Ford Bronco 'Dust Devil'

The first recorded off-road vehicles appeared at the beginning of the 20th century for specific applications such as exploration, forestry and infrastructure building. Development spiked in World War II with the introduction of the Jeep and other vehicles suited to the battlefield. The concept grew in popularity in post-war America as people snapped up surplus military vehicles, and the hobby of modifying them for recreational purposes spread across the country. Flash forward to August 1965 when Ford Vice President and General Manager Donald N. Frey announced the new 1966 Bronco. The new Bronco was everything buyers had asked for from Ford: a dual-purpose vehicle that could carry the family in style while still being sturdy enough to go anywhere and do almost anything. Of the three versions offered, the roadster, the sport utility and the wagon, the roadster immediately drew the attention of the hard-core off-road crowd, including both recreational and race-oriented enthusiasts. Like hot rodding, off-roading developed through the efforts of enthusiast clubs, magazines and aftermarket suppliers, and Bronco fans were a huge segment of the market. KbarS Bronco Specialties in Las Vegas, Nevada, was one of the most famous suppliers in the country, much as Eckler’s focused its business on the Tri-Five and Late Great Chevy community. This custom roadster-style Bronco from the Rick Baker Ford Collection is one of two created by KbarS for Dirt Devil Magazine. It is powered by a 170 CI inline-6 engine modified with a cam, intake, head and exhaust header from Clifford Performance. Equipped with four-wheel drive and a Hurst-shifted 3-speed manual transmission, it packs the full load of off-road goodies: cut-out doors, dual shocks, lift kit, fender flares, pre-runner bumpers and roll cage, dual fuel tanks, a bed-mounted tire carrier and lockouts. Finished in Pearl White with Blue accents and a Blue soft top, it still wears the hand-painted Gold-leaf lettering applied for the magazine. It may be a curiosity—built by a company that no longer exists for a magazine that no longer exists—but this good-looking little workhorse is a Bronco lover’s dream machine.


- One of two Dust Devil Broncos built by KbarS Bronco Specialties in Las Vegas, Nevada for Dirt Devil Magazine
- 170 CI straight 6-cylinder engine
- Clifford Performance Parts cam, intake, head and exhaust
- 3-speed transmission
- Hurst shifter
- 4-wheel drive
- Pearl White paint with Blue accents
- Blue soft top
- Pre runner roll bar
- Door cutouts
- Dual shocks and lift kit
- Fender flares and lockouts
- Off road tire carrier
- Gold leaf hand lettering

Source: Mecum Auctions as part of the Indianapolis event in May, 2015

Photo Credits: Carol Duckworth

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