Listen to this article

First-gen Ford Broncos in good condition or just after high-quality restorations are going up in price in recent years. When the right example with motorsport provenance comes up for auction, then the numbers can be shocking. As an example, check out the 1969 Ford Bronco nicknamed 'Big Oly' that Mecum recently auctioned for $1.87 million.

Just from first glance, you can easily see that this is not a normal '69 Bronco. Famed American racing driver Parnelli Jones drove this modified rig to victory in the Baja 1000 in 1971 and 1972. It also won the 1973 Baja 500 and 1973 Mint 400.

Gallery: 1969 Ford Bronco Big Oly Parnelli Jones Baja 1000 Winner 1971-72

Jones had run the Baja 1000 in 1968 in a mostly stock Bronco and realized he needed a more specialized vehicle if he was going to win the grueling event. The result of this desire for something more rugged was the Big Oly, which got its name from the sponsorship from the Olympia Brewing Company.

While the vehicle looks vaguely like a Bronco, it's easy to see there are extensive modifications. The changes include a chromoly tube frame with a body using a mix of fiberglass and aluminum pieces. This contributes to the low weight of just 2,620 pounds. There was a distinctive wing above the occupants.

An overhauled suspension has significantly more travel than stock. A Ford 351-cubic-inch (5.752-liter) V8 makes 390 horsepower (291 kilowatts) and runs through a Ford C6 three-speed automatic transmission.

Some of the tweaks are clever features to aid in racing off-road, rather than boosting raw performance. For example, there are integrated water tanks in the back for keeping the driver and co-driver hydrated

This is not the only Bronco to sell for over $1 million at auction this year. In March, the first example of the revived SUV brought $1.075 million at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

Got a tip for us? Email: