For some reason, we all remember our parents' cars from our childhood. Burned into Duane McClanahan's memory is his dad's '68 Ford Bronco. "My dad was a drag racer and a Ford man. My first off-road experience was when my dad bought a brand-new 1968 Ford Bronco factory Roadster. I fell in love with that thing," McClanahan says. He recalls that his dad was in a four-wheel drive club called the "Golden Ground Grippers" and wheeling and racing was the norm.
The Bronco had such a profound affect on McClanahan that when he was 16 years old he purchased a '69 Bronco. It had been rolled and "was a mess." He repaired all the bodywork and rewired the rig. He installed a freshly rebuilt 289ci V-8 and enjoyed his own personal Bronco. "What a fun first car," he remembers.
Years passed. Marriage and a daughter came into McClanahan's life. In 1997, the Bronco bug bit again and McClanahan restored a ratted-out '73 Bronco to trail-ready condition. It had a 351W V-8, C4 trans, Dana 20 transfer case, Detroit Lockers, and 35s. The rig served him well, but eventually succumbed to heavy trail use. It was replaced by a Bruiser chassis from Avalanche Engineering. This rig was built-to-the-hilt, but it didn't have any Bronco DNA. "I loved that rig, but you guessed it, I wanted an early Bronco," McClanahan says.
Which brings us to the incredible rig you're looking at. It's a wonder of modern, innovative off-road tech combined with a splash of classic Bronco. McClanahan says he has to thank his wife Cheryl for her understanding when he said, "Hey babe, this won't cost that much to add." He says that happened a lot. He also says he was inspired by his daughter Shelby for how her eyes light up every time they go wheeling.
Owner/Hometown:Duane McClanahan/Frederick, Colorado
Vehicle/Model: '73 Bronco buggy
Estimated value: Priceless
Type: GM 6.0L V-8
Aspiration: TBI, custom exhaust with Magnaflow muffler
Output, hp/torque (estimated): 380/400
Transmission: TH400, Derale cooler
Transfer Case: Atlas 5.0, 32-spline
Front: Four-link, King Performance Series 2.0 three-stage remote-reservoir coilover
Rear: Four-link, King Performance Series 2.0 three-stage remote-reservoir coilover
Front: Dana 60, Superior chrome-moly inner and outer axleshafts/ARB Air Locker
Rear: GM 14-bolt, C&M Performance Machine 300M axleshafts, Wilwood disc brakes/Yukon spool Ring and pinion: 4.88:1
Wheels: 17x9 Walker Evans Racing aluminum beadlocks
Tires: 39x13.5-17 BFGoodrich Krawlers Red Label