This Ford Bronco Ranger is a Flawless ‘70s Survivor
Some cars lead better lives than others. While many get put through the ringer of high-mileage commutes, brutal northern winters, or salty coastal breezes, others are used rather sparingly. They’re kept unmodified and carefully tucked away in garages. And this would appear to be one of those rare birds—an astonishingly clean 1979 Ford Bronco Ranger XLT.
According to its owner, the two-door Ford Bronco was originally sold new in Shreveport, Louisiana, only to head to sunny California a short three months later. Over the past 37 years, that’s where it has remained, until now that is. The unrestored ’79 Bronco recently hit the eBay auction block, and asks an eye-opening $43,000 for its unblemished state.
While the Ford Bronco survived a total of 30 years and five generations, this vintage of Bronco is particularly interesting. In the 1970s, truck-based full-size SUVs like the Chevrolet Blazer and Dodge Ramcharger were really catching on with customers, eventually encroaching on Bronco market share. To fend off its domestic aggressors, in 1978 Ford redesigned the Bronco to share its looks, chassis, and drivetrain with the larger F-100 pickup truck. Up until its end in 1996, the Bronco would keep this F-series relationship. This specific second-generation look was only kept for the 1978 and 1979 model years, and it forms a rather nice blend between the original Bronco’s 1960s good-looks and simplicity, and the later F-series bruisers that followed.
Noted to be a higher-spec Ranger XLT model, the car’s invoice reads like a sepia-tinted “how we’d spec it” list, complete with Ford’s smaller 351ci Cleveland V8 (a 400ci V8 was an option), as well as four-wheel drive, skid plates, tow hooks, air-conditioning, a four-speed manual, and a larger fuel tank. No, these were not fuel sippers. According to the listing, the owner believes this Bronco’s shade of Dark Jade Metallic paint to be original, and further notes that they don’t think the removable hardtop has ever been… well, “removed.” The odometer reads 97,664 miles. From a collector’s standpoint, the first-generation Ford Broncos remain the most popular and sought-after models, however as the years pass these first ’78 and ’79 “Big Broncos” may pull equal in value.