Taking out Barrett-Jackson charity sales and two Bill Stroppe Baja Editions there are some twenty-seven Bronco wagons and pickups (U14/15) in collector car auction history that have sold on hammer bids of $100,000 or more. Six of them occurred at last month’s at Barrett-Jackson’s postponed Scottsdale auction.
The catalyst was Ford’s decision to sell the first production example of a First Edition 2021 Bronco. (No, that’s not a typo: Ford is confusingly applying the “First Edition” moniker to an initial production run of 7000). The sale brought $1,075,000 in a commission-free charity transaction. The attention it attracted brought U14/15 Broncos galore to WestWorld, seventeen of them in all.
One of them scored a record-breaking price in a non-charity auction, $225,000 all-in. All but three of these non-charity, non-Bill Stroppe, $100,000 plus Broncos were sold 2018-2021, a rapid escalation in transaction values.
And, having mentioned Bill Stroppe, legendary builder of off-roaders, the Bronco herd now heads toward Mecum’s Indianapolis auction May 14-22, where “Big Oly,” the two-time Baja 1000 winner that Stroppe built and raced with Parnelli Jones, is the main attraction.
The buzz around the revived Bronco—and the presence of the first production example at this particular auction—no doubt focused attention on the charismatic originals. (We’ve reported before on the impact retro cars can have on values of originals.) Yet U14/15 Broncos have momentum all of their own. Demand for them in all manner of conditions, from preserved original to extravagantly restored and updated, seems to be getting stronger each year.
Here are the top vintage Broncos from B-J Scottsdale, sorted by prices realized.
1972 Ford Bronco Wagon | Condition #1—Custom restoration
Chassis no. U15GLP50045. Ceramic grey with black vinyl top over black Mellohide seats with plaid cloth inserts. 302-ci Ford Coyote fuel-injected V-8, 6-speed automatic, Dana 20 2-speed transfer case. Aluminum radiator, limited-slip rear axle, Hydro-Boost 4-wheel disc brakes, 2-inch body lift, 5 1/2-inch suspension lift by James Duff, 20-inch Fuel alloy wheels, riveted fender flares, Pioneer stereo, padded roll cage with Sunbrella wrapping, Vintage air conditioning and heat, Dakota digital gauges, tilt steering column, electric steps, rear-mounted spare, Bestop removable roof, full soft top with side panels, LED front driving light array, jack.
Evaluation: To say this Bronco is thoroughly done is an egregious understatement. Every detail is thought out and harmonized with its counterparts. Paint and interior are flawless. Freshly done and exhaustively equipped. It would probably take to mud and rocks like an amphibous goat, but it is unlikely ever to see so much as rain or a wet road.
Bottom Line: An impressive vehicle built with recognized components and assemblies, and well thought through in its concept and execution. As extravagant as the price is, It’s hard to imagine duplicating the planning, execution, attention, and craftsmanship of this build for less.
1976 Ford Bronco Wagon | Condition #2+ —Custom restoration
Chassis no. U15GLB89731. Brittany Blue with white hardtop over black vinyl interior with blue inserts. 302-ci Gen 3 Coyote fuel-injected V8, 10-speed automatic. 2 1/2-inch suspension lift, Bilstein shocks, polished Superlite 17-in alloy wheels, BFG tires, Wilwood 4-wheel disc brakes, HydroTech booster, aluminum radiator, electric fan, stainless exhaust, 23-gallon fuel tank, full roll cage, LED headlights, Warn 9,000 lb. winch located behind the painted front bumper, Dakota digital gauges, JVC touchscreen stereo, Vintage Air, tilt steering column, power windows, power steps, rear-mounted spare, 2-row seating, woodrim steering wheel.
Evaluation: Excellent paint and interior. The engine compartment is fastidiously assembled and presented. The chassis is pristine. Upholstery and interior trim are excellent. There’s a small paint blister on the passenger’s side of the dashboard, and that’s it. Fresh and thoughtfully spec’d and laid out showing excellent materials and workmanship. A quality Bronco custom that can be carefully driven without needing an elevator to get in or out.
