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Top 5 Reasons Why Classic Broncos Are Extremely Expensive

Top 5 Reasons Why Classic Broncos Are Extremely Expensive

Even if you aren't a car enthusiast and don't follow the market, you might be aware that classic cars are big business and that their annual sales at auctions and dedicated sites reach insane levels.

Not that long ago, cherished classic machines were just old cars, often discarded and left to rot. However, after some time, they became recognized as valuable vintage objects and became sought-after by car fans all over the world.

There are numerous reasons why a particular model becomes desirable to collectors. In most cases, it's because of its rarity, unique technical solutions, or place in automotive history, but sometimes it becomes cherished for its flaws or quirks.

Yes, it's totally understandable why the 1965 Shelby GT350 is universally adored and has a high price tag, but it's also confusing why there are more and more people that dedicate time, money, and effort to restoring mid-70s AMC Pacers.  

However, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and we aren't here to judge anybody's tastes, but to analyze the enormous spike in the value of classic 1966 to 1977 Ford Broncos.

This is not a new trend, and for several years now, classic Broncos have been among the most sought-after classic cars, carrying insane prices. Perfect and well-preserved examples of earlier models, in entirely original condition, can fetch up to $100,000 at auctions.

That's crazy when you compare that price to what it cost when the 1966 Bronco first cost upon its release -- around $2,400. But that's not all; some companies performing complete, ground-up restorations and modifications charge over $200,000 for modernized, restomodded Broncos, which puts this workhorse truck in the same price range as a brand-new Ferrari! Here's why.

The Rarity

Although Ford mass-produced the first-generation Bronco for 11 years, the overall production numbers weren't that high, at least compared to modern car industry standards. During that span, Ford produced exactly 207,347 examples of the first-generation Bronco.

Ford sold the most Broncos in its first production year – 23,776, and 1975 was its worst year, with just 13,125 vehicles delivered to customers. Some models like the Bronco Roadster (chassis code U13) are very rare and extremely sought-after.  This Spartan Bronco, delivered without doors or roof, proved to be a slow seller, and Ford made only 4090 examples in total and only 212 in 1968, its final model year.


Those modest production numbers, rust issues, and the harsh life that most of those Broncos led are primary reasons why the first generation is rare nowadays and so sought-after by collectors. It's hard to tell how many survived, but the number of genuine and original examples is extremely low. Most were crudely modified, crashed, used and abused, and then sent to the junkyards.

The Cool Factor

Yes, the classic Broncos are immensely cool, and we've known it for a long time, but mainstream collectors, hipsters, and investors, only recently found out that. In the last couple of years, more and more celebrities started driving classic Broncos and spending big bucks on restored and modified examples.

The rugged charm, boxy design, powerful engine possibilities, and off-road capabilities made it very popular, and well-off buyers started pouring money into the Bronco world, which has resulted in high-end builds and rising prices.


Classic Broncos started appearing in music videos, movies, TV shows and have even had songs written about it. All of this has influenced public opinion and turned the once forgotten, rugged off-roader into many millennials' automotive dream.

Classic SUVs Are Now Bona Fide Classic Cars

The classic 1966 to 1977 Ford Bronco is not the only traditional SUV that has enjoyed a spike in prices. Models like the Toyota Cruiser FJ40, Jeep CJ-5, and Land Rover Defender are all very expensive and desirable cars.

For the older generation of car connoisseurs, which grew up in a time of sedans and coupes, SUVs are still new and niche vehicles. However, if you look around, the SUV class dominates the car market globally, and models that once established this segment are now recognized as  bona fide classics.


In America, the Ford Bronco is one of the cars that created SUV history -- that's now recognized and the model receives the respect it deserves. Of course, with that comes the high price tag, and if you want to park the granddaddy of your Ford Explorer in your driveway, you'll have to pay almost the same price.

The Right Modifications Don't Hurt Its Value

In the classic car world, originality is key. This means that an original vehicle is worth far more than a modified one, even if the latter has fewer miles on the odometer. Restoration is an expensive process, since bringing everything back to original spec is costly, time-consuming, and requires thorough knowledge and expertise. However, in the classic Bronco world, having subtle modifications will only raise the vehicle's value.


To be honest, classic Broncos weren't exactly known for their performance or comfort, and that's why modern collectors invest in engine swaps, suspension modifications, customized interiors, climate control, and so on. Even if you don't go all in for upgrades, the way  ICON or Gateway Broncos might approach things, just a few suitable modifications will help you raise your Bronco's value. It's also very helpful that there's a whole market of parts and components, from bodywork to crate engines and custom components.


Most high-priced classic cars are too valuable to be used for actual use and instead spend their days in climate-controlled garages and are rarely taken for a drive.

If you have a classic Bronco in perfect working condition, it's an excellent idea to go off-roading since this is what it was built for. Even though the classic Broncos are valuable, they are still usable as ever and should be driven as they were intended.

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Keith. T - October 28, 2021

I enjoyed your article. I have 69 Bronco. With six cyl
Will I hurt the value by installing 97 Explorer 5.0?

Mike - October 18, 2021

When I was 13 around 1982 my Dad said to go pick a car out of the ranch junk yard. I picked the 66 Bronco that had been parked for 5+ years. I still have it and it’s mechanically flawless but faded paint. I also have a 70 chevelle that’s flawless & an award winner at shows, I get 10 times + more thumbs up outta the Bronco.

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