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1975 Ford Bronco - Jam- Mountain

Posted in Features on June 1, 2001
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The Allman Brothers wrote a song that was so good that they never gave it any lyrics. It had the guitar riffs, the bass lines, and a whole lot of drums, but none of the boys ever let a word slip out. That happens sometimes. Something is so good from the get-go that it doesn't need any hoopla to keep it on its feet. It sings a song in its own right, you might say, and stands alone as no other can. For a long time, we thought this ideology only applied to music. But that was only until Nate Williams of Logan, Utah, pulled up in his '75 Ford Bronco, and we started tapping our foot

The paint got us first. Man, is that thing ever orange. The bright, bright orange settled in on us like the first hit of the pick coming across the strings. "I just wanted it to look good," Nate said. To do so, he sent the Bronco out to Wolford Collision in Logan. Nate didn't say what his '75 looked like before getting layered, but he did disclose his original purchase price of 900 greenbacks, so you can probably get a pretty good picture of what the thing looked like when he started. Once the Bronco was looking savvy in its fresh orange duds, Nate had the crew at Logan-based Mike Mitchell Racing lay some protective tube throughout and tie it into the frame in multiple locations. As the shop manager at Mt. Logan Off Road, Nate was more than capable of polishing off the interior with Auto Meter gauges, Steel Horse Super Seats, and Pyrotech 3-inch lap belts.

A tight bass line should hum. It should thump your soul and whisper in your ear, but still be capable of throwing down some powerful chords and chugging out some serious low tones at a moment's notice. Since Nate uses his Bronco to contend in the ARCA Rock Crawling Championship Series, he opted against FoMoCo offerings and instead laid a Chevy 350 between the fenders. Ron's Precision Machine in Sandy, Utah, took on the duty of building the hefty mill, boring it 0.030 over, stuffing it with roller rockers, Keith Black pistons, and a Comp Cam. They topped the 350 with an Edelbrock Performer manifold, port-matched it to a set of polished 462 Fuelie heads from Chapman Racing, and routed the spent gas through HPC Blockhugger headers and Flowmaster 3-inch exhaust by Accurate Automotive in Logan.

Maintaining the low-end wail, Nate mated a Corvette Servo-equipped 700-R4 transmission built by Gordon Transmission in Logan to the stout 350 and installed an Art Carr Stage 1 shifter. From there, power is channeled through a Dana 20 transfer case, down Tom Woods long-travel driveshafts, and into some tough axle setups: a Ford 9-inch rear with a nodular third member, full-floating 35-spline shafts, an ARB Air Locker, and 5.13 gears; up front, a reverse-cut Dana 44 with 5.13s and another ARB. Both the front and rear were built by Advanced 4WD in Salt Lake City.

Once Nate had all of the strings singing, he went about finishing off the rhythm section. Knowing well what kind of agility he'd need to be competitive on the rocks, Nate swapped out the signature Bronco coil front suspension in favor of Skyjacker 4-inch Wrangler leaf springs fitted with M.O.R.E. buggy springs and hung on reversed Boomerang shackles. The same Skyjacker 4-inch Wrangler leaf packs were used in the rear, but the wheelbase was lengthened 5 inches and the springs were mounted on perches atop the axle with a Currie Johnny Joint under the perch. The rear also uses a custom three-link setup to locate the axle and control wrapup. With the suspension complete, Nate gave the Bronco a macho set of rollers consisting of 38.5x14.50R15 TSL/SX Super Swampers mounted on 15x10 Mickey Thompson wheels. Sway-A-Way 18-inch travel, nitrogen-charged shocks cushion each corner, and four-wheel disc brakes stop the Bronco on a dime. Nate completed all of the suspension modifications himself after hours and on weekends at Mt. Logan Off Road. He also fabbed a kickin' set of bumpers with the front hosting a Ramsey winch.

Though the Allman's version of Mountain Jam lasted only about 15 minutes, Nate's jam song has been playing strong since he completed the buildup for the 2000 Easter Safari in Moab, a moment that was 3 months in the making. Expect to see him and his '75 whipping out some riffs on the rocks during this year's remaining ARCA events. You won't be disappointed. And don't be surprised if you start tapping your toes as he plays his music through the obstacles, because, man, does this rig ever jam.

SPECIFICATIONS
Owner/hometown: Nate Williams/
Logan, Utah
Make/model: '75 {{{Ford Bronco}}}
Engine: Chevy 350
Induction: Edelbrock Performer
manifold port-matched
to heads
Transmission: 700-R4
Transfer case: Dana 20
Frontend: Reverse-cut Dana 44
with an Air Locker
Rearend: {{{Ford}}} 9-inch with
an Air Locker
Ring-and-pinion 5.13
Suspension: Front leaf spring
conversion with
reverse shackles;
rear 4-inch
Skyjacker springs
Tires/wheels: 38.5x14.50R15 TSL/SX
Super Swampers/15x10
Mickey Thompsons

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