Classics What It's Like to Drive a Classic Ford Bronco in Manhattan

13:07  08 january  2018
13:07  08 january  2018 Source:   New York Daily News

This 1968 Ford Bronco Restomod is a Clean, No-Fuss Off-Road Cruiser

  This 1968 Ford Bronco Restomod is a Clean, No-Fuss Off-Road Cruiser <p>Simple pleasures</p>

Before we dive fully into the classic Ford Bronco experience, let’ s address the elephant in the room: Yes, many people remember it from the police “chase” of Al Cowlings and O.J. Simpson in 1994, and if you bring the Bronco up in casual conversation, you will get at least one “oh

Classic Ford Broncos – check out some of our recent show-quality early model Ford Bronco restorations. It ’ s like driving a 1975 Bronco that was built new in 2016. Maybe because that’s exactly what it is.

Many may know of the Ford Bronco for its role in the ‘trial of the century,’ but enthusiasts know it as one of the best off-road vehicles ever.© Brian Leon Many may know of the Ford Bronco for its role in the ‘trial of the century,’ but enthusiasts know it as one of the best off-road vehicles ever.

Before we dive fully into the classic Ford Bronco experience, let’s address the elephant in the room: Yes, many people remember it from the police “chase” of Al Cowlings and O.J. Simpson in 1994, and if you bring the Bronco up in casual conversation, you will get at least one “oh, like O.J.” or “was it a white Bronco?”

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But don’t let this distract you from the fact that Ford was building the first iteration of its off-road icon a full year before Orenthal ever played a snap at USC, and it’s still beloved by countless enthusiasts and collectors alike the world over. So much so that arguably no new Ford vehicle has been as eagerly awaited or hotly discussed as the upcoming 2020 Bronco, which might just debut at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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  “Four Horseman” Is Not the Apocalypse, It’s a Four-Door Vintage Ford Bronco! <p>Ford has confirmed that it's bringing back the Bronco as a four-door SUV for 2020, but one customizer of vintage trucks thought, "Why wait?"</p>See more news from SEMA 2017

Which brings us to David Olan, a Malibu attorney, surfer and official 1968 Ford Bronco buster. Sounds like attorney efficiency. But Olan loves his Bronco because it ’ s American, vintage, a convertible and a great surf car.

Want One of Our Classic Ford Broncos ? Buying and owning a Classic Ford Bronco isn’t for everyone. If you’d like to come here and test drive a similar finished Bronco , let us know and we’ll help make that happen.

If that proves true, the new Bronco will arrive just in time, too. Sales of SUVs continue to skyrocket thanks to cheap gas, only a handful of genuine off-road-ready sport-utes remains available, and the all-new Jeep Wrangler looks poised to sweep up hundreds of thousands of new buyers every year for the foreseeable future.

It’s about time someone wised up to Jeep’s infallible formula.

While it’s yet to be seen whether the 2020 Ford Bronco will be a true body-on-frame back-trail basher or just a beefed-up family SUV, true fans will be hoping for the former, and when you spot a first-generation Bronco in the flesh, it’s not hard to see why.

Fifty years on, few SUVs command more attention on the street (or more money on the collector market) than the original Bronco, so I took the chance to see what the fuss is all about thanks to the Classic Car Club in Manhattan and its staggering collection of classics you can actually drive.

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That meant that the car would have to make it through the classic Manhattan driving test — through the narrow chunky streets of downtown, up the liminal side highway, and into uptown. The Alfa 4C does not appear to be designed for this task.

The 1966 Mustang Fastback is one of many classic cars members get to drive . Photo: Alex Davies. The Ford Bronco is also really popular. A 1965 Shelby Cobra is parked next to a few motorcycles. Tagged In. cars features ferrari lamborghini luxury manhattan .

(Author’s note: This review will contain no further references to O.J. Simpson.)

The original Bronco was intended to be a stable mate for the original Mustang, and sold well among young people looking to explore off the beaten path.© Brian Leon The original Bronco was intended to be a stable mate for the original Mustang, and sold well among young people looking to explore off the beaten path.

Fittingly, the original Ford Bronco was also response to Jeep’s popular off-roader of the day, and about 20 years after the Willys CJ had stormed the beaches of Normandy onward to victory in Europe.

But the Bronco came more than prepared for the task, with a longer wheelbase to better accommodate passengers and stuff, a suppler ride than the CJ, and a novel coil spring suspension setup when other trucks used leaf springs. It was even available with dual limited-slip differentials for maximum off-road traction, a feature virtually unheard of in 1966. With wagon, pickup, and roadster body styles, the Bronco offered lots of novel features that Jeep just couldn’t match.

1981 Ford Bronco Montana Lobo, 1988 Bronco DM-1: Concept We Forgot

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The way it goes through a corner is unreal. The Cayman sort of shimmies. Like it ’ s playing a bit. I had driven it the day before across Manhattan and I’d taken it for the full two hour drive up to the track.

Manhattan is a strange place to hold a first drive of a new car. You can't really stretch it ' s legs or test the handling. As you apply more pressure, it then adds in the discs at all four corners. It ' s smooth and it ' s , well, it ' s like driving a car.

