Thinking About Restoring A Ford Bronco, You Better Hurry
It isn’t surprising that a vehicle that was originally developed as a workhorse, the majority of first-generation Broncos were put out to pasture long ago. Very few still remain in original condition and most of the survivors come with performance and/or vocational modifications. It’s a phenomenon that parallels with vintage muscle cars, which were commonly modified soon after purchase. Just like the muscle cars, the highest values for vintage Broncos will be going to those in original condition.
Smart buyers that are seeking a to own a classic Bronco to do some serious off-road driving should focus their energy primarily on those that have already had modifications. These are typically less expensive than the stock-condition vehicles in similar condition and, depending on the upgrades, a modified Bronco will probably save considerable money because much of the work has already been completed.
Many Broncos that would otherwise be stock are often found to have upsized off-road tires and it is very common for them to have had the rear fender cut away to be fitted with fender flares. Without question “un-cut” Broncos are more desirable today because of their relative scarcity. A Bronco that has been flared will be cheaper to buy, but you won’t get as much on the resale, either.
The biggest problem that project and driver-condition Bronco buyers will face is rust. Restoring one of these can be problematic if the buyer doesn’t thoroughly examine the inner and outer body panels. The problem exists even in historically dry climates where early Broncos tended to rust with a vengeance. Repairs to these can be time-consuming and expensive. Even minimal rust showing up on the outside may be hiding serious problems hidden underneath. The Bronco’s steel grills were thin and are notorious for having dings and dents, as well as holes cut to accommodate different attachments or power take-off accessories. Used grills are tough to find in salvageable condition, so finding a vehicle with a good grill should be a priority. The same thing can be said for the tailgate.
Mechanically, a vintage Bronco is pretty easy to work with. They use common Ford powertrain parts and the axles are pretty standard as well. There were so few accessories offered on these vehicles that you don’t need to worry much about thing such as locating power window motors, etc. The Bronco simply didn’t come with such luxuries.
Prices are climbing every day even for a rusty vehicle that needs serious restoration. This is especially true of any first-generation Bronco with uncut sheet metal. Project vehicles that are roadworthy or not can go for up to $10,000 or more, while drivable Broncos with stock fenders are going for more than $20,000. Restored, show-condition trucks are commanding more than $40,000. A good-driving, slightly modified Bronco that has fender flares and 33-inch-tall tires, along with a few other mods and even some minor rust spots, can still bring about $27,500.
Obviously, the prices cited here should be viewed as only a guide. The market is evolving on a daily basis but one thing is without debate: Prices for vintage Broncos are on their way up, not down.