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Caballo Del Diablo: Budget-Friendly 1968 Ford Bronco Built For Vintage Racing

Posted in Features on August 17, 2016
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Photographers: Boyd JaynesErnesto Araiza

Boyd Jaynes of San Juan Capistrano, California, is typically on the working end of a camera and lens. However, after the first new NORRA 1000 rally in Mexico was announced in 2009, he began the search for a classic Bronco. The ’68 specimen you see was found on Craigslist in San Diego. Jaynes immediately secured the California license plate “MEX 1K” and went to work on the bobtail Bronco. The name Caballo Del Diablo quickly stuck, which is Spanish for horse of the devil.

Jaynes says, “The Bronco had no previous race history, but it looked racy.” The previous owner was a course volunteer at local desert races. Jaynes soon found out that the faux rollcage was not properly constructed or connected to the frame, so it was replaced with the current cage and shock mounts built by Jon Krellwitz at RDM Offroad. Since the cage build, Jamie Campbell at Raceco has done all fabrication.


“In the spirit of racing in a vintage category, Jaynes has resisted the urge to modify the old Bronco’s suspension with a four-link, coilovers, or bypass shocks.”

The original transmission was a manual three-on-the-tree, which was replaced with a heavy-duty C4 with a manual valvebody from Steve Culhane in Lake Elsinore, California. In the spirit of racing in a vintage category, Jaynes has resisted the urge to modify the old Bronco’s suspension with a four-link, coilovers, or bypass shocks. Most of the suspension bits have been left in their original configuration, although they have been beefed up to handle a 1000-plus-mile race. The modern Fox smooth-body 2.0 shocks were professionally valved by Wayne Isrealan.

The engine is nothing special, and Jaynes claims it has just enough power to get into real trouble but mild enough to keep the drivetrain together. Jaynes says, “If you’ve ever gone more than 90 mph off-road in a short-wheelbase truck, like an early Bronco, then you know what I’m talking about.” The Bronco remains largely unchanged from the day he purchased it on Craigslist. Every inch of the original sheetmetal is still on the truck, although last year, Jaynes had to replace the hood for a lighter fiberglass version. The windshield is retained, which facilitates the use of old-school open face helmets and villain-like mustaches grown each year just for the rally.

After seven NORRA races, Jaynes and the Bronco have finished First in class four times, Third once, Fourth once, and DNF’d once with a transmission failure. He’s also placed as high as Eighth overall in the vintage category. At the 2016 NORRA Mexican 1000, Jaynes and the Bronco received the Steve McQueen Memorial Trophy for the fastest Pioneers-era vehicle of the race.

Under the hood you’ll find a mildly built Ford 351 Cleveland mated to a Culhane Ford C4 with a manual valvebody, which are attached to a stock Dana 20 transfer case. The engine received custom Sanderson headers, MSD ignition and a ceramic-coated MagnaFlow exhaust. A PSC Motorsports power steering pump and external reservoir were added after the first race. The CBR Performance Products aluminum radiator, a belt-driven fan, and a custom aluminum fan shroud keep the V-8 running cool.
The front suspension is surprisingly stock by today’s standards. It features PAC Racing Springs coil springs and Fox 2.0 smooth-body remote-reservoir shocks with ECS2 external coolers. MasterCraft Racing limit straps keep the suspension in check. The stock front brakes were upgraded with Wilwood parts for more stopping power, durability, and heat resistance.
Out back you’ll find a trussed Currie 9-Plus rearend stuffed with 31-spline ’shafts, 3.50:1 gears, and an Eaton Detroit Locker. It’s suspended by custom Deaver Suspension leaf springs that rest in the factory spring and shackle mounts. A pair of Fox 2.0 smooth-body remote-reservoir shocks with ECS2 external coolers damp the bucking. More Wilwood disc brake bits back here help reign in the Bronco.
Jaynes and the co-driver are saddled in MasterCraft seats and belts. He operates the Bronco via a Deist padded steering wheel, a Winters/Art Carr gate shifter, and a Dana 20 twin-stick kit. The race pits and co-driver are easily reached with the PCI Race Radios communications system.
The co-driver keeps busy by monitoring the Bronco’s vitals via the Auto Meter gauges. A Lowrance GPS and an iPhone help keep the Bronco on the rally course.
The factory dual fuel tanks were removed and replaced with a Jaz 35-gallon fuel cell. Chassis stiffening and occupant protection comes in the form of a bumper-to-bumper rollcage fabricated by RDM Offroad. A massive CBR Performance Products oil cooler and electric fan keep the transmission cool.
A custom Raceco USA tubular bumper and skidplate protect the frontend. Rigid Industries lights the way with 7-inch LED headlights and four R-46 LED off-road lights.
A Currie Dana 44 front axle houses an Eaton Detroit Truetrac limited slip and 3.50:1 gears. Rolling stock is made up of 33x12.50R15 General Grabber MT tires wrapped around gold-coated 15x8 American Racing AR969 Ansen Off Road wheels.
The “MEX 1K” license plate has become a coveted piece. All of the original steel body panels were retained, with the exception of the Wild Horses fiberglass hood. A fullsize spare tire is slung on the back with a quick-release ratchet strap.
Each Fox 2.0 smooth-body remote-reservoir shock features an ECS2 external cactus cooler. These help circulate and cool the shock oil when driving over rough terrain at high speeds for long periods of time. In simple terms, they help reduce shock fade caused by overheating.

At A Glance

General
Vehicle: ’68 Ford Bronco
Owner: Boyd Jaynes
Stomping grounds: NORRA Mexican 1000
Build time: Ongoing


Drivetrain
Engine: Ford 351ci Cleveland V-8
Transmission: Culhane Ford C4
Transfer case: Bronco Dana 20
Low range ratio: 2.46:1
Crawl ratio: 21:1
Front axle/differential: Currie Dana 44/3.50 gears, Eaton Detroit Truetrac
Rear axle/differential: Currie 9-Plus/3.50 gears, Eaton Detroit Locker

Suspension
Front: PAC coil springs, Fox 2-in smooth-body remote-reservoir shocks with ECS2 external coolers
Rear: Custom Deaver leaf springs, Fox 2-in smooth-body remote-reservoir shocks with ECS2 external coolers
Steering: PSC steering box, pump, and remote reservoir, stock pitman arm, Raceco heavy-duty tie rods with rod ends

Tires/Wheels
Tires: 33x12.50R15 General Grabber MT
Wheels: 15x8 American Racing AR969 Ansen Off Road

Miscellaneous
Armor: Raceco custom front and rear bumpers
Cool stuff: Sanders headers, MSD ignition, dual Odyssey batteries, Finishline Racing wiring harness, CBR radiator and transmission oil cooler, TCS torque converter, Winters/Art Carr gate shifter, manual valvebody, Dana 20 twin-stick kit, Wilwood front and rear brakes, RDM Offroad rollcage, 35-gal Jaz fuel cell, Wild Horses fiberglass hood, Rigid Industries 7-in round LED headlights and four R-46 LED off-road lights, MasterCraft seats and belts, PCI Icom VHF radio and PCI Comlink 6 Race Intercom, Lowrance GPS, Auto Meter gauges

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