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The Scout, which Ford clearly couldn’t avoid copying to a very substantial degree when they were designing their new-for 1966 Bronco, had appeared back in 1961. Ford sized the Bronco to be smaller and lighter than the Scout, with a petite 92″ wheelbase vs. To underscore the compact and Mustang-esqe feel, the Bronco base engine was the 170 cubic inch (2.8 L) six. The reality is, it seems like about 95% of Broncos have had at least had their petite rear wheel openings enlarged. Ford’s advertising from 1966 for the Bronco has a decidedly split-personality aspect to it.
Chevy took a different route to get into the nascent SUV game, by shortening a K10 4×4 pickup and giving it a removable top. But sometimes those silvery looking things sticking out of the steering columns do get left there after a conversion. My grandfather (yeah the guy with the 67 Mustang) owned one of these early Broncos with a manual trans.
I always admired how Ford came up with that wheelcover design that went on the big Galaxies but still had a big enough cone coming out and a big enough hole to accommodate the front locking hubs. The Bronco was definitely a reaction to the Early Scout, but they definitely wanted to keep the option of stealing Jeep sales.
The fact that they slipped in a V8 made sure us Scout guys got one too, and certainly influenced the development of the Scout II.
Having driven them both I can say for certain that a V8 Bronco is much more sporty and nimble being lighter and having a quicker revving engine. One thing to consider about the 170 engine choice is that the Scout trudged along with that 152 in its early years when Ford was developing the Bronco and the Jeep was 4cyl too. I always wondered, though, why Ford didn’t break out one of their OHV fours, that they had in the stationary-powerplant catalog, to use in this model. There were some Broncos prepped by Bill Stroppe which did well in Mexican off-road races, e.g. As I understand it, the 1st generation Bronco and the Bronco II were nearly identical in their dimensions. And while on the subject, I will not own a 4WD that does not have a manual shift transfer case and manual locking hubs. When you think of TLC4x4 in Southern California, typically a Ford Bronco wouldn’t be the first truck that comes to mind. Sign up for The Wrench, our email newsletter, and we'll deliver news and updates straight to your inbox!
Her Shadow had been a good car for her father and for her for a couple more years, but all of a sudden it just started falling apart. Built in an era when Chrysler as well as others had been struggling to adjust to more environmentally friendly paints, the blue paint flaked off leaving random patches of primer showing. The one that caught my eye was a matte black 1989 Ford Taurus SHO with a slightly beat up leather interior and five speed manual gearbox. The other candidate was a 1988 Ford Bronco II in white dotted with (many) surface rust spots.
By reputation, the Bronco II is a fine off-roader but overheating is not generally a desirable attribute in an off-road capable vehicle.
We did a lot of highway driving at the time and the overheating issue generally didn’t rear its ugly head on the open road, but we did have a big scare in it. Yesterday we had an early exploder in the shop for tires and from looking for the outside I was impressed with its very little rust and clean frame. During that timeframe (1986-89), I’d take a Jeep Cherokee over the Bronco II and even the Chevy S10 Blazer. The early XJs of that era where not all that much better, with the weaksauce GM V6, electrical gremlins, AMC dealer network. These were very well known to be evil-handling in crosswinds or abrupt control inputs such as an emergency maneuver. Fun fact: While the Bronco II and Ranger of that era shared a suspension, one could buy a Lift Kit for Ranger, but not Bronco II. It sounds like your overheating problem was the fan clutch, which I saw a couple of times back in the day. Ive only got limited experience with the bronco II but for a year I was stuck with its cousin, a ’87 Ranger. In the fall of 1987 I ordered an Eddie Bauer Bronco II to replace my ’84 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z. I have long figured that there few purchases riskier than an inexpensive used car from a dealer. I still see a few with the composite headlights but the early seamed beam headlight ones seem to be quite rare these days. Funny how the International Scout and Original Bronco never had roll over issues in it’s lifetime. Come nearly every rain event; even a damp, foggy day, would see the truck start to buck and bounce as if it lost a cylinder, then another, then another. Voila une de ces histoires qui font le charme du marche americain des voitures de collection. Instead of trying to imitate GM like with the Edsel fiasco, finding (or creating) unexploited niches was the name of the new game.
A rather hoary little beast, it was the first to bring a modern (boxy) look to the Jeep category. The Scout had a few compromises, like its half-a-V8 four cylinder engine, and a ride that was pretty rude. With the Bronco’s light weight and the light little 289 or 302 under the hood, the Bronco lived up to its name, and the association to the Mustang.

