Bronco Aftermarket Wizardry | Check out These 5 Inspired Takes on the Classic Ford Bronco
As much as so many of us would love to pull a new Bronco into our garage, a number of forces have converged to make that unlikely in the near future. Ford received a huge number of reservations for the Bronco when its debut was first announced, and despite a series of delays stemming from Covid, as well as some parts supplier missteps, those would-be buyers were so enamored by Ford’s iconic SUV that an unusually high 66% of those reservations have been converted to orders. Add to that the recent glowing reviews the Ford Bronco has received from the automotive press and it looks very likely that demand for this newly introduced SUV isn’t going to wane any time soon.
Historically, the automotive aftermarket has stepped in to fill a number of voids left by manufacturers. For example, while Ford is now offering a 4-door Bronco — it’s actually proving to be more popular than the 2-door version — that was never the case before and a number of restomod fabricators, such as Maxlider Brothers Customs, created 4-door versions of the Bronco that not only satisfied this demand, but led to some singular vehicles.
Similarly, since we know that Ford won’t be exporting the Bronco to Australia or New Zealand any time soon, because of the cost of re-engineering the Bronco for right-hand drive, we can expect some ambitious shops in those countries to offer conversions for those Bronco aficionados with sufficient resources. And, of course, while Ford is in the process of weighing its options to equip the Bronco with more power — largely to put it on more equal footing with Jeep’s new Wrangler 392 Rubicon— you can bet there’ll be plenty of shops that will be happy to drop a modern Coyote engine into this new crop of Broncos to satisfy the thirst for plentiful power.
In some respects, the new Bronco has the sensibilities of a restomod itself — albeit a factory-built restomod with exacting tolerances — in that it combines classic retro-styling with cutting edge technology that, in fact, has received a positive response from the automotive press. But since it may be a while before you’ll be able to take ownership of one, let’s have a look at some of the possibilities when you put a classic Bronco in the hands of an ultra-skilled facility that specializes in combining the finest of old and new to bring out its best. We’ll also have to throw in the proverbial “if money was no object” caveat into the mix — these aftermarket specimens are uniformly spectacular, but they’ll definitely cost you.
Photo via GatewayBronco.com
This Hamel, Illinois-based company is helmed by Seth Burgett, who is first and foremost an inventor. He’s an accomplished one at that, as he has more than 40 patented and patent-pending inventions to his credit. Equal parts production specialist and creator, he builds his Broncos to exacting standards and, providing your pockets are deep enough, you can order from one of three configuration levels — the Fuelie, the Coyote and the Luxe GT — that range from about $150,000 to $300,000.
The Fuelie starts with a fully restored, road-ready frame and is powered by Ford’s potent and well-respected third generation Coyote engine. Step up to the Coyote and you get a pristine 1977 Ford Bronco with the same fuel-injected powerplant, as well as black leather high-back seats, a custom roll bar, modern air conditioning and distinctive Le Mans-inspired striping — in short, an exemplary specimen of the classic Bronco, but with all the tech needed for exhilarating and worry-free driving.
Coming in at a robust $300,000, the Gateway Luxe GT blends the Bronco’s classic vibe with state of the art performance, at the foundation of which is a supercharged Rousch Coyote 5.0ltr V8 paired with Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission. Additional customization options include a distressed leather interior, 4-link suspension, a backup camera, a premium sound system, billet aluminum wheels and a custom logo wood bed.
If you’re set on coming away with a classic Bronco that’s configured unlike any other, Gateway can also let you pick what components you want included and then build it to your chosen specs.
Photo via ClassicFordBroncos.com
Classic Ford Broncos
Operating out of Columbus, Ohio, Classic Ford Broncos also merges classic sensibilities with modern technology. Its emphasis is on configuring first generation Broncos that are made to be driven —not just gawked at. As such, you’ll find Ford’s 5.0 Coyote engine at the heart of its creations, which also underscores why so many Bronco fans were clamoring for it to be featured in sixth generation Broncos.
Inside the doors, you’ll find premium components throughout, including CFB custom leather seats and high-end Kicker audio systems.
From the looks of things, its creations generally sell out pretty quickly and hover in the mid-$200k range. They also feature a proprietary Bronco Builder that will let you configure your own ride, starting with a new, fully Ford-licensed steel body.
Photo via VelocityRestorations.com
Featuring a spacious, thoroughly-equipped facility in Cantonment, Florida, Velocity Restorations will not only bring out the best in any classic Bronco entrusted to them, but also offer its own creations. This shop is about as “full-service” as restoration and restomodding can get, building each Bronco to spec in terms of engine selection, chassis configuration and interior components and even performing custom paint jobs.
Velocity’s handiwork appears in very high demand, and it offers a wider price range than most of its colleagues.
Osprey Custom Cars
Based in Wilmington, North Carolina, Osprey specializes in transforming classic overlanding vehicles of nearly all types. Land Rover Defenders armed with Chevy LS3 engines might be considered this shop’s specialty, but put a classic Bronco in Osprey’s hands and the results are truly impressive.
A fine example would be this 1977 Ford Bronco Sport, which recently sold for about $180k. Osprey took it all the way down to its bare frame before employing its handiwork. Like most of the other resto-modded Broncos on this list, it’s powered by a Coyote 5.0 liter engine and features top tier components from bumper to bumper, including a Dana 44 front axle, modern 4-wheel power disc brakes at all four corners, a custom aluminum radiator that teams with dual electric cooling fans to keep engine temperatures down during spirited motoring and a Vintage Air climate control system to do the same for passengers.
This ’77 has obviously been configured for real-world use. It rides on a set of 18” TUFF AT gloss black alloy wheels wrapped in 35” all-terrain rubber, it’s got a tastefully elevated stance to enhance ground clearance and there’s a power winch perched on its stout Smittybuilt XRC front bumper, just in case the need to extricate itself from a challenging situation presents itself.
Photo via Classic-Recreations.com
This shop features dual locations in Yukon, Oklahoma and Garland, Texas and, while it may be known mostly for stellar Shelby Mustang creations — performed by starting with the customer’s choice of anything from a ’64 ½ through ’68 Mustang and adding an array of in-house fabricated components from there — Classic Recreations’ level of skilled craftsmanship is no less impressive when applied to classic Broncos.
While CR also custom-configures Broncos according to customers’ desires, its emphasis is mainly on creating finished results that perform just as impressively as they look. Since for Broncos, being used as intended puts a high premium on off-road agility, featured suspensions include Fox Racing coilovers, RS Fast Link front and rear 4-bar suspensions, Currie Rock Jock High Pinion Dana 44 front and 60 rear axles and more. Abundant power comes from CR’s engine of choice — Ford’s third generation Coyote engine — and offers 460 horses.
Inside the doors, you’ll find a comfort-centric driving environment, with custom TMI seats holding court in a nicely crafted leather interior. A Focal FPX 5.1200 5-channel AMP teams with Access Series speakers and a Flax Subwoofer to provide an outstanding audio experience.