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This Custom 1974 Half-cab Bronco has Some Serious Kick

No Regrets

Bruce W. SmithPhotographer, Writer

Sometimes trying to scratch the itch to have one’s dream ride get to the point where you lay all the chips on the table and dive in head first takes a little time. It took Mike Johnson nearly 20 years to finally make that move – and he has no regrets.

We wouldn’t either after seeing how the “rotisserie restoration” of his beloved ’74 half-cab Bronco, painted a brilliant Nissan Z Blue, turned out. This classic 4x4 is built for running the Oregon Dunes with a 425hp 408 Windsor stroker for power and a stretched cab for plenty of elbow room.

Running the sand also requires a lot of suspension, which Mike addressed with a Wild Horses’ Rock Crawler 5.5-inch 11-leaf rear springs and a matching BC Broncos coil suspension up front.

Restorations at this level are expensive and time-consuming undertakings. But Mike says he has no regrets: “It’s taken me a couple years to get it done and I have a much lighter wallet,” he said after we had spent the afternoon on the sand. “But I love the way it runs, drives, wheels and looks, and I’ll probably never want to change a thing. Well, maybe….” —DSOR

AT A GLANCE

GENERAL
Vehicle: ’74 Ford Bronco Halfcab
Owner: Mike Johnson
Stomping Grounds: Oregon Dunes
DRIVETRAIN
Engine: Ford TBI 408 Windsor
Transmission: C4
Transfer case: Dana 20/203 w/ doubler kit
Front axle/differential: ¾-ton Dana 44, 4.56 gears, double-trussed, F-150 disc brakes, ARB Air Locker, 31-spline axles, Warn hubs
Rear axle/differential: Ford 9-inch, 4.56 gears, ARB Air locker, Cadillac disc brakes, 31-spline axles
SUSPENSION
Front: 5.5-inch BC Bronco coils, Rancho shocks
Rear: 5.5-inch, 11-leaf Wild Horses Rock Crawler, Rancho shocks
Steering: Tilt Ididit column, 2wd F-150 steering box inside the frame with tie-rod over
TIRES/WHEELS
Tires: 37x14.5R15 Toyo Open Country MTs
Wheels: 15x10 American Racing
MISCELLANEOUS
Interior: Stretched fiberglass halfcab, custom upholstered Corbeau racing seats, polished aluminum tonneau cover
Cool stuff: 20-gallon stainless steel gas tank, stainless steel rocker boxes; enlarged wheel openings, 425hp full-roller crate motor