New Life for an Old Bronco
We see a lot of cool 4WDs built by friends and readers alike. Many of us tend to look for the biggest and baddest rig with the killer engine or suspension, and possibly battle scars as proof of off-road adventure. However, there are many other jewels amongst the crowd, and we spotted this one recently at one of the large annual Bronco events.
We think it’s fair to say that Angel Jimenez got the 4x4 fever when she saw her brother-in-law’s nice Ford Bronco and wanted to find one of her own. These vintage rigs can be intoxicating to those who appreciate the iconic bodylines and stance that was created more than 40 years ago. Angel and her husband, Matt, put out the word to a few local Bronco fans and soon had a lead on a 1974 vintage rig that had come from New Mexico. Contacting Keith Jones at Proto Fab, they found he had the well-worn basket case for sale. The couple thought the classic Bronco had possibilities and soon made a deal to drag it home.
Once there, Angel and Matt, along with Matt’s brother, Andrew, began disassembly and inspection. It was quickly decided that the old Ford would get a complete rebuild and some updates to improve both looks and performance. Bygone years of paint were stripped off the body until nothing showed but bare sheet metal. The body wheel wells were enlarged and fender flares fitted in anticipation of adding larger tires.
The tailgate was repaired along with a few other tub corrections and much of the body was ready for the paint shop. After removal from the chassis, the Bronco was placed on a body dolly and sent to Stinz Auto Paint, where it received generous coats of a Chrysler-inspired metallic black paint. The three-stage epoxy paint covered the entire body along with a new aluminum dash in the cab.
With the body out of the garage, it was time to turn attention to the chassis and drivetrain. The frame was cleaned, stripped, and recoated in gloss black paint. Fortunately, since this was a Southwestern vehicle, rust issues were minimal on the old metal.
Once painted, the frame was elevated with the help of Wild Horses lift components. Axle hardware remains the venerable, but rebuilt, OEM units. A front Dana 44 and rear Ford 9-inch retain the factory 96-inch wheelbase. The 16x8 Moto Metal 950 Series wheels are shod with 315/75R16 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrains and fill the wheel wells generously.
Under the hood lies a completely rebuilt ’88 Mustang 302 V-8 roller cam motor that’s fed with a GM throttle body fuel injection from Del City. Output power gets handled by a C4 automatic connected to a stock Dana 20 transfer case.
After eight months at the body shop, the tub was returned to rejoin the frame and was lifted onto its resting place. Next came finishing the plumbing, wiring, and all of the small details that consume so much energy during a build like this.
Outside, Proto Fab bumpers and ’cage were added along with Xenon headlights and HID lights on the front. After two years, it was finally time for the revitalized Ford to see the light of day. The project was complete, and it was time for Angel and Matt to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
They certainly didn’t build without help and would like to send huge thanks to Randy and Tiffany at Driven Auto Parts for the great work they did, as well as thanks to Matt’s brother who brought all the know-how together for the majority of the project. We think it was well worth the effort and should be a joy to drive.
|Vehicle:||1974 Ford Bronco|
|Owner/Hometown:||Angel Jimenez/Mesa, Arizona|
|Engine:||1988 Ford Mustang 302 V-8|
|Transfer case:||Dana 20|
|Front end:||Dana 44|
|Rear end:||Ford 9-inch|
|Ring and Pinion:||3.50:1|
|Front Differential:||Limited slip|
|Rear Differential:||Limited slip|
|Suspension:||Wild Horses 4.5-inch lift, Rancho 9000 shocks|
|Tires:||315/75R16 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrains|
|Wheels:||16x8 Moto Metal 950 Series|
|Extras:||Driven Auto Parts aluminum dash, Autometer gauges, custom interior, Protofab bumpers|