Ford's Early Bronco: Four Decades of Good Times
Cool. Classic. Rugged. Fun. The boxy, short-wheelbase SUV Ford introduced to the off-roading public in 1966 turned 40 this year. During time's relentless march forward, the early Bronco has blazed through Baja, gone fishing and camping, conquered the rocks, appeared in films, and even scorched the dragstrip. Yes, it's been a commuter too. While the '66-'77 Bronco's cool factor won't diminish one iota with the commencement of its 41st year, we would've been remiss not to give one of the all-time off-road greats a tribute in the twilight of 2006.
With the generosity of their respective owners, we managed to corral (lame equine puns seem required in most Bronco stories, so we'll continue the tradition) two fine Blue Oval ponies that we think you'll like. The first bristles with high-zoot suspension and is powered by a fiery 351 Windsor. The second is a milder build but still boasts key upgrades that add up to a reliable, well-prepared trail machine capable of getting its lucky owner there and back, time after time.
Enough with the intro. It's time to cut to the roundup, er, chase.
What's in a Plate?
Todd Bennet is a lucky man, for his wife has a good sense of humor. Todd's lime-green Bronco's license plate reads "GRNDZ4DV," meaning "grounds for divorce." After spending way too many evenings and weekends sans Todd, Shelley Bennett devised a fitting phrase for the plate. GRNDZ4DV sits in its current state after a six-year building period. The buildup was anything but small potatoes: This machine is a step or two away from taking on SCORE's Class 3. A coilover front end and a healthy 351 under a two-pin fiberglass hood are just a few of the many upgrades. No true off-road machine is ever truly finished, but Todd's best bet is to treat Shelley to many dinner/movie nights and several rides in the lime-green dirt limo before diverting his attention back to the Bronc's to-do list. After all, the license plate is supposed to be a joke.