Not often since the heady days of Carol Shelbys 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 Hugheys 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 Garys 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.
Cobys Bronco is a real sleeper: a powerful rig with tons of articulation that looks quite harmless until it bites.