Bottom Line: Scheduled to be offered here last year but withdrawn, likely because it wasn’t done in time. Worth the wait, given the meticulous, fresh presentation it shows today. It must have exhausted every Bronco accessory catalog in its concept. Even so, it is not as extreme as some of the other sixteen U14/15 Broncos that peppered the WestWorld docket. Bidding rewarded the builder’s restraint.
1975 Ford Bronco Wagon | Condition #2—Recent restoration
Chassis no. U15GLV40549. Acapulco Blue over black leather. 302 Ford crate engine, fuel injection, Toploader 4-speed manual. Dana 20 transfer case, 23-gallon tank, James Duff headers, stainless steel exhaust, Borla mufflers, front disc brakes, Wilwood master cylinder, Bilstein shocks, Fuel alloy wheels, Hankook tires, 9,500 lb. Smittybilt winch, LED lights, everywhere, full roll cage, Vintage air conditioning and heat, air compressor, reclining seats, Dakota gauges, power steering, tilt steering column, LeCarra leather rim steering wheel, Alpine stereo.
Evaluation: Very good paint, better upholstery. The interior wears bed-liner everywhere. Hammertone-painted metal interior panels are held on by socket-head cap screws, a neat touch. Matte black exterior trim and handles. The chassis and suspension are better than new. Well done, thoughtfully equipped and not overdone. A potentially pleasing U15 Bronco that claims 2,000 miles since it was completed but looks like much less.
Bottom Line: Another classy Bronco custom at this year’s B-J WestWorld, this from the collection of B-J’s General Manager Nick Cardinale. Tastefully updated for performance and comfort without going overboard, this result is in line with similar Broncos at B-J this year.
1969 Ford Bronco Wagon | Condition: #2+ — Custom restoration
Chassis no. UTR01495. Kona Blue over black leather interior with cloth inserts. 302-ci Ford V-8 bored 40 over, 3-speed manual. Ford racing heads, upgraded camshaft and valve gear, Edelbrock 650cfm 4-barrel carburetor and Edelbrock intake, Ford electronic ignition, aluminum radiator, serpentine belt accessory drive, L&L headers, Flowmaster exhaust. Power brakes and steering, Hurst shifter, 4-inch suspension lift, alloy wheels, Duratrac tires, Rancho shocks and steering damper, halogen headlights, multi-LED driving light bar mounted on the windshield header, tilt steering column, Billet Specialties steering wheel, AutoMeter gauges, 700 watt stereo. Winch, roll bar, rear-mounted spare and cooler shelf, 2-row seating.
Evaluation: Excellent paint and interior. Sharp, well-organized engine compartment. Spotless chassis finished in POR-15. Thoroughly done some time ago and maintained in excellent condition, showing no substantial use.
Bottom Line: Reported sold by Barrett-Jackson here in 2018 for $66,000 and observed hammered sold leaving the block on a $110,000 hammer bid, reported later as sold with this result and described on the B-J website post-auction as “Available.” Even with the adjustments it was not a particularly great value. The hammer bid is 83% more than the bid in 2018, which is generous but not out of line with increased Bronco custom values.
1977 Ford Bronco Wagon | Condition #2—Recent restoration
Chassis no. U15GL060000. Jade Glow Green with white roof over green vinyl and houndstooth interior. 302-ci, 133-hp Ford V-8, automatic transmission. Two-barrel carburetor. Power steering and brakes, Ranger trim, 3.5 limited-slip diff, wheel covers, narrow whitewalls, radio, heater, Deluxe Marti Report documented.
Evaluation: Kermit the Frog would like this Bronco: It is very green. It is also very good with quality paint, chrome, interior, and engine compartment.
Bottom Line: This represents the median transaction among Bronco prices at Barrett this year, and it’s fitting that it is restored but not jacked up and burdened by accessories. Although the restomods got the biggest bids this year, this price is indicative of increasing attention to and values for stock restorations in recent years.
