...and running free on Woodward Avenue
In feverish anticipation of the forthcoming 2020 Ford Bronco, enthusiasts of the pint-sized original off-roader (built between 1966 and 1977) and the F-Series-derived full-size Bronco alike (1978–1996) were out in force on the Avenue. Ford even arranged special parking for employee owners of Broncos, F-150s, and select other vintage Fords. Out of earshot of any PR handlers, we shook these owners down for poop on the new one, but sadly no loose lips sank any ships. Here are the stories of the five Ford employee Bronco owners we spoke with, followed by a gallery of other Broncos we snapped cruising the Avenue.
More 2018 Woodward Dream Cruise coverage:
- Cruising with Fiat-Chrysler/SRT’s Mark Trostle
- Cruising With Ford/SVT’s Hermann Salenbauch
- Cruising With Mr. Camaro, Al Oppenheiser
- Camaros, Mustangs, Mopar, and More: 2018 Woodward Dream Cruise PHOTOS
1968 Ford Bronco “The Nasty One”
The retired engine engineer owner of this car bought it new in November 1968 and used it as a snow plow for five years. After that he commenced converting it for off-road racing. He built the 302 engine with GT40 heads, a special liquid-filled harmonic balancer, and nitrous injection. When configured for off-road racing, it had dual shocks at each corner. Later he turned to drag racing and removed the second shock from each front corner. Of 56 events entered (including the Gravelrama and events at Michigan’s Silver Lake Sand Dunes area), he apparently won 47. This racing record reportedly earned him the moniker “The King,” which he says was later appropriated for NASCAR driver Richard Petty. Today the owner’s grandson is working to restore the Bronco to its former glory.
1969 Ford Bronco
The owner of this Cordova Orange beauty works in Ford’s fun department—contests and incentives. He bought it six or seven years ago and has done some suspension and transmission work. He used to off-road it a bit back in New York, but now it’s a weekend on-road cruiser. He definitely intends to order a new Bronco when they become available, and in the closest any owner came to spilling the beans, he mentioned that there’s some talk of bringing back some of the vintage colors. If Cordova isn’t among them, his second choice will be the light Brittany Blue.
1995 Ford Bronco
The female owner of this beautiful black Bronco works at the factory where the new model will be built. She absolutely, positively plans to order a new one, and it’s her fervent hope to be able to escort it down the line, cajoling her coworkers to be especially vigilant assembling her baby. She used to own a white one but tired of the O.J. Simpson chopper-chase comments. This truck was slightly lifted and in great shape when she got it five years ago, but she has since put a new 351 crate motor in it and upgraded to these wheels and tires.
1973 Ford Bronco
The owner of this lovely example of an early style Bronco bought it six years ago and has done a bit of mild restoration, added a transmission cooler, and bought these wheels to make it his own. He works for Ford’s global network for distribution, interfacing with dealers around the world, and he absolutely intends to order a new Bronco. That’ll give him one Bronco to go off-roading in, because this one is too nice for that.
1988 Ford Bronco
This Ford dealer from Western Michigan has had a full-size Bronco in his family since 1979, so it goes almost without saying that he’ll be driving a new model as soon as his dealership gets its hands on them. This 64,000-mile (103,000-km) original truck was in great shape when he bought it about five years ago. He’s just given it a general freshening up since then.