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1974 Ford Bronco - Bronc-Itis

Posted in Features on November 3, 2006 Comment (0)
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Photographers: Bill Moore

There's something infectious about early Broncos. The simple, clean body lines, the coil-sprung front suspension, and the maneuverable dimensions all beg to be driven beyond civilization's grasp and far into the backcountry. From '66 to '77, Bronco aficionados had only to find their nearest Blue Oval dealer to become proud owners. Today, nearly 30 years after the last early Bronco passed through the dealer lot, catching and keeping Bronc-itis takes more than a down payment. It takes enthusiasm and dedication.

This Bronco's beauty goes beyond the superficial. To us, if it looks good but doesn't work in the dirt, it's not really an off-road truck. This thing was built to wheel. After spending many thousands of dollars on bodywork and custom paint, the owner is understandably hesitant to fully strut the Bronco's trail capabilities. We've got an idea that just might work: We know that some motocross pros deliberately put small scratches in their freshly-painted helmets so that they can concentrate on riding well and not worry about scratching a pristine helmet. We think a similar act would get Bill's Bronco further into the woods, but we're not volunteering to be the poor souls responsible for even the smallest tarnish on the Vintage Specialties metalwork or the silver metallic paint!

Bill Moore's case of Bronc-itis began after college with the ownership of a '73 model. Later on, Bill ponied up (pun intended) for a fullsize '78 model. Why not? The '78 shared the rugged coil-sprung solid axle up front and durable Ford 9-inch rearend, and it had more room for friends and gear. A couple of decades later, Bill decided he wanted "a cool, driveable Bronco." The result is the spit-shined '74 showcased on these pages.

Bill's latest Bronco began as a clean, rust-free frame found in Colorado. After corralling the frame and the rest of the essential components at his Pennsylvania home, Bill called in some expert assistance to help his latest infection take shape. Moore is not bashful about his approach to building this truck. His profession as a personal trainer means that his expertise lies in "getting people in shape, not Broncos. I knew what I wanted, and I could write the checks." Fair enough. Bill stuck to his specialty and called on East Coast Bronco guru Drew Peroni (whose shop's name inspired this story's title) and hot-rod builder Vintage Specialties for their respective areas of expertise.

Although the frame Bill started with was clean and rust-free, the body tub was not. Although full fiberglass tubs are available for the Bronco, Moore decided to have the folks at Vintage Specialties apply their talents to the aging sheetmetal: "These guys only do things the right way. They take their time and do a perfect job. They were working on the tub floor, and I told them they didn't have to be too meticulous with it, because I was planning to have the floor Rhino Lined. They replied that they do it right or not at all."

New metal found its way onto the vintage tub in the form of a floor, quarter-panels, rocker panels, a tailgate, and a hood.

We'll let the captions spell out the rest of the details. Bill gave us the short version that we'll pass along: "The body turned out great. It's got new sheetmetal, fiberglass fenders, custom paint, you name it, it's been replaced or fixed!"

Since we can't turn the clock back to the mid-'70s and plunk down a down payment on our local Ford dealer's counter for an early Bronco, we'll just have to hope that we can find a way to catch our own case of Bronc-itis. Until then, we'll have to make do with a few photos of the best infection we've never had.

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