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1972 Ford Bronco - Fierce Ford

Rocks Uphill
Jay Kopycinski | Writer
Posted May 4, 2007

A Bronco Built Both Ways

Paul Herman likes going fast when he's not at a crawl. You may find him competing in tough truck events or down running on the Baja peninsula, or somewhere between there and the Rubicon winding his way over a rocky trail. As such, this rig was built to perform in several environments.

What you see here is a very custom '72 Bronco that has evolved over many years of upgrades and refinement. Paul and his brother George started wheeling together back in 1980 as fresh transplants to Arizona from Santa Cruz. Mom's '79 Scout served as their gateway to some desert exploring. With this small taste of wheeling, they were hooked, and a long string of 4WD vehicles followed.

After watching the building of the Crazy Horse Bronco on the Trucks! television show, Paul knew he wanted to build a vintage Bronco and set out planning his goal. A short time later, he bought a near-stock, clean '72 and the project began.

Churning big tires through the sand requires a lot of horsepower, and this pony gets about 400 horses from a healthy, stroked 392 V-8. Troy Clark at Modern Auto Repair in Phoenix assembled a go-fast package with tons of torque.

DCS Welding in Scottsdale built up the six-point cage, rear bumper, rock rails, cooler rack, and rear storage box. Out back, a matching spare tire rides on a swing-out carrier that leaves the tailgate functional.

He started with an early-'70s 351W block that was fully reconditioned then fitted with a Scat 4340 forged crankshaft and H-Beam rods to move Mahle forged pistons. Competition Cams roller components handle all the valve movement chores that take place under Airflow Research 185 aluminum heads.

Fuel induction is handled through an Edelbrock Performer RPM Air-Gap manifold fed with a Holley Truck Avenger 650-cfm carb. Twin Holley electric pumps keep the 32-gallon fuel supply steady, and an MSD distributor and ignition components bring fire to the party.

Behind the flywheel, Off-Road Unlimited installed an NV4500 five-speed tranny that powers an Atlas II 4:1-ratio transfer case. This combination provides low gears for the slow stuff and a wide enough set of cogs for rapid-pace play.

After splitting a front Dana 44 in half at a Tough Truck event a few years ago, Paul dropped some coin for a custom Currie 9-inch centersection with thick-walled tubing, Dana 60 knuckles, and 35-spline alloy axles throughout. Out back is a Dana 60 with Wilwood discs and the same 35-spline treatment. Both axles use 4.86 gears, and ARB Air Lockers provide ultimate traction.

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