Why do we really build rigs? What makes us spend countless hours and wages on a vehicle? Is it the desire to conquer any type of terrain imaginable? Or is it simply a desire to express our individuality and build something nobody has seen before?
For Gary Yortson of Port Coquitlam, British Colombia, it was a little of both. He wanted to build a unique vehicle that was unstoppable. He has owned Broncos for 18 years so his vehicle choice of a 71 Bronco was natural. Gary had also been modifying Broncos for just as long and wanted to take this one way beyond the average lift, lockers, and bigger tires. Garys first step was to build a frame from scratch, which gave him more freedom when building the rest of the Bronco. Tied into the frame are custom-fabricated shock hoops for the front that allow for the longest Rancho RS 9000s possible. Adjustable coil buckets up front allow for ride height adjustment and are stuffed with 3 ½-inch Wild Horses coils. This combination of parts allows for 16 inches of vertical wheel travel. Out back, Wild Horses leaf springs were used along with super-long RS 9000s to provide lots of articulation. The suspension mods made room for 35-inch Goodyear Mud Terrains on 15x8 American Racing T36s.
Axles came next on the list of mods and things got really carried away. Up front, the Dana 44 was retained but seriously modified. The housing was made into a two-piece design that allows the axle to rotate where the radius arms attach, thus eliminating a major binding point on the Broncos suspension. Big axleshafts from Wild Horses were used and the pumpkin was stuffed with 4.56 gears and a Detroit Locker.
The rear Ford 9-inch was also retained but was heavily modified. New, heavier-duty tubes and end flanges were made to beef up the axles. A full-float kit and 31-spline axles from Warn upped the ante even more.
The spring pads were then designed to pivot to allow for even more flex. Finally, the centersection was stuffed with 4.56 gears and a Detroit Locker to complement the front.
A 351 Windsor was then built up to provide some ponies for the Bronco. It was stuffed with all the goodies such as forged pistons, roller rockers, a double roller timing chain, and ported heads. Compression was bumped up to 10.5:1 to unleash even more horses. What is most interesting is that the engine runs on propane through an Impco four-barrel carburetor.
Backing up the 351 is another interesting choice, a ZF five-speed transmission. It was found originally residing in an 89 Ford F-150 but happily moved to its new home in front of the original Dana 20 transfer case. A First gear ratio of 5.72:1 allows for plenty of creepy-crawly action, while the 0.72:1 Fifth gear keeps the revs happy on the highway. After the 20 rests an NP203 T-case to bring the crawl ratio down to a steep 127:1.
A full fiberglass body from Malotte was then attached to the frame. Of course, it couldnt be left alone. It received larger flares and a bigger hoodscoop. The door inserts were also molded into the rest of the body to give a smooth look. Gary then made his own fiberglass half doors with removable glass windows. Truline Auto Body then fogged the body. Other outer body modifications include owner-fabbed front and rear bumpers designed to incorporate a Warn winch that can be transferred from front to rear.
After all that work, the interior still needed to be finished. A stout cage was constructed that attaches right to the frame. Jaz bucket seats and harnesses were then put into place to keep occupants secure. More fabrication took part in the form of an aluminum dash. Other trick pieces include a fold-up rear seat, a handbuilt toolbox, and a windshield that is part of the cage. If Gary Yortson was trying to build a unique rig, then he sure hit the mark. Now he gets to have the fun of seeing if it is unstoppable.