-down SUV of sorts. The paint color doesn't appear to be original, but the blue-jean blue looks good with the white roof and grille. The wheels are also handsome aftermarket pieces, riding on what appears to be a mild lift. As far as Broncos go, this is a very handsome specimen.

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