Intended to be a stable-mate for the Mustang, the equally equine Bronco echoed the pony car’s engine options. Buyers had the option of a 170 cubic-inch straight-six or a 289 cu.-in. V8 just like the Mustang, but a 3-speed column-mounted manual transmission was the only shifter. Though the Bronco was a real Billy goat off the beaten path, it was never intended to be a work truck or towing vehicle of any kind.

an orange truck parked in front of a car: With a relatively short wheelbase and small engine options, the Bronco was never intended to be anything other than an off-road runabout.© Brian Leon With a relatively short wheelbase and small engine options, the Bronco was never intended to be anything other than an off-road runabout.

With the introduction of the Chevrolet Blazer in 1969, however, the Bronco faced its toughest challenge yet, as the Chevy was full-sized, more comfortable, more powerful, and could be had with an automatic transmission.

To counter, Ford added an automatic of its own and power steering in 1973, and boosted both the displacement and horsepower of the straight-six and V8 over the course of the first generation. Nevertheless, the Blazer was selling in double the numbers of the Bronco, and it was time for a complete overhaul.

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I met Doug one particularly well-lit morning at Classic Car Club Manhattan , at a small gathering the Jalopnik staff had to check out BMW' s latest acid trip. Mensch that he is, he threw me the keys and said "You can drive it ". The Ford GT Competition Series Looks Like A No-Frills Ferrari Killer.

There’ s a good chance that you’ve been reading our Kijiji classic car roundups and are wondering just how cheap a classic really is. Many shy away from classic cars thinking that these cars will binge drink fuel and require costly maintenance.

In comparison to a factory original, the 1969 Bronco owned and operated by the Classic Car Club is a veritable hot rod with a 5.0-liter V8 and 5-speed manual gearbox from a Fox-body Mustang. But you know how the old saying goes: “If the V8 fits, you must choose it!”

(Author’s note: Sorry, couldn’t resist…)

It’s also finished in a spectacular eye-searing orange and fitted with several important upgrades, but as far as resto-mods go, the original character is all still there. With a childish grin, I hopped into the orange beast and took the Bronco for a jaunt up and down the Hudson river to see what all the fuss was about.

a close up of a bicycle: The steering wheel is the size of a bus’s and takes constant sawing to keep the Bronco going in a straight line, and the floor-mounted manual has shift throws the length of the Hudson river.© Brian Leon The steering wheel is the size of a bus’s and takes constant sawing to keep the Bronco going in a straight line, and the floor-mounted manual has shift throws the length of the Hudson river.

If you’ve never driven a classic off-road vehicle before, the first thing you’ll be struck by is the ride… and I mean literally struck. Despite its novel coil spring setup, which definitely improves ride quality over a traditional leaf spring design, the Bronco handles bumps in the pavement like our president handles criticism, which is to say not well.

Every blemish is translated – through a series of shakes and rattles – directly into the occupants, and the steering wheel wiggles back and forth as the front axle attempts to stay in a straight line. It drives pretty much exactly like you’d expect a 50-year-old farm truck to drive, and the steering through the wire-thin wheel could be best described as “lackadaisical.” I found myself sawing endlessly at the wheel, back and forth and back and forth, just to keep between the lines on the road, all while never cresting 50 miles per hour.

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Car Finder. Consignment. Consign Your Classic . Locations. The 302 cubic inch V8 offered in later Broncos like this is what should have been there all along. Torquey, smooth, and way fun to drive , it matches the Bronco ' s personality perfectly.

They made me drive it with someone in the passenger seat because they were sure it’d roll if I was in it alone. It ’ s like the automotive Sistine Chapel of terrible ideas. It ’ s the Veyron of Shitty Engineering, and as Ford Cancels The Fusion's Redesign Because No One Gives A Shit About Sedans Anymore.

The V8, however, is a totally different story. Sure, it’s from a Mustang 25 years this Bronco’s junior, but this rumbling, roaring beast makes it, as the Classic Car Club says, “undoubtedly the loudest, most orange Bronco in NYC.”

The floor-mounted 5-speed manual is a delightful throwback too, with shift throws as long as the Hudson itself, and a clutch that’s basically an on-off switch. Let it out easily, or you will spin the tires, and this isn’t exactly a sports car you can just whip back into line when things get a bit hairy.

There’s no roof, either, and the racing belts keep you firmly strapped to the fading black cloth seats. You’re lucky if the speedometer ever reads the correct velocity, and don’t even bother setting the door mirrors, as they’ll just get shaken out of whatever angle you place them at.

a close up of a sign: Ford should be lauded if they manage to capture even an ounce of the original Bronco’s spirit with the new version.© Brian Leon Ford should be lauded if they manage to capture even an ounce of the original Bronco’s spirit with the new version.

Cup holders? Air conditioning? A radio you can actually hear? Fuggheddaboutit. You’re going to drive this truck and do nothing else, and damn it, you’re going to like it.

Sunburnt, sweaty, partially deaf, a bit sore, and fatigued from throwing what seemed like endless thumbs-up back at the enchanted motorists of Manhattan, I piloted the Bronco back down the West Side Highway to its riverside stable, beaming like an idiot.

For despite the fact that it’s a half-century old truck with no amenities, the original Bronco is without a doubt one of the most charming vehicles I’ve ever had the pleasure to drive, and I didn’t even get to take it off road.

If Ford is able to convey even an ounce of the friendly, eager, adventurous spirit of its original backwoods companion with the all-new Bronco, I’d consider it a whopping success.

Character is in short supply among modern cars (for a myriad of reasons), so when you do manage to find a vehicle with personality, buy it, cherish it, and for the love of god, drive it. Your spine may not thank you now, but your memories will thank you later.


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