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1977 Ford Bronco - One Trick Pony

Posted in Features on July 1, 2003 Comment (0)
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1977 Ford Bronco - One Trick Pony
Photographers: Joel Mollis

Thomas Moore of Apache Junction, Arizona, has a soft spot in his heart for Ford Broncos. He's so fond of them that he just finished building his sixth Bronco, the one you're looking at now. His weakness for the Blue Oval SUV goes all the way back to 1986 when he bought his first Bronco. By our calculations, he's purchasing a Bronco every three years - now that's what we call brand loyalty! His latest pony buildup began its custom life as a project abandoned by its previous owner. The factory roof had been cut off, and by the time Thomas took delivery of the beast, it required a new set of doors and a replacement windshield. Additionally, all of the original wiring had been pulled out of the truck, which made bringing the electrical system back to life quite a chore. Thankfully, thomas is a seasoned Bronco-building veteran as well as an electrician by trade, so he made quick work of restoring the pony to its newfound glory.

Thomas is an avid off-roader, so he chose Rancho Suspension components to lift the Bronco 2.5 inches, front and rear. The new lift served two purposes: It provided additional ground clearance; and it allowed Thomas to install larger-than-stock tires. The frontend received a new set of coil springs and Doestch Tech dampers, while the rear suspension scored a pair of Rancho leaf springs and another pair of Doestch Tech dampers. To help cope with the heavier wheel and tire combo, in addition to the difference in gearing, a large banjo-type housing and 4.11 gears were added to the Ford 9-inch rearends. Because stopping is just as important as roosting, Thomas added disc brakes from Currie Enterprises to the four corners of his Bronco. He then completed the rolling chassis with a set of 12-inch-wide Mickey Thompson wheels and 33x12.50R15 BFGoodrich

All-Terrain T/A tires. While he was attending to the chassis, Thomas replaced the stock rubber brake lines with steel-braided lines and added a 23-gallon gas tank from Tom's Bronco Parts. By addressing all the areas of the Bronco that were affected by lifting it and adding larger tires, Thomas proved that he's no rookie when it comes to building an off-road vehicle.

Not wanting to waste any of his hard work with a less-than-inspiring powerplant for his truck, Thomas pulled the stock 302cid V-8 Ford small-block out in preparation for a full rebuild. The short block was line-bored 0.30 thousandths over stock and then outfitted with a set of Ford Motorsport forged pistons. The slugs turn on stock rods and the stock crank, which was cut and micropolished. The heads were left stock, but Thomas did add a Comp Cams camshaft to take advantage of the accessories he planned on adding. Fuel and air are mixed and delivered via an Edelbrock Performer RPM manifold and Holley 600cfm carburetor. The volatile mixture is then lit off by an Optima Red Top battery, Mallory dual-point distributor, and Accel plug wires. The spent gases are routed through a set of chromed headers and a 2.5-inch diameter dual exhaust system with an H-pipe. A Ford C-4 automatic transmission is coupled with a stock transfer case and a pair of custom drivelines built by Dick's Driveshafts. The stout drivetrain makes off-road missions a fun and reliable proposition.

The excitement continues with a topside look at this beautiful Bronco. The body has been extensively modified by Protofab's Keith Jones. Jones fabbed the six-point 'cage as well as the front and rear bumpers. A Protofab fiberglass hood and fender flares update the body to modern specs. Thomas performed much of the bodywork that was needed to put the body out. The turn signal holes were filled and smoothed, the rear body seams were filled, and the license plate bracket was shaved. Once the panels were sanded smooth and the bodywork was sealed, Jon Woodrome of Mesa, Arizona, was tapped to spray the BASF paint.

Because the interior of Thomas' truck is exposed to the elements most of the time, he made his upgrades carefully. A set of power bucket seats taken from an '87 Mustang GT was installed after being reupholstered in cloth and vinyl. Simpson five-point harness belts were also bolted to the rollcage and the floor, keeping Thomas locked into the seats in the event of a rollover. Auto Meter gauges fill out the color-matched dashboard and keep tabs on the potent powerplant rumbling beneath the 'glass hood. Beyond all of the paint and polish in the interior, Thomas also took the time to add a reliable audio system for everyday cruising. An Alpine CD head unit sends signals to an Orion 100-watt amplifier, which in turn powers a pair of Alpine triaxial speakers mounted in the door panels.

Thomas hit a home run with his newest and greatest Bronco buildup to date. The only question now is whether he will he keep this trick pony or top himself yet again with a new project.

SPECIFICATIONS
Owner/hometown Thomas Moore/Apache Junction, Arizona
Vehicle '77 {{{Ford Bronco}}}
Engine {{{Ford}}} 302cid V-8
Suspension Rancho 2.5-inch coil springs, Doetsch Tech
dampers (front); Ranch 2.5-inch leaf springs,
Doetsch Tech dampers (rear)
Body Protofab fiberglass hood; Protofab bumpers;
  six-point rollcage
Wheels 15x12-inch Mickey Thompson Classic II
Tires 33x12.50R15 BFGoodrich All Terrain T/A radials

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