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1976 Ford Bronco - The President’s Bronco

Posted in Features on April 7, 2014
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When Utah Ford Bronco Club President Steve St. Clair acquired this ’76 Ford Bronco, he says that it was set up as an “old-school mud bogger.” It had a brand-new 450hp carbureted engine, exhaust dumps, a T-18 transmission, Dana 20 transfer case, 4.10 gears, and a limited-slip differential in the rearend. “It drove like a tank and had what seemed like two inches of wheel travel,” he says.

St. Clair didn’t leave the Ford Bronco in that configuration for long. He went to work on the rig, crafting it from a straight-line mud racer into a trail-ready machine. There were some bumps along the way. One in particular was that the frame had been filled with foam to keep mud out. “I still have to keep a fire extinguisher really close whenever I’m welding on the Ford Bronco frame as the foam catches fire every time,” he says.

“For a vehicle in need of constant touch-up, off-the-shelf paints can’t be beat.”

We met St. Clair while he was wheeling the rig in the California desert. The SoCal desert is one of his favorite wheeling areas, but he says that other favorites include the Moab Rim trail near Moab, Utah, and The Maze, near St. George, Utah.

We like that St. Clair created a very proficient trail rig without carving up the classic Ford Bronco. Not only does it wheel great, it looks great, too.

St. Clair’s Bronco rolls on 37x12.50R17 BFGoodrich Krawler T/A KX tires mounted to nine-inch-wide Trail-Gear aluminum beadlock wheels. The classic body of the rig sits on a 2-inch James Duff body lift and its panels are well protected. Body armor includes a pair of homemade rock sliders that feature built-in rub rails, Wild Horses Gorilla Warflares fender flares, BC Broncos 3⁄16-inch-thick steel rear quarter panel protectors, and a Hanson Offroad front bumper that is modified to provide a better approach angle. This bumper carries a Warn 8274 winch outfitted with synthetic rope. The Bronco is painted Dupli-Color Chrome Yellow and Rustoleum semi-gloss black and keeping the body looking good is a non-stop job on this trail machine, as it is on any off-road vehicle. St. Clair says he redoes the bodywork once a year and the black paint is “rattle-canned as needed, usually after every trailride.” He also notes, “For a vehicle in need of constant touch-up, off-the-shelf paints can’t be beat.”

At A Glance
Vehicle: 1976 Ford Bronco
Owner: Steve St. Clair
Stomping grounds: Bluffdale, Utah
Build time: “Ongoing”

Engine: Ford 351ci Windsor V-8, EFI
Transmission: AOD
Transfer case(s): Advance Adapters Atlas II
Low range ratio(s): 4.3:1
Crawl ratio(s): 50.4:1
Front axle/differential: High-pinion kingpin Dana 60, Yukon chromoly 35-spline axleshafts, Sexton Off-Road drive slugs/4.88:1 gears, ARB Air Locker
Rear axle/differential: Ford 9-in, 35-spline axleshafts/4.88:1 gears, ARB Air Locker

Front: Deaver Spring 3.5-in-lift coils, CAGE Off-Road Products shocks, Light Racing JounceShocks
Rear: Deaver Spring 3.5-in-lift leaf springs, CAGE Off-Road Products shocks, traction bar
Steering: PSC Motorsports steering pump and reservoir, fullsize Bronco steering box, Surplus City hydraulic ram, Sexton Off-Road GM 1-ton tie rod and drag link

Tires: 37x12.50R17 BFGoodrich Krawler T/A KX
Wheels: 17x9 Trail-Gear aluminum beadlock

Armor: Customized Hanson Offroad front bumper, BC Broncos corner armor, homemade rock rails, Hanson Offroad rear bumper
Cool stuff: Wild Horses Gorilla Warflares fender flares, half-doors, Warn 8274 winch

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