Introduction to Project Trail Bronco

Feb. 02, 2011 By Jaime Hernandez
There’s a new 4x4 in the stable—Project Trail Bronco.

A new year brings a new project to  We’ve always been fans of the early Bronco (1966–1977) and its simple design. We finally mustered up the courage to take one by the reigns and plan on transforming it into one ass-kicking trail rig.

The Ford Bronco was introduced in 1966 to compete with the Jeep CJ5 and International Scout. It was conceptualized and brought to life by Ford Motor Company’s Donald N. Frey and Lee Iacocca—the same guys that brought us the Ford Mustang. 

The 4x4 Bronco was designed for the youthful man that enjoyed the outdoors and adventure.  Hey, that’s us! 

During its first year, the Ford Bronco sold well with a sticker price of $2,194.  Although it was quickly embraced by those looking for a capable 4x4 vehicle, it never could top the Jeep CJ5 in sales.

The final production of the Bronco was in 1996. Ford had replaced it with the Explorer and Expedition four-door models to better compete in the SUV market.

Today the early Bronco isn’t really found driving around town or at your local supermarket, but rather in a collector’s garage or sitting lame in somebody’s backyard.  They are still highly coveted within the off-road enthusiast group as one of the great 4x4s. Unfortunately, very few are lucky enough to actually make it out on the trail.

We rescued one and plan on building it to live the off-road dream.

There has always been a love affair between the Ford Bronco and the off-road enthusiast. We can’t help but smile anytime we see one. Most recently we ran into a few at the NORRA off-road race where some early Broncos were brought out to take on 1000 miles of Baja.

Read more on the NORRA Mexican 1000 (Photo by Art Eugenio).

Our project is fueled by the same love and passion of keeping the old alive, so we start a new adventure with a 1970 Ford Bronco Hard Top, equipped with a 302 V8, four-speed transmission and shift “on the fly” Dana transfercase. 

Some of the other features that make this an attractive platform to work with are its short wheelbase and overall size. The early Ford Bronco boasts a length of 98 inches with a track width of 68.5 inches—perfect for tight trails.

Project Trail Bronco coming to its new home.

We will be taking this little iron horse and really working to improve both its on- and off-road manners.

For simplicity of things, we will dub this build “Project Trail Bronco” since we plan on doing plenty of trails with it.
  The factory coil spring and radius arm suspension on the early Bronco allows for tight turning and plenty of long-travel suspension options. 

For starters, here are some of the upgrades planned to get this Bronco back on its feet:
• Fuel Injection – Increased HP and Fuel Economy
• Front & Rear Disk Brakes - Safety
• Full length Roll Cage - Safety
• Off-Road Seats – Safety & Comfort
• Long Travel Suspension - Performance
• Body Armor – Performance
• Off-Road Wheels & Tires – Performance

The 302 Ford V8 in our Ford Bronco will soon become fuel injected to provide greater fuel efficiency and reliability at higher elevations and while climbing obstacles.

Keep posted and check back frequently as we bring you into our off-road stable for Project Trail Bronco.

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