1. home
  2. features
  3. 1971 Ford Bronco: Get the skinny on this narrowed Bronco

1971 Ford Bronco: Get the skinny on this narrowed Bronco

Narrow Minded

Harry WagnerPhotographer, Writer

It isn’t uncommon for wheelers to add wider axles to their rigs. Whether it’s Toyota axles under a Samurai or 1-ton axles under a TJ, the benefit is not only stronger axle assemblies but also pushing the tires out to help keep the sheetmetal away from rocks and other obstacles. Jes Lewis took a different approach to keeping rocks away from the sheetmetal of his 1971 Ford Bronco. “Wider axles aren’t always helpful on many of the Sierra Nevada trails that I frequent,” he shared. So instead of wider axles, he narrowed the body of his Bronco by eight inches. The surgery was so well done that it is difficult to even notice at first glance.

Removing metal from the hood, tub, windshield frame, and bumpers isn’t as easy as just chopping eight inches out of the center though, and Jes spent a lot of long nights in the garage. Fortunately his wife, Melissa, is very understanding and supportive. “In order to retain the transmission tunnel we took four inches out of each side of the tub,” Lewis explains. The Bronco he cut into thirds has been in the family for over 30 years, originally purchased by his grandfather. “It gets used, but I didn’t want to beat it up and dent it either.” The narrowed Bronco fits just about anywhere without a scratch, making all of the hours of body work worthwhile.

Tech Specs

1971 Ford Bronco
Drivetrain
Engine: 5.0L V-8
Transmission: NP435 four-speed manual
Transfer Case: Dana 20 w/ Rock Eater gears
Front Axle: Dana 44 w/ 4.10 gears and ARB Air Locker
Rear Axle: Ford 9-Inch w/ 4.10 gears and Detroit Locker
Suspension
Springs & Such:
Tires & Wheels: 37x12.50R17 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2 on 17x9 Walker Evans Racing beadlock
Steering: PSC steering box, hydraulic-assist ram, pump, and reservoir
Lighting: Peterson LED headlights, Rigid Industries 20-inch LED light bar, LUX LED rock lights
Other Stuff: Narrowed body, narrowed Hanson bumpers, Griffin aluminum radiator, Warn XD90009 winch, Factor55 thimble, 775 Fabrication roll cage, Viair air compressor, Optima Red Top battery, PRP heated suspension seats, 12Volt Unlimited switch panel, Magnaflow exhaust, Line-X interior, Hydrotech hydroboost brakes, Speed Hut digital gauges