What To Pay - Classic Bronco Price Guide
If you follow current automotive trends, you probably know that classic SUVs are very hot right now. Among the dozen old-school off-road machines that deserve their place in automotive history, classic Broncos are at the top of the list for modern car collectors. This means old-school Broncos are reaching insane prices for well-preserved and restored examples and even higher prices for extremely cool restomod and custom creations.
All in all, this steep rise in prices for old Broncos is a phenomenon in the classic car world that has a logical explanation.
Bronco prices have been on a constant rise since the early 2000s, and classic car experts believe that they will continue to climb. While the Bronco is not the only classic SUV that now costs a fortune, it's arguably the most sought-after in this segment.
Experts say that its off-road swagger, history of celebrity ownership, and utilitarian design appeal to a large portion of classic car fans. So, if you're in the market for a classic 1966 to 1996 Bronco, let's see how much you'll need to pay to put one in your garage.
The First Generation (1966 to 1977)
The Ford Bronco debuted in August of 1965 as a 1966 model and was immediately met with praise from the motoring press, as well as strong interest from the buying public. Its release represented a brave step for Ford, which already had a successful pickup truck line, but had never made an SUV before.
The Bronco had a unique chassis architecture, standard permanent all-wheel-drive, and was sold in three distinct body styles – Wagon, Half Cab, and Roadster. The wagon was sold with a removable hardtop and proved to be most popular with customers. The Half Cab was an attractive pickup model with seating for two up front and a small truck bed in back.
The MSRP for the 1966 Bronco was just over $2,300, but the average price for a charming, restored, and roadworthy example is now just under $38,000! You can expect to pay a bit more for exceptionally well preserved or rare examples like the Bronco U13 Roadster, of which Ford made only 4090 examples.
Special editions like the Baja Bronco will also bring a healthy premium, but restomod Broncos from ICON or similar companies are in a league of their own. The ICON Bronