John Townsend likes to live dangerously. His passion for high-speed driving and the love of Mexico slammed together into this gorgeous '89 Ford Bronco. Creating a vehicle that could take him to all of the Baja races, prerun the courses, chase down his favorite teams, and make it home safe is not an easy feat. Not a cheap one either! He purchased this Bronco beaten up and bruised for $2,500 and delivered it to Solo Motorsports in Covina, California. Seven months later his dream came to life.
When you want big gnarly power and that true muscle car sound, a Windsor 351 is a great way to go. Stuffed under the hood is a 351ci engine pushing 420 rear-wheel horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque. It includes Edelbrock heads and roller cam and was built by Kennedy Engines in Orange, California. Also found under the hood is a UMP Intake System, PWR radiator with electric fans, Headmen headers, Edelbrock carburetor, and dual Pierburg fuel pumps.
John's couldn't choose just one fiberglass company for his Bronco, so he chose three. The glass includes an Auto-Fab drop center two-pin hood, Hanneman 4-inch Ford front fenders and Fiberwerx rear bedsides with fuel door. Custom drilled BTR 17-inch wheels are wrapped in 37-inch BFGoodrich Baja T/A KR tires.
Looking into the front suspension we reveal Solo's 4-inch over trussed Dana 44 long-travel I-beam suspension running 1-inch uniballs on both beams replacing the factory vulcanized rubber ends. It also includes 13/4-inch DOM steel extended radius arms and 11/4-inch QA1 rod ends. John's transmission is a Ford C6 with a reverse valvebody, 300M input and output shaft, heavy-duty clutches and sprag gears. It is cooled by a Setrab cooler with dual fans. The transfer case is a Borg Warner 1356 with a low range ratio of 2.72:1. All transmission work was performed by Orange County Transmission in Costa Mesa, California.
Shocks up front include Fox 2.5 coilovers and 2.5 smooth body shocks and Fox 4-inch 2.0 air bumps. John did not want to run bypass shocks on his Bronco to save himself of the typical bypass clicking sound that often resonates throughout the cabin. This truck is more than just an off-road toy; John spends plenty of time daily driving it as well. Front travel measures in at 18 inches, even in 4WD.
Unlike most Broncos you see running around the desert, this one is sporting a custom built Solo Motorsports four-link suspension. You sacrifice a lot of cabin space running this type of suspension but the pay off is well worth it in our opinion. Solo chose Fox 2.5 coilovers and smooth body shocks for the rear as well as Fox 4-inch 2.0 air bumps. The rear travel measures a whopping 21 inches.
Freshly loaded into the truck the night before our photo shoot is a Currie Extreme Duty 9-inch rear end housing stuffed with 4.56 gears and a Detroit Locker. Rear braking is done by strong Wilwood Disc Brakes including an optional parking brake kit.
Solo enclosed the shock mounts for the four-link on either side of the rear seat. This helps keep noise and dirt out of the cabin. As we mentioned earlier, you sacrifice a little bit of room with this suspension but John doesn't seem to mind flying at high speeds throughout Baja.
Between the front seats we found a Lowrance 540c Baja GPS system, Kenwood 110-watt race radio, Art Carr shifter, and a pair of Autometer gauges.
'89 Ford Bronco
Ford 351W small block
Solo Motorsports 4.5-inch extended Dana 44 Twin Traction Beam 4wd front, Solo Motorsports 4-link rear
Ford and Wilwood
BTR wheels, 37-inch BFG Baja T/A KR tires
Lowrance GPS, Kenwood race radio, Mastercraft seats, Crow harnesses
Hella HID lighting, Fox shocks, Pertronix ignition
Favorite Off-Road Area: