Looking for an early Bronco that hasn't fallen to the wrath of the corrosion gods that's also within your price range? It's slim pickings out there, to the point where it might seem easier to just build one from scratch. Well, that's what we did, and we banged it all out in a week—enter Four Wheeler's incredible Week to Wheelin' Vintage Bronco Build, presented by Golden Star Classic Auto Parts.
This was slated to be our biggest Week to Wheelin' yet, because our vintage Bronco would be built piece by hand-assembled piece. We started with a daunting pile of parts. Everything from front and back bumpers, wheels to wiper blades, and brake lines to body mounts was stacked in the MotorTrend Group Tech Center. Over the next week, we saddled up to the task of turning those parts into a living, breathing Bronco, culminating with the celebratory burnout. However, before we dig into the mountain of parts, let's take a trip to Plain City, Ohio, where Classic Truck Supply brought our vintage Bronco body into the world.
The experts at Classic Truck Supply like to get their hands dirty and are no strangers to full custom projects, including building an '85 C10 for the LMC Truck Nationals Giveaway with our sister publication Classic Trucks. Classic Truck Supply is also a go-to connection for many early Bronco goodies—air conditioning units, mirrors, steel body kits, complete builds, and more. This time the mission was to create a vintage Bronco body using sheetmetal from Golden Star Classic Auto Parts, sculpt it to perfection with 3M body products, and then apply a custom BASF paintjob. We'll take you through some highlights of the extensive process as the team at Classic Truck Supply built and painted a brand-new (yet vintage) early Bronco body for our 2019 Week to Wheelin'.
Jeff Good and Merik Vlas started piecing together the Bronco puzzle by laying panels of Golden Star Classic Auto Parts sheetmetal into place. Based in Lewisville, Texas, Golden Star Classic Auto Parts specializes in making replacement components for timeless cars and trucks, including factory-spec sheetmetal for early Broncos.
Classic Truck Supply's custom-built jig has fixed mounting points for the body and sliding pieces to hold the Bronco's floor and door panels. The jig was an integral part of the process.
The Bronco's firewall was made up of four separate pieces, shown clamped together here and soon to be welded into position.
Built exactly to OEM specs, the jig helped Jeff ensure the doorposts were mounted perfectly, helping the doors to latch like a dream.
David Chapman verified alignment of all the panels once the doors and fenders were acquainted with the wheelwells, bed, and firewall.
Classic Truck Supply worked closely with WASCO, a distributor of 3M and BASF products, to procure all necessary materials for the Bronco's paint and bodywork. Merik mixed the 3M Platinum Plus body filler putty and hardener, and then he applied it to the Bronco's body. His first passes established the rough body lines, with the further swipes of the hard card fine-tuning the hard lines and contours. He then refined the finish even further with 3M sandpaper.
Looking at the body, one might say, "That's a lot of mud," but Classic Truck Supply reminded us that this is common practice to ensure there are no waves or distortions in the body.
When all the body lines were sculpted and the filler was sanded down, Adam Holderman, owner of Classic Truck Supply, manned the forklift while Merik guided the body into the paint booth. First up, the Bronco received a coat of BASF primer, which was then sanded down in preparation for the next coat.
David Chapman carefully mixed and shot the Bronco body with BASF R-M Diamont D403 Basecoat Black.
David then mixed and applied a coat of BASF Pearl, let it dry, and then, with Merik's help, taped the Bronco body in preparation for the gold two-tone.
David mixed BASF R-M Diamont BC100 and CB66V and shot it over the top third of the Bronco body, giving it a semi-opaque, gold-aluminum two-tone.
You will feel no hard line between the two colors, because after the black and gold were cured, the entire body was hit with BASF R-M DC5300 clearcoat, and then it was wet-sanded and polished to produce an even finish and that sought-after glossy shine.
A custom hand-painted red pinstripe went in around the Bronco body, tying together the gold and black as a final touch.
Here you can see our early Bronco body and hardtop sitting in Ohio—painted, waxed, complete, and awaiting the journey to the MotorTrend Tech Center in California.