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Kevin Garrett’s 427-Powered ’75 Bronco

Posted in Features on January 4, 2017
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Most people may have three 4x4s over the years and never roll one. Kevin Garrett, an electronics engineer and avid off-road explorer living in the Pacific Northwest, has had his classic Bronco for 18 years, rolled it once, and has completely rebuilt it three times.

The latest winter rebuild of his Viper Red ’75 Ranger model Bronco centered around dumping the 351 Windsor Mustang motor for something that would provide a lot more kick when he’s running the big sand dunes along Oregon’s central coast: a 427 stroker. That goal was readily accomplished when he ordered a custom-built aluminum-block 427 built by Tom Woods at Ford Strokers in Carol Stream, Illinois.

Kevin called upon Jim Woods at Ford Strokers to build his 427cid 351 Dart. The 550hp balanced-and-blueprinted aluminum-block runs TEA 225 58cc Hi-Port heads, 32cc forged pistons, Ford Stroker’s custom hydraulic roller cam, Crower valvetrain, ported Edelbrock intake manifold with F.A.S.T. XFI 2 fuel-injection and XIM ignition systems. Oiling protection is provided by a Canton Racing Products Accusump Oil Accumulator.

The builder says the 351 Dart stroker cranks out 550hp and 600 lbs.-ft. of torque at the crank when it left their shop. Kevin had the intake ported by Tom Woods before installing a FAST EFI system and dual computers – one for the fuel injection and one for the ignition to eliminate the distributor. The immaculate engine bay also contains an Accusump remote oil system to keep the engine primed on cold starts and prevent starvation while rock crawling.

Kevin made sure this latest iteration of his Bronco would endure the big stroker’s torque, too. It has a built C4 automatic ahead of a STaK three-speed transfer case worked by Northwest Fab Works’ shifters. That combo and the 4.56 gearing helps move all that torque to Yukon Zip Lockers in both the’79 Bronco Dana 44 up front and the Ruffstuff rear assembly that houses a Yukon Gear & Axle’s 9-inch.

With the power side of the build handled, Kevin turned to Robert Warke at CBM Designs in Gladstone, Oregon, to get the suspension dialed in. “He’s ‘The Bronco Whisper’ when it comes to suspensions,” says Kevin. “The way Robert designed the track and ladder bars makes it handle great and provides about 18 inches of suspension travel without wheel hop or binding.”

They also added onboard air for the lockers and airing up tires after a long day of rock crawling or ripping dunes, along with a number of other features that make this classic bobtail a force to reckon with no matter where it shows up.

Kevin’s Bronco has come a long way since it rolled out of the factory some 42 years ago. So has the owner. “I didn’t know much about 4x4s when I bought my Bronco 18 years ago,” Kevin said. “I rolled it early on and blew up the engine. Since that time I’ve learned how to weld, fabricate, use a mill, swap engines, rebuild differentials and paint. It’s just part of owning a Bronco.”

Is this the end of the rebuilding bug now that a four-two-seven resides under the hood? Hardly. “Every couple years I just get the bug to tear it down over the winter and do something else to it. Last winter my goal was going big on the engine and suspension. I’m thinking next winter might be the time to supercharge it.”

Robert Warke at CBM Designs fabricated the traction bars and upper track bar to work with the BC Broncos leaf-spring rockers so Kevin’s rear suspension has maximum travel without wheel hop. Wilwood disc brakes and Yukon Ford 9-inch third member, with Yukon Zip Locker and 4.56s, provide the stop and go power. Fox 2.5 Performance Series shocks with remote reservoirs control the springs.
A STaK 3-spedd transfer case gives Kevin a wide choice of gearing and splitting power between front and rear axles as needed. CBM Designs fabricated the front and rear traction bars that use Heim joints and shackles to maximize travel and articulation.
Ruff Stuff rear axle housing reduces chance of damage to the Ford 9-inch or the Yukon Zip locker. Kevin has an on-board air system under the hood that supplies air to both front and rear matching lockers. Wilwood disc brakes handle the 38x14.5R17LT Goodyear Wrangler M/Ts mounted on custom US Mags alloys. The mags have 3.5-inches of backspacing. Rear springs are 3.5-inches of lift from Wild Horses 4x4.
CBM Designs created Kevin’s front bumper to cradle the Warn Zeon 9.5 while protecting the RyDel Fabrication light bars and JW Speaker LED headlights.
Kevin relies on an All 4 Fun Offroad family cage and Corbeau Baja RS suspension seats for safety and comfort.
Function with form best describes the interior. Kevin built his own modular dash so it could be removed in sections to work on wiring if needed. A raft of Auto Meter gauges monitor function from engine vitals to air compressor pressure. Toms Bronco Parts steering wheel and Tuff console provide two different types of security.
A cool feature about Kevin’s ’75 Bronco is he mounted his storage locker on customized seat slider rails to make access easy—and so it can be locked in any position in the bed.
Kevin’s Bronco sports Northwest Fab Works T-case shifters, business-band radio, and Kenwood audio system.
Front bumper ties into box tube front chassis above a shortened ’79 Bronco Dana 44.
Auto Meter Phantom II gauges in stainless panel.
Kevin has an air manifold on the firewall to handle Yukon Zip lockers and provide remote air for filling tires.
PSC handles the steering fluid while Wilwood handles the brakes.
Front suspension is clean. BC Broncos coils and CBM Designs steering.
Custom rock sliders protect body and the wheel wells have trimmed to clear the 38s.
The engine bay is immaculate and includes a Canton Racing Products Accusump Oil Accumulator.


Auto Meter
Sycamore, IL 60178
Corbeau Seats
Sandy, UT 84070
n/a, AK
Garden Grove, CA 92840
RCV Performance
Loves Park, IL
Fox Racing Shox
Watsonville, CA 95076
Wild Horses 4x4
Stockton, CA 95202
Warn Industries
Clackamas, OR 97015
Northwest Fabworks
Parksville, AK
Wilwood Brakes
Camarillo, CA 93012
ATI Racing
Baltimore, MD 21207
Memphis, TN 38118
Ruff Stuff Specialties
Yukon Gear and Axle
Ford Strokers

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