Say one day you happen to find out about a neglected vintage vehicle sitting in a field of weeds and bathed in the decay of rust? What if that relic just happens to be a neglected, but classic Ford 4WD? If you're Matt and Tammy Finn, you wrangle a cash deal, drag the carcass onto a trailer, and haul it home for a metal revival. Once this 1967 Bronco entered their garage it would never leave quite the same.
Matt had spotted the old 4WD sitting in a field belonging to a shotcrete contractor and stopped one day to see if it might be for sale. The couple already had a very capable Ford truck at home but what's one more project and play toy? As fate would have it, the couple was soon hauling away their treasure before the former owner could change his mind.
With a substantial project ahead, the couple made the decision early on that they wanted to build a rig that was both attractive and capable of crawling some desert trails near their home in Queen Creek, Arizona. The motor had to move the rig with authority, the driveline had to be stout, and it had to plain look cool.
The driveway work began with the extraction of the old, broken engine. Since the Bronco had sat idle for over 12 years, not much mechanical was in working order or worth salvaging. The stock drivetrain was gutted and the body cleaned and blasted. The old paint had hidden many sins and the blasting revealed large expanses of body filler on the doors and some severely rusted floor pans.
A portion of the front frame had been spliced and poorly patched, so the addition was cut off and rebuilt with new steel tubing. New front fenders and a Pro Flow fiberglass hood were installed and then attention was turned to the floor. When speaking about this part of the rebuild, you quickly get a sense from the Finns that the pan replacements were surely the biggest headache they encountered during their project. Their friend Howard from Magma Engineering helped with the task and with some tricky welding. Still, it seems that drilling spot welds and air chiseling seams is a very slow and noisy process. Just ask their neighbors.
The original plan for the vehicle was to build a competent rock crawler to play on the local trails, but over time the build got a bit out of hand and more trick parts were added, and the paint and body work done to a higher degree of finish. With the major body work completed, the couple turned the Bronco over to a local painter to cover it in the two-stage bright orange hue you see here.
When it came time for a powerplant, a 1995 Mustang GT 5.0L V-8 was called to duty. Attached to and surrounding the multi-port injected motor you'll find ceramic coated headers, a cold air intake setup, Ron Davis aluminum radiator (with electric fans), Hughes fly wheel, and MSD plug wires. Matt found out after he got the engine that the '94-to-'95 Mustang motors are an odd year and the aftermarket doesn't make a simple retro harness for them. Nevertheless, he took part of the factory car harness and spliced it onto a similar application Painless harness and came up with a combination that works well.
Backing up the motor is a Ford C4 auto equipped with a Hughes torque converter and aluminum tranny pan. Shifting chores are handled with an Art Carr unit. From there the torque is fed through an Atlas transfer case and 1350-yoked driveshafts to the front and rear axles. Up front you'll find a Currie HD Ford 9-inch assembly built to 65 inches wide with a high-pinion third member. Stuffed inside are 4.56 gears, an ARB Air Locker, chromoly axle shafts, and Warn hubs. Marriage to the frame above comes via a 5.5-inch James Duff long-travel coil kit. The rear axle is a quite similar Currie 9-inch in high-pinion form, but Detroit locked. Added to the housing is a Sam's Off-Road traction bar to keep the rear Duff leaf packs just a bit more steady on steep hills or ledges. The final bit of height comes from the addition of a 3-inch body lift. James Duff shocks help control movement at all four corners. Wheelbase has been left stock between the pair of Currie-built axles.
The steering system also got an upgrade with the addition of a Rock Crawler steering box using 1-ton tie rod ends and heavy-wall draglink and tie rod. Stock Ford front disc brakes do well to haul the Bronco to a halt when supplemented with the rear Wilwood 11-inch discs. Wheels and rubber come together as 37-inch Goodyear MTRs circling Mickey Thompson Classic Lock wheels.
Rock trail capable bumpers from Proto Fab adorn both ends and Driven Auto Parts in Phoenix welded up the underside skidplate and sliders to help protect from boulder damage. Other additions to the rig include a 23-gallon gas tank, stainless brake lines, and a Flowmaster exhaust.
From rags to riches can be a long and trying ordeal. This couple's vision, dollars, and persistence prevailed to yield a rewarding finale. The classic orange Ford you see here is sign of a job well done.
The interior also got a complete renovation with gray Beard seats, harnesses, and a Flaming river steering column. A custom dash replaced the old version that had been drilled a few too many times and full Autometer gauges help monitor vital signs.
Vehicle: 1967 Ford Bronco
Owner: Matt and Tammy Finn
Hometown: Queen Creek, Arizona
Engine: 1995 Mustang GT 5.0L V-8
Transmission: Ford C4 auto
Transfer Case/Low Range Ratio: Atlas/5.0:1
Front End: Currie HD high-pinion Ford 9-inch
Rear End: Currie HD high-pinion Ford 9-inch
Ring and Pinion: 4.56
Front Differential: ARB Air Locker
Rear Differential: Eaton Detroit Locker
Suspension: 5.5-inch James Duff long-travel coil kit
Tires: 37x12.50R17 Goodyear MTRs
Wheels: 17x9 Mickey Thompson Classic Lock