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'73 Ford Bronco

Posted in Project Vehicles on January 1, 1999
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Photographers: Cole QuinnellCraig Perronne
p74417 large+1973 Ford Bronco+Front Passenger Side
p74428 large+1973 Ford Bronco+Driver Side
One of three external tranny coolers sits in front of a Dana 44 which is filled with 4.88 gears and a Truetrac. A stock F-150 axleshaft on the driver side and a custom Wild Horses axleshaft on the passenger side reduce the chance of breakage. One of three external tranny coolers sits in front of a Dana 44 which is filled with 4.88 gears and a Truetrac. A stock F-150 axleshaft on the driver side and a custom Wild Horses axleshaft on the passenger side reduce the chance of breakage.
The 423 ci of injected Ford translate into   14-second passes at the strip. A Carquest booster helps the Chevy front and Ford rear brakes corral the pony. The 423 ci of injected Ford translate into 14-second passes at the strip. A Carquest booster helps the Chevy front and Ford rear brakes corral the pony.
The stock 9-inch housing was fortified with 4.88 gears, a Detroit Locker, and big-bearing 28-spline Moser axles. The Rhino lined High Country rear bumper with swing away tire carrier takes the brunt of abuse, saving the PPG paint on the tailgate. The stock 9-inch housing was fortified with 4.88 gears, a Detroit Locker, and big-bearing 28-spline Moser axles. The Rhino lined High Country rear bumper with swing away tire carrier takes the brunt of abuse, saving the PPG paint on the tailgate.
Full instrumentation and a custom rollcage offer safety while Toyota seats and a Clarion CD player make the ride more enjoyable. A bikini top pulls summertime duty, but Coby bolts on a hardtop in the winter. Full instrumentation and a custom rollcage offer safety while Toyota seats and a Clarion CD player make the ride more enjoyable. A bikini top pulls summertime duty, but Coby bolts on a hardtop in the winter.
The Bronco ramps 1,300 thanks to Wild Horses 31/2-inch coils, 11-leaf-pack Nationals, and a custom radius arm. The pony is shod with 33-inch rubber on the street, but 36-inch bias-ply Swampers are laced up for trail duty. The Bronco ramps 1,300 thanks to Wild Horses 31/2-inch coils, 11-leaf-pack Nationals, and a custom radius arm. The pony is shod with 33-inch rubber on the street, but 36-inch bias-ply Swampers are laced up for trail duty.

Not often since the heady days of Carol Shelby’s Cobra Mustangs has such a rompin’ engine been stuffed into such a purposeful platform. However, while the domain of the Mustang was on the street, Coby Hughey’s ’73 Bronco romps off-road with authority. Coby began the buildup four years ago and is still going strong. A 423ci Ford replaced the factory 302. The torque-plated, align-honed, and decked ’69 351W block holds a 4.125-inch stroke crank and lightened 6.25-inch Eagle Rods. Custom Ross ultralight forged slugs and hi-flow ported Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads yield a 10.5:1 compression, and a Crower cam bumps 2.02-inch and 1.60-inch valves.

A Ford Motorsports 70mm mass air sensor calibrated for 30-pound injectors works in conjunction with an Edelbrock throttle body. Ford Motorsports sensors ensure that everything works as it should.

Backing up this 450hp monster is the factory ’73 C4 beefed with a hardened input shaft, steel planetaries, and full metallic clutches with Kevlar bands. A B&M Shift Improver Kit manipulates the Mobil 1 synthetic tranny fluid. The tranny is kept below boiling with three external coolers.

The model 20 transfer case does an admirable job splitting all that power, but plans are in the works for an Atlas II. Heavy-duty Six States driveshafts connect to the factory Dana 44 and Ford 9-inch rear.

As you may expect, the suspension has been tweaked and modified for maximum flex. Wild Horses 3 ½-inch coils hold up the front while 11-leaf-pack Nationals from Wild Horses bring up the rear. Single Rancho RS 9000s pull damping duty. It should come as no surprise that axlewrap was a problem, so a custom traction bar was installed by Gary’s Custom Chassis and it does not affect articulation. The trickest part of the suspension is a custom radius arm that greatly frees up the front. The radius arm on one side was cut immediately in front of its attaching point on the axle. A spherical bearing was installed, and the arm was bolted back on. The result of these mods is an RTI of 1,300.

The body has been taken down to bare metal, restored, and fortified with steel from a scrap yard. BMW Black Diamond Metallic was shot and covered with several layers of clearcoat. A 3-inch body lift was sandwiched between the tub and the frame, and everything was bolted back together.

Inside, stock seats from a Toyota MR2 flank a dual-compartment center console. Two-tone Rhino Lining covers the doors, floors, dash, and tailgate. Finally, a crankin’ Clarion CD head controls enough speakers to drown out the motor.

Coby’s Bronco is a real sleeper: a powerful rig with tons of articulation that looks quite harmless…until it bites.

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