I’ve always liked Mustangs and Broncos, says Marcos Barriga of Whittier, California. The reason I have a Bronco is that you can have more fun in a Bronco than in a Mustang. This particular Bronco still sports its original blue-and-yellow California plate.
The blue-plated ’75 isn’t the first for Marcos, who explains, I owned another early Bronco a few years ago, a blue ’76, but I ended up selling it to Fox Studios. After that one was gone, I still wanted a Bronco, so I kept a lookout. I ended up buying this one at a good price from a friend who offered it to me because he knew I liked Broncos.
Although the original blue California plate hasn’t changed, Barriga has seen to myriad modifications to make the Bronco more trail-worthy. The latest on the list is a pair of full-size axles liberated from a retired ’79 Bronco. The high-pinion Dana 44 and rear 9-inch are locked up and use 4.56 ring-and-pinion sets to spin the 35-inch Goodyear MT/Rs with authority. Under the hood there’s a carbureted 302 V-8 that benefits from a free-flowing Ford Racing air cleaner as well as a set of headers and an MSD ignition.
Even with all the mods, this rig is still quite streetable. I drive it everyday, Marcos tells us. It’s great on the trails, and it really moves when you hit the skinny pedal. The new full-width axles make it rock solid in the corners.
Barriga has been ’wheeling for 20-plus years, or as he puts it, pretty much my whole life. He’s passing this passion to the next generation. Marcos has three sons, all of whom love the Bronco and the dirt in equal measures. Favorite ’wheeling spots include Ocotillo Wells, Anza-Borrego, and Big Bear, all of which offer a winning combination of challenging trails and engaging scenery.
A cool Bronco, an adventurous trail, and some low-key family fun. Here’s how the good times roll.
|Vehicle:||1975 Ford Bronco|
|Owner/Hometown:||Marcos Barriga/Whittier, California|
|Engine:||Ford 302 small-block V-8|
|Transmission:||C4 three-speed automatic|
|Transfer case/low range ratio:||Dana 20/2.34:1|
|Front suspension:||Extended radius arms, lift coils, Bilstein 7100 shocks|
|Rear suspension:||Custom leaf spring packs, Bilstein 7100 shocks|
|Ring and Pinion:||4.56:1|
|Front axle:||Full-size high-pinion Dana 44 with locker|
|Rear axle:||Full-size Ford 9-inch with big bearing housing ends, locker|
|Tires:||315/75R16 Goodyear MT/R|
|Wheels:||16x8 Mickey Thompson Classic II|
|Favorite mod:||full-size axles|
|Biggest bummer:||radiator isn’t up to the task|
|Special thanks:||John Blaser at West Coast Broncos|