1967 Ford Bronco Wagon | Condition #2—Recent restoration
Chassis no. U15NLC18232. Peacock Blue with black vinyl top over black vinyl interior with Peacock Blue piping. 289-ci, 200-hp V-8, 3-speed manual. 2-barrel carburetor, power brakes and steering, aluminum radiator, vinyl-wrapped steering wheel rim, full roll cage, lift-off doors with stainless steel hinges, custom handkerchief top, KC driving lights, 12,000 lb. winch, 20-inch wheels, Hercules tires, steering stabilizer, 2-row seating.
Evaluation: Excellent paint and interior. The custom built handkerchief top fits the roll cage tightly but not the top of the door window frames. There is no rear side protection, only the front seat has (minimal) weather protection. The engine is spotless, the chassis however is restored but to lower standards. Too good to take off road.
Bottom Line: One of the more restrained Broncos at WestWorld this year, mostly stock vehicle aside from 20-inch wheels—a feature that is commonplace among even modest U14/15 Broncos these days. It is one of the best of the unmodified Broncos here and its strong result shows that the audience appreciated it.
1977 Ford Bronco Wagon | Condition #2- —Cosmetic restoration
Chassis no. U15GLX85434. White over Fawn vinyl and houndstooth interior. 302-ci, 133-hp V-8, automatic transmission. 2-barrel carburetor, wheel covers, 3.5 limited-slip, power brakes and steering, Ranger trim, radio, heater, wheel covers, narrow whitewalls, 2-row seating, rear-mounted spare, Deluxe Marti Report documented.
Evaluation: Much better than the usual truck restoration, with quality and mostly original paint, chrome, and interior. The engine compartment is in good shape but with some paint loss over sound/water sealer. Very good upholstery and carpets. Erratic door fits. The color combination is pleasing and the originality of the vehicle is appreciated.
Bottom Line: Plenty of the other Broncos on this list had more hours, dollars, and time lavished upon them, but this mostly original example ranked right up there with them. It is a signal that taking a sound original Bronco and restoring and updating it with show-quality paint and tens of thousands of dollars in engine upgrades and accessories is not necessarily financially rewarding (as much as it might enhance the builder’s pride in the caliber of the creation). That said, this is a generous result that benefited from the Bronco madness at WestWorld this year.
1977 Ford Bronco Wagon | Condition #2-—Older restoration
Chassis no. U15GLX85529. Midnight Blue Metallic with white roof and accents over blue vinyl and houndstooth cloth interior. 302-ci, 133-hp V-8, automatic transmission. 2-barrel carburetor, 4.11 limited slip, dealer air conditioning, power steering and brakes, Ranger trim, column-mounted tach, remote driver’s mirror, wheel covers, Toyo tires, Deluxe Marti Report documented.
Evaluation: Very good paint, interior, and chrome. Scuffed driver’s door sill from door interference. Restored a while ago to high standards and maintained that way.
Bottom Line: A rising tide lifted all Broncos, including this older restored example.
1972 Ford Bronco Pickup | Condition #2- —Recent restoration
Chassis no. U14GLN63112. Sea Pine Green with Whimbledon white hardtop over white vinyl interior. 302-ci, 154-hp V-8, 3-speed manual. Three-inch lift, Hurst shifter, custom alloy wheels, chrome bumpers.
Evaluation: The half-cab U14 Bronco is highly sought for its rugged honesty and simplicity. This one had the full-disassembly-restoration treatment, with bedliner and “Chassis Saver black” on the frame and suspension. The 3-inch lift and aftermarket wheels are modest and are about as close to stock as can be expected of a restored Bronco U14 with a restoration that’s thorough, in a purely utilitarian Bronco sense.
Bottom Line: Timing matters. This Bronco crossing the block early, during the first day of the auction, and thus missed the hype that the charity sale of the new Bronco generated. It brought a moderate, even realistic, price, at least relative to the examples that followed it. A sound value by 2021 standards.
like to see comparisons w/when they last reached their hight (#1) in sales last Winter (2019/20). I followed to the crash (#23 when Cherokee took over) in the Spring (2020). Have not followed since, wonder what 2021 has brought now the re-issue is out?
Any info on the demographics of the buyers?