Ah  yes, those were the days when these 4x4s could be partially disassembled and let their inner Jeep run free. But it had to settle for second place behind the Jeep for the next couple of years, until Chevy redefined the SUV rules of the game. For ride comfort and freeway handling though I’ll take a SII with a 345 holding down its front end.
And the original wheel covers really make it swoon-worthy, and it’s even the right color. It was pretty neat, it really stood out from the other cars in the teachers’ lot, which included first-gen Voyagers and Caravans, an Aerostar and a Plymouth Caravelle.
6 cylinder, I would imagine the 170 was the base engine so as to keep the base price (super) low as another instance where the base powerplant was barely adequate thereby making an upsell to the V8 that much more attractive.
The couple looks like she’s giving him an earful while the kid screams at a… walrus? Known for their best in class restorations of classic Toyota Land Cruisers, TLC has recently prepped and serviced a 1977 Ford Bronco half cab configuration that is for sale.
Pricing, item availability, and anything else pertaining to advertised items are the sole liability of the individual seller. There were a number of electrical issues that ranged from annoying, like headlights that had to have their wires jiggled a bit to being coaxed into working; to dangerous, like wipers that only sporadically worked. The engine would have many fits of overheating even more worryingly it would die at seemingly random times. Being young and ignorant we didn’t keep back any of that amount for such mundane things like repairs or tires but went looking for something at the maximum end of our budget. While I had a desire to try out an off road adventure there was an additional reason I didn’t venture onto any trails with the Bronco. To set the stage I will mention that we live in one of the most windy places in North America and that the wind is quite consistent going from west to east. It was our first big purchase together, giving us six months or so of somewhat reliable transportation, and without costing too much to own. On driving it into the shop I noticed the headliner was discolored and sagging in a bunch of spots. Even the 1st few years of the now legendary AMC 232 I6 had issues with the fuel injection system.
A few years back I was westbound on Highway 3 out of Lethbridge when the wind blew over a tractor trailer in front of me.
The Bronco II had to be ordered because I wanted the 5 speed manual and Deep Shadow Blue paint. But when you consider the Bronco II checked in during the time of the Audi unintended acceleration debacle I begin to understand. It was actually cheaper to buy an entire rebuilt engine from NAPA then deal with Ford in buying just 2 cylinder heads.
Original Broncos and Scouts tended to be owned by folks who realized they drove different than the typical family sedan.
My parents bought an 88 with a 5-speed around 1990 or so and it was in the family, passing on to my brother in 1997 or so. Dick Pierson, agent immobilier de son etat et pilote VHC a ses heures, recoit le mandat de vendre un entrepot. The Bronco’s front suspension actually had coil springs, which gave it greater travel and better articulation than the stiff-legged leaf-spring front ends of the Jeep and Scout. But the little Bronco soldiered on, virtually unchanged through 1977, before it reappeared in a big-boy version too. Roadster, Cab top, Full top, folding full length soft top with the ability to change between them. The longer wheel base and sway bar standard on the later models does help make freeway commuting more bearable in the SII. So while the 170 seems small and under powered today when introduced it wasn’t compared to the competition and they all relied on their 2sp transfer case and usually pretty steep axle gearing to give them their off road ability.
The window washer fluid spray was at least consistent in not functioning and I can recall many times stopping at the side of the highway to smear snow over the windshield in an attempt to clean it. Some sort of electrical gremlin was no doubt responsible as it would start like nothing was wrong hours or sometimes days later. Inside instead of the leather in the SHO, there was loads of velour in that oh-so-eighties shade of whorehouse red. Sitting in the parking lot which had a bit of a downhill slope I suddenly noticed a rather large black puddle coming out from under the truck. The 2.9L engine put out a decent 140hp and coupled with a five-speed manual gearbox, gave reasonable performance.
On the negative side, it could be rather embarrassing with its loud knocking and I could never trust it enough to take its tires off road.
I looked at the roof and noticed the around where the roof rack mounts was rusted through at all four corners. One thing the Cherokee had that the Bronco II and the S10 Blazer didn’t was a 4-door bodystyle. The little V-6 was eventually developed into an excellent engine but the Bronco II was not one of Ford’s finer efforts. Joan Claybrook, NHSTA, competing TV news magazines trying to out do each other in uncovering the latest evil scandal perpetrated by evil capitalists and suddenly you see the fruits of a litigious society in the making. These Bronco IIs often replaced a small family car and were perhaps driven in a similar fashion. Sure, the Jeep was the original, and the Scout had already jumped in, but the water was warm; what could go wrong? But then the Jeep was obviously in Ford’s gunsight, and Ford was riding a wave of success with its smaller cars.

