The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Current Ford Bronco Prices
The prices of first-generation Broncos continue to show no signs of cooling off. Produced from 1966 through 1977, Ford’s first-generation Bronco enjoyed healthy sales over its eight-year production run. Classic Ford Bronco prices over the past five years are the high tide that currently lifts all other vintage SUVs. The simplicity combined with ample reproduction parts (including brand-new fully welded and assembled bodies) makes first-generation Ford Broncos easy restoration candidates and one of the few classic rides left where a restorer has a reasonable shot of not being underwater when they sell a freshly restored example.
Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the current twelve-month rolling average of selling prices for first-generation Broncos is now just a tick under ninety thousand dollars:
Originally developed as a compact off-road vehicle using its chassis, Ford launched the first-generation Bronco in 1966 to compete against the Jeep CJ-5 and International Harvester Scout. The idea behind the Bronco began with Ford product manager Donald N. Frey in the early 1960s (who also conceived the Ford Mustang). At the same time, Ford engineer Paul G. Axelrad developed the engineering specification, and Lee Iacocca approved the final model for production in February 1964. Today a compact SUV in terms of size, Ford marketing shows a very early example of promoting a civilian off-roader as a “Sports Utility.”
The first-generation Bronco is built upon a chassis developed specifically for the model range, shared with no other Ford or Lincoln Mercury vehicle. The Bronco used box-section body-on-frame construction, built on a 92-inch wheelbase (sized between the CJ-5 and Scout). To simplify production, all examples were sold with four-wheel drive; a shift-on-the-fly Dana 20 transfer case and locking hubs were standard. The rear axle was a Ford 9-inch unit with Hotchkiss drive and leaf springs; the front axle was a Dana 30. In contrast to the Twin I-Beams of larger Ford trucks, the Bronco used radius arms to locate the coil-sprung front axle and a lateral track bar, allowing for a 34-foot turning circle and long wheel travel, and anti-dive geometry (useful for snowplowing). A heavier-duty suspension system was an option, along with air front springs.
At its August 1965 launch, the Bronco was offered only with a 170-cubic-inch inline-six. Derived from the Ford Falcon, the 105-hp engine was modified with solid valve lifters, a six-quart oil pan, a heavy-duty fuel pump, an oil-bath air cleaner, and a carburetor with a float bowl compensated against tilting. In March 1966, a 200-hp 289-cubic-inch V8 was introduced as an option.
To lower production costs, at its launch, the Bronco was offered solely with a three-speed, column-shifted manual transmission and floor-mounted transfer case shifter (with a floor-mounted transmission shifter later becoming a popular modification).
In a central theme of the first-generation Bronco, the styling was subordinated to simplicity and economy, so all glass was flat, bumpers were straight C-sections, and the left and right door skins were symmetrical (before the fitment of door-mounting hardware).
Three Bronco body configurations were offered: a two-door wagon, a half-cab pickup, and an open-body roadster. At its $2,194 base price, the Bronco included few amenities as standard. However, a large number of options were offered through both Ford and its dealers, including front bucket seats, a rear bench seat, a tachometer, and a CB radio, as well as functional items such as a tow bar, an auxiliary gas tank, a power take-off, a snowplow, a winch, and a posthole digger. Aftermarket accessories included campers, overdrive units, and the usual array of wheels, tires, chassis, and engine parts for increased performance. Initially selling well, following the introduction of the Chevrolet Blazer, Jeep Cherokee, and International Scout II (from 1969 to 1974), demand shifted towards SUVs with better on-road capability, leading to a decline in demand for the Bronco.
Cheap to buy when new and inexpensive to own for years, many first-generation examples, especially rust-free ones sourced from the dry southwest, wound up cut up and heavily modified into Baja Broncos. To give you a sense of the current first-generation Bronco market in early 2023, we’re providing three examples of Ford’s first SUV in varying conditions and their expected prices.
The Good: Restored 1967 Ford Bronco – Sold at $81,500? (Was originally $155,000)
The seller of this freshly restored Teal 1967 Ford Bronco for sale on Craigslist in Honey Brook, Pennsylvania, provides extensive pictures on the restoration of this Caribbean Turquoise over parchment example equipped with a numbers-matching 289 cubic inch V8 mated to an automatic. When we first came across the restored example in March 2023, the seller started at $155,000. Fast forward to December 2023, and their asking price was at $81,500 before their last Craigslist ad expired:
Worse: 1972 Ford Bronco Sport I6-Powered 4×4 – $42,500 (Was $65,000)
The seller of this Light Golden Rod Yellow 1972 Ford Bronco For Sale in Valley Forge, PA, makes the dubious claim, without a Marti Report to back it up, that the combination of the “Sport” and “Explorer” packages with the standard inline-six motor was a special order. Sixty-Five large is simply ridiculous money for so much surface rust.
The Bad: Original Owner 1976 Ford Bronco 93K Survivor – Now $47,500 (Was $68,750)
The original owner of this Green 1976 Ford Bronco For Sale, first spotted in March 2023 on Craigslist in Phoenix, Arizona, provides a glimpse of what a mildly modified, survivor-quality example goes for in today’s market. When we first spotted this Bronco in March, the seller asked $68,750. After months of not budging from that, the original owner is now asking $59,900 or trade. Being this is the original owner, this Bronco owes them nothing, so we’re a bit surprised that they keep trying to get such a lofty price for their Bronco.
The Ugly: 1977 Ford Bronco Pickup Project – $9,500
Finally, this 1977 Ford Bronco Pickup Project, last listed on Craigslist near New York City in March 2023, shows that a clapped-out, rusted example needing complete restoration now costs about ten large. The buyer of this Bronco is paying for the VIN tag’s cost, but if restored correctly, it could bring a tidy profit, provided they can get this truck restored before this hot market cools off.
What do you think of the current first-generation Ford Bronco market? Please comment below and let us know!