This All-Original Ford Bronco is a Cheap, Blue Chip Collectible
When calculating an investment, advisors will frequently echo the same adage, “buy low, sell high”—a strategy that’s easier said than done in today’s often volatile market. As you might expect, the same ideals pertain to appreciating classic cars as well; you’ve got to get ‘em while they’re cheap. And for Ford Broncos, that time might be soon.
Born new for 1966, the rugged Ford Bronco was the forefather of today’s modern SUVs and off-road vehicles, as well as a cultural icon. The storied 4x4 led the sport utility charge for three decades, before disappearing altogether after 1996. Though if the rumors ring true, it’s poised to make a comeback by 2020. If it does, it’s not unthinkable for modern Bronco fervor to push up the values of their original first-generation ancestors, especially unrestored examples such as this.
Offered at Bonhams’ upcoming Greenwich Concours d’Elegance auction, this 1976 Ford Bronco Ranger appears to be a rather well-kept survivor from late in the original Bronco’s production run (’66 to ’77). Whereas many early Broncos were driven, enjoyed, and worked hard for multiple lifetimes—serving their intended purpose—this Bronco shows only light age and a relatively low 72,000 miles on the odometer. More or less, it’s said to be highly original. It also features some of the more sought after features that modern Ford Bronco collectors tend to look for, including the original fiberglass hardtop, air-conditioning, and the optional 302ci V8 engine (an emissions-strangled straight-six was also offered). Its expected gavel price? Between $20,000 and $25,000.
Befitting their classic status and vintage Americana image, Broncos have increasingly become the subject of high-end restorations, lower-budget customization, and cost-no-object “resto-mods.” However, diehard collectors still seek (and pay-up for) the untouched, all-original examples, even if they show a bit of wear and tear. An interesting parallel can be seen in the Toyota FJ40 market, of which values for these classic off-roaders have absolutely skyrocketed in the past six to seven years, with good examples exchanging hands in and around $50,000 and the best examples fetching close to $100,000. While the first-generation Ford Bronco enjoyed a considerable lift in value in 2012, as the years go on, Bronco availability lessens, and demand spurs from a potential 2020-bound successor— Bronco collectability would seem to have quite some room to grow.
Photo Credit: Bonhams Values via Hagerty