I thought it was a 1960s model because of the color and ’66 Galaxie wheel covers, but I seem to remember him telling me it was a ’73. The body straight with all original body panels and the interior features stock bucket seats with original upholstery and an upgraded Tuffy center console.
The first vehicle my wife (then fiance) and I bought together was the replacement for her very unreliable 1990 Dodge Shadow, but it turned out to be only marginally more trustworthy. I wanted to buy from a private seller to get more bang for our buck but she felt comfort in buying from a dealer. Unfortunately my wife was quite down on the car, mostly, because of a few tears in the front seats. With the exception of the heating vents being full of leaves, the interior was actually in relatively immaculate shape. While certainly not as responsive as the 2.5L four cylinder and five-speed in her Dodge Shadow, both shared an occasional overheating issue. In fact every time I drove it, I mentally prepared myself to call the scrapyard to haul it away and walk home. Here rust usually starts from the bottom and works its way up so the roof rust (and that the truck was not rusty anywhere else) was interesting. I drove it until the spring of 1990 when I traded it for a ’91 Eddie Bauer Explorer 4 door (also with a 5-speed manual). Something that soured me was the marriage of Ford EEC-IV engine controls with a carburetor. I believe Ford’s solution was a plastic vent for the distributor cap, supposedly to vent out the moisture inside the distributor that built up until it shorted out the ignition voltage pathway.
Served us quite well all those years but I remember the giant rear windows cooking the back seat on hot summer days (it didn’t have AC).
La seule particularite est que l’entrepot en question abritte une floppee de Muscle Cars! The Ford Bronco is listed for $34,500 and you can get more information and photos on the TLC4x4 website. I offered up the idea of slapping on a couple seat covers but this only further insulted her aesthetic sensibilities.
We’d come up behind a slow moving semi and just as she was finishing passing it, a great gust of wind blew across the front of our car (the rear being shielded from the wind by the semi likely made the situation worse). The Bronco II had been so reliable that my brother got it from the dealer in a trade for his ’89 Chrysler LeBaron.
It just never seemed to work out, be it emissions test failures during it’s annual inspection up to going through EGR valves and the sensor that sits atop it like it was an annual maintenance requirement.
The fix seemed to work to some degree, but there were those one or two occasions where those nasty operating manners would pop up.
Il s’agit maintenant de vendre ses belles machines, avant de pouvoir vendre l’entrepot! The pickings in our price range were pretty slim as two grand at a dealer does not go very far. The flaw was fixed in later 2.9L V6 production years with a new head, but only after the little Bronco II was out of production.
Shifting out of 4L (four wheel drive low range) required shifting to to 2H (two wheel drive) then backing up a little to unlock the hubs.
While it certainly felt like we tipped onto two wheels, we likely weren’t but there was still definitely that sick feeling of being out of control for several seconds before she manged to get the Bronco back under control. It likely wouldn’t have worked out much better on the reliability front but I bet it would have been a lot more fun. She had an odd passion for late eighties and early nineties Cavaliers at the time but after attempting to test drive a particularly horrid example I managed to dodge that bullet. The sight of our vehicle on the end of a tow truck was familiar, but at least this time it was a different vehicle.
I would not be surprised if ours had those issues and more because if you left it idling or got stuck in traffic for too long it would start getting rather warm and making some extremely loud knocking noises (banging, really). There was an investigation into Bronco II rollovers in 1989 but it concluded rollover rates were similar to other SUVs of the era.
We drove my Z28 for the next few summer months then upped the budget considerably when we bought our next joint vehicle. After managing to strike old Cavaliers from the list I wanted something a bit sporty and she was enamored with a commanding view offered by a truck or SUV. The dealer never did tell us the root cause of the issue but I suspect the technician who had done the oil change only finger tightened the oil pan drain plug.
We were scheduled to drive to up to Calgary which was a good two and a half hour drive with some friends. A local Honda dealership, oddly enough, had a something for each of us both in Ford flavor and late 80s vintage. I don’t believe it ever stranded us again after the first day but I could never trust it. That was fine until it came time to head out and I couldn’t get it back into two wheel drive.
About ten minutes of shifting and backing up I was finally able to unlock two wheel drive (and highway speeds) but that little bit of showing off sure backfired that day. For my 20 mile commute to school, 23 mpg was sad indeed considering that the 15 mpg from a Jeep was perfectly acceptable.

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