Have you ever experienced this? You catch the tiniest detail of a vehicle out of the corner of your eye, and instantly you know just what kind of car or truck it is. That’s what happened to me as I cruised through Bloomington, Indiana, one day. My peripheral vision caught four letters barely visible through a row of bushes: FORD. I immediately started looking for a way to get around to the other side of those bushes, because I knew those letters were attached to a first-generation Ford Bronco.
I was amply rewarded for finding my way around to that Bronco, as it appeared to be in all-original condition, save that aftermarket soft top. But dig those unmolested rear wheel arches! And that light patina on the hood! I was double jazzed to see that fuel-filler door, because it told me that this Bronco was from 1977. Previous Broncos had an exposed gas cap. The first-gen Bronco didn’t change much from year to year, so to figure out when one was made you really have to know your details.
Things look pretty original inside, too. I was surprised to find an automatic transmission here.
This was the original Bronco’s swan song; in 1978, the Bronco would ride on a shortened F-150 chassis. That had been the direction SUVs had been going since 1969, thanks to Chevy’s brilliant K/5 Blazer, and Ford would finally catch up.