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1972 Ford Bronco Race Truck - Fast Ford

Posted in Features on March 29, 2007 Comment (0)
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Grant Wilson works a fifth-generation family cattle ranch across 100-plus square miles of land northeast of Tucson, Arizona. He herds cattle for a living and drives fast across the desert for play. His go-fast vehicle of choice is a '72 Bronco with a valuable history. Grant's parents bought the Ford new some 35 years ago, and in 1993 he bought the 4WD in which he learned to drive at age 11. From there, he spent a lot of time desert running, but an error in judgment left the Bronco crumpled into a mesquite tree. Following that mishap, the truck was rebuilt and Grant started racing in organized events about 10 years ago. Since that time, he's managed to garner stacks of win plaques and trophies and is a five-time champion in the Whiplash Racing Sport Truck class. Additionally, he competes in a wide variety of desert, stadium, and Tough Truck competitions.

Grant recently replaced an older engine with a healthy Ford GT40 302 crate motor. A large K&N filter lets the engine breathe while keeping the dust out. The overall build of the truck is designed to be simple with maximum functionality.

Several years ago, the Bronco suffered a bad landing off a race jump and nosed into the dirt. The resulting impact cartwheeled the rig four times end over end. Grant survived thanks to a good cage, but the race truck was almost completely destroyed. However, a short time later, the Bronco was back in action with some additional improvements. All the bodywork from the doors forward has been replaced with fiberglass panels, and Metal Masters of Tucson shot the multicolored paint scheme.

Power for the Bronco comes from a Ford GT40 302 small-block crate motor and is set up with an MSD Digital-6 Plus ignition system so the engine timing can be adjusted as needed. Behind the lively motor, the factory three-speed tranny and transfer case still serve their duty well. Steering has been improved with a change to a Chevy Saginaw power steering pump and box. This combo maintains better pressure than the Ford unit did to ensure the steering stays precise. Somewhat amazingly, the Ford still comes to a halt with drum brakes on all four corners. Grant claims the throttle and a little tranny downshifting are about all he needs for racing.

A couple of KC lights have been added for the occasional night outing.

The front axle is a Dana 44 with James Duff heavy-duty special shafts, engaged using Warn hubs. The rear axle is a Ford 9-inch that's been upgraded with 33-spline shafts. Both axles house 4.11 gears spinning on spools. Grant admits that the dual spools make it harder to steer through tight stadium race corners, but the power to the ground is awesome. He's refined a point and throttle turning technique that gets the 93-inch-wheelbase truck around turns efficiently. Grant's tire of choice is usually a set of 33x12.5 Mickey Thompson Baja Claws wrapped on American Racing chrome spokes; however, sometimes BFG Mud-Terrains are used up front if increased steering traction is needed.

Living on a wide-open cattle ranch means there are plenty of desert roads to practice on, and Grant has a track area set up where he can drive fast and catch some serious air. This Bronco has a long family history, and it's still kicking up dust.

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