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Ferrari Facade: Wrecked Bronco With A Fiberglass Race Face

Posted in Features on June 29, 2018
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Photographers: Stuart A. BourdonKen Von Helmolt

When is the last time you shifted your Ferrari into 4-Lo? Chuck Bachrach had never thought of such a thing until a friend took Chuck’s ’71 Bronco and mistakenly wrapped it around a tree. And so begins our look back to March 1989 and the story of the “Land Shark.”

The story really begins with Chuck, who hailed from Omaha, Nebraska, and spent his days touring with rock ’n’ roll bands, wrangling their lighting equipment. He told us two additional factoids about himself. First, he was conceived in the back of a “massive” ’49 Hudson. Second, life on the road touring taught him to take what he was given and make it into…something. In this case, that “something” would turn out to be the winner of many auto show trophies.

Back to Chuck’s decommissioned Bronco. He took this opportunity to make something out of the wreck, since the frame and powertrain remained mostly damage-free. After contacting a friend of a friend, Chuck got his hands on a never-assembled fiberglass Ferrari replica body for what he called a “reasonable price.” Cue the eclectic sequence of car-crafting events. Chuck could not leave the engine alone, so he rebuilt the 302, bored it 0.030 inches over, ported and polished the heads, added a 650-cfm Holley carb, Hooker Headers, TRW pistons, a Weiand intake, and a handful of what Chuck called “hybrid parts.”

With the powerplant running smoothly, Chuck moved on to the Bronco frame, which he had to extend 18 inches to accept the new Ferrari replica body. From there he added power steering, power brakes, and a newer-age C4 automatic transmission. The front Dana 44 and rear Ford 9-inch were left alone, Chuck felt the limited slip in the back was enough. And who could scoff at the Dana 20 transfer case?

To make room for the floaty 15/36-R15LT Dick Cepek Fun Country tires and 15x12-inch Apollo Renegade II wheels, Chuck lifted the rear with 5-inch Superlift blocks and jacked the front up 3 inches with Burbank coils. Rough Country shocks soaked up the bumpy stuff at all four corners.

To finish his project, Chuck assembled a buildsheet that reads like a rummage sale at the local wrecking yard. The Land Shark received an alternator from a Lincoln Continental, a Chevy Suburban heater core, a Ford truck blower motor, the instrument panel from a Kenworth rig, a Chevy Vega handbrake, two-thirds of a Jeep Wrangler rollbar, a Cadillac Eldorado telescopic tilt-steering column, the gas tank filler neck from a Pinto, an MGB windshield, taillights from a Chevy Impala, and front turn signals snatched from a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Chuck wasn’t finished yet. He wrapped the interior in tan tuck-and-roll Naugahyde artificial leather, imported some French Carpathian Elm for the dashboard, and painted the Ferrari facade Fleet Yellow, Corvette Red, and accented with IROC Blue.

After a test ride, Chuck reported the Land Shark was “difficult to drive, stop, steer, and shift”—otherwise, it performed like a dream. He also reminded us that the ’49 Hudson was still sitting somewhere in the Minnesota woods—perhaps a future parts donor? We trust he worked out the demons because the Land Shark sure looked sharp ripping through the dirt. Have any kit car stories with 4x4 happy endings? Shoot us a message at editor@fourwheeler.com and let us know.

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