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1970 Ford Bronco: One Bad Bronco Built to Rock

Posted in Features on August 25, 2017
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Brothers Grant and Drew Broughton have a family peach orchard in western Colorado with some of the best rockcrawling in the country nearby. Between a life of fixing farm equipment and their proximity to places like Montrose and Grand Junction, it is no surprise that they love wheeling. What is surprising is that they wheel a beautiful Early Bronco through trails full of boulders. The price of Early Broncos has steadily increased over the past several years, making them too expensive for most people to smash in the rocks. “It’s all right if it gets dented,” Grant confesses. “I’ve got another Early Bronco with a fiberglass body and perfect paint.”

The paint on this 1970 Bronco was laid down by the Broughton brothers themselves, so it’s not perfect but it’s pretty darn close. Underneath remain the original 302 V-8 and NP435 transmission, but they are backed by a four-speed Advance Adapters Atlas II transfer case that allows the Broughtons to tiptoe through the rocks without damaging the sheetmetal. Big Ruff Stuff Specialties fabricated 9-inch housings are mated to even bigger 41.5-inch Pit Bull Rockers that work as good as they look. Working good and looking good is what made Broncos so popular in the first place. Grant and Drew’s specific example just takes that premise to the next level.

The Bronco is powered by the original 302 V-8, which has been updated with factory fuel injection from a Mustang and a Champion aluminum radiator. A PSC pump feeds the steering and the hydroboost, while the Viair compressor pressurizes the ARB Air Locker.
The interior was lined with Monstaliner after Drew Broughton modified the tranny tunnel to clock the four-speed Atlas II transfer case. Between the two Corbeau seats in front of the Tuffy console you can see the shifters for the transfer case and the Wild Horses Gear Banger offset shifter for the NP435. On the dash, Auto Meter gauges monitor the vitals and a switch panel from OTRATTW controls the lights and lockers.
The factory suspension configuration with coils and radius arms in the front and leaf springs in the rear was retained for simplicity, although the wheelbase was stretched to 97 inches. The front suspension uses James Duff radius arms with Wild Horses 5 1/2-inch coil springs and 14-inch Bilstein 5100 shocks.
The front axle is a RuffStuff Specialties fabricated 9-inch housing with Dana 60 inner Cs and knuckles from Reid Racing. The True Hi9 third member is filled with 4.56 gears and an ARB Air Locker that routes power to 35-spline Dutchman chromoly axleshafts and Solid Industries hubs. Steering comes from a full PSC setup with a hydraulic-assist ram on the 1.5x0.250-wall DOM tie rod from RuffStuff Specialties.
The rear suspension uses Deaver leaf springs and Bilstein 5100 shocks with James Duff upper mounts on the frame end. The RuffStuff traction bar minimizes axlewrap, and the Daystar bumpstops were lowered to keep the big tires out of the sheetmetal.
The rear axle is a RuffStuff Specialties fabricated housing with 3.5x0.375-wall axletubes. The axle is a full floater with Dutchman chromoly axleshafts, Solid Industries hubs, and Cadillac Eldorado disc brakes. A True Hi9 third member keeps the rear driveline out of the rocks and is filled with 4.56 gears and a Yukon Grizzly Locker.
Although they had never painted a vehicle before, brothers Drew and Grant Broughton laid down the Toxic Orange paint on the Bronco themselves. “If you don’t look too close it is pretty good!” says Drew. “We got better as we went.
The Protofab front bumper holds a Warn Zeon 10-S winch wrapped in Warn Spydura synthetic winch cable and capped with a Factor 55 winch thimble. When the LED headlights and Rigid Industries Dually LED lights on the bumper don’t throw enough light, the 50-inch Rigid Industries LED light bar along the windshield can turn night into day.
The Broughton brothers welded in a cage kit from Extreme Custom Fabrication that is built out of 2x0.250-wall DOM tubing. The cage matches nicely with the James Duff tube doors, Protobab bumpers, and James Duff corner armor. Also note how the rocker panels were cut and replaced with box tubing to maximize ground clearance.
Rolling stock consists of giant 41.5-inch Pit Bull Rocker radial tires on Spyderlock beadlock rims. The axles are 6 inches wider than stock to allow full steering and the Wild Horses Gorilla War Flares flexible fender flares help provide the extra room required by the huge tires.

Tech Specs

1970 Ford Bronco
Engine: 302ci V-8
Transmission: NP435
Transfer Case: Advance Adapters Atlas II 4-speed
Front Axle: Ruff Stuff fabricated 9-inch housing with True Hi-9 and ARB Air Locker
Rear Axle: Ruff Stuff fabricated 9-inch housing with True Hi-9 and Yukon Grizzly Locker
Springs & Such: James Duff radius arms, Wild Horses coils, Bilstein 5100 shocks (front); Deaver springs, Bilstein 5100 shocks (rear)
Tires & Wheels: 41.5x13.5R17 Pit Bull Rockers on 17x9 Spyderlock beadlocks
Steering: PSC steering box, hydraulic ram, and pump; Ruff Stuff Specialties tie rod and drag link; Lecarra steering wheel
Lighting: LED headlights, Rigid Industries Dually LED lights, Rigid Industries 50-inch E-Series LED light bar
Other Stuff: Wild Horses Gear Banger offset shifter, Warn Zeon 10-S winch, Protofab front and rear bumpers, Wild Horses fender flares, James Duff corner guards, Autometer gauges, OTTRATTW switch panel, Corbeau seats, Champion radiator

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