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Daily Vintage: A Clean and Capable 1976 Ford Bronco

Posted in Features on March 20, 2018
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As enthusiasts, we tend to let our vehicles and projects take over our lives. Time spent dreaming, planning, and building will engulf us because we love it. When that focus is put into a vintage and iconic 4x4, the process gets multiplied.

That is what happened with Louis Morosan and his ’76 Ford Bronco. Louis is no stranger to turning wrenches and pumping out amazing vehicle builds. As owner of LGE-CTS Motorsports in San Dimas, California, he has built some epic show vehicles, many of which have been featured at the SEMA Show, LA Auto Show, and many more. These vehicles aren’t just for shows, either; they are designed to be used and appreciated.

Louis has owned this Bronco for over 18 years. For a long time, he couldn’t decide how he wanted to build it. Going back and forth between different ideas while growing his business, the Bronco hung out until the time was right. Eventually, Louis settled on a design path. He set out to build a custom off-road rig that looked great and performed just as well, without sacrificing reliability. Louis says, “I didn’t want anything too hot-roddy. I wanted to be able to jump in it any time and go.” And he does, nearly every day. Living in beautiful Southern California gives him the luxury of clear weather throughout most of the year.

Louis’s ’76 Bronco was a complete frame-off build. Every part on this rig was either cleaned or replaced. The attention to detail shows throughout. Custom tube work was done to add to the pure uniqueness of this Bronco. Both front and rear bumpers, as well as the rollcage, were built from 1 3/4-inch DOM steel. The Bronco rolls on 35-inch Falken WildPeak M/Ts wrapped around Method Race Wheels Double Standard wheels. Classic Warn Premium hubs allow Louie to unlock the front end.

The Bronco may be beautiful, but Louis isn’t afraid of using it in the dirt. He regularly takes the rig to just about every type of terrain the West has to offer; the Bronco is right at home on sand, rocks, and forest trails.

Under the hood lives a 5.0L Mustang V-8 beast that was chosen for its power and reliability. Exhaust is pushed out through a set of Doug Thorley headers and then through a custom MagnaFlow after-cat system. The factory Mustang wiring and computer were used in conjunction with a Painless Performance Products wiring harness, a huge help on the reliability scale. A custom 22-gallon aluminum fuel tank makes certain the hungry V-8 will always have the fuel it needs. The engine is kept cool by a Be Cool Mustang-application aluminum radiator. A custom core support was built so the front bumper would be able to house a winch between the framerails, allowing better airflow through the radiator.

Louis wanted reliable power so he chose a Mustang 5.0L V-8. The Mustang wiring harness was used in conjunction with a Painless wiring harness to keep the reliability factor strong.

Backing the powerplant is a C4 automatic transmission with a shift kit and a stock Dana 20 transfer case hanging from the end. Custom driveshafts extend from the transfer case to the differentials. Out back is a Ford 9-inch axle with Currie chromoly axleshafts. Louis has two third members that he can install depending on what type of driving is on tap. One has a posi and the other has an Eaton Detroit Locker, and both use 4.10:1 gears. The front Dana 44 axle has an American Rebel diff cover, disc brakes, and 4.11:1 gears.

The rear axle is a Ford 9-inch with Currie chromoly axleshafts. Louis has two third members for the axle. One has an Eaton Detroit Locker and the other a posi. To keep the Atlas 2-inch-lift leaf springs in check, a pair of ICON Vehicle Dynamics reservoir shocks are bolted in place.
A set of custom radius arms were fabbed to keep the Dana 44 right where it needs to be. Here, you can also see one of the custom 2-inch aluminum body lift spacers that was added to help increase wheelwell space.
Louis and his team at LGE-CTS custom-built a heavy-duty aluminum tie rod and drag link. The Dana 44 is fitted with a 4.11:1 gearset and an Eaton Detroit Truetrac.

The list of amazing-ness just keeps going with this Bronco. The suspension has been painstakingly dialed in. A set of Atlas Spring 2-inch-lift leaf springs elevate the rear, while a pair of reservoir shocks from ICON Vehicle Dynamics control the ride. Up front, custom-built radius arms provide ample movement with the ICON coilovers and bypass shocks that mount to custom-built 1 1/2-inch DOM steel shock hoops. A custom heavy-duty aluminum drag link and tie-rod system includes 3/4-inch spherical rod ends and can handle anything Louis points the rig at.

The body of the Bronco is raised 2 inches using custom-built aluminum spacers, and the sheetmetal was massaged to open up the wheelwells to clear the 35x12.50R17 Falken WildPeak M/Ts mounted on Method Race Wheels Double Standard wheels.

A custom-built and TIG-welded DOM steel rollcage was built to protect the occupants, as were the front and rear bumpers. Tucked away behind the front bumper is a 10,000-pound Mile Marker winch. Louis decided to go simple on the lighting. The stock sealed beam headlights were tossed in favor of a set of Rampage Products HID lights.

The custom steel storage box houses all the bits needed for a fun day on the trail. A bar was integrated into the rollcage just above it to handle spare tire carrying duties.

The interior of the Bronco received just as much attention to detail as the rest of the off-roader. To keep the passengers comfortable and firmly positioned, Cerullo seats were installed. The Lecarra steering wheel blends perfectly with the dash that was custom-designed by Louis’s daughter, Theresa. Loaded with billet knobs and Auto Meter gauges, all the vehicle details are right where they need to be. The tunes weren’t forgotten either. An Alpine head unit is hidden away in the locking center console that connects to a system of speakers throughout the vehicle.

Over the course of the three-year build process, Louis gave every single part, nut, and bolt on his Bronco the attention it deserved. He built a rig that was exactly what he wanted and did it exactly how he wanted.

The custom dash was designed by Louis’s daughter, Theresa. The idea was to have a modern-classic feel that fit well with the overall theme of the Bronco. Filled with Auto Meter gauges, the dash pops nicely against the PPG orange paint.

General

Vehicle: ’76 Ford Bronco
Owner: Louis Morosan
Stomping grounds: San Dimas, California

Drivetrain
Engine: Ford 5.0L Coyote V-8
Transmission: C4
Transfer case: Dana 20
Low range ratio: 2.46:1
Crawl ratio: 24.8:1
Front axle/differential: Dana 44/4.11 gears, Detroit Truetrac
Rear axle/differential: Ford 9-in, Currie Enterprises chromoly axleshafts/4.10 gears, Eaton Detroit Locker or posi-equipped third members.

Suspension
Front: Custom-built radius arms, ICON Vehicle Dynamics coilovers and bypass shocks
Rear: 2-in-lift Atlas Spring leaf springs, ICON Vehicle Dynamics reservoir shocks
Steering: Custom-built heavy-duty steering linkage with 3/4-inch spherical rod ends

Tires/Wheels
Tires: 35x12.50R17 Falken WildPeak M/T
Wheels: 17x9 Method Race Wheels Double Standard

Miscellaneous
Custom 2-inch aluminum body lift, aluminum 22-gallon fuel tank, custom heavy-duty aluminum steering linkage, custom bed box, custom 1 3/4-inch DOM rollcage, all-metal body, classic Mustang billet fuel door from California Mustang, 10,000-pound Mile Marker winch, HID headlights, Cerullo seats, custom-built dash with Auto Meter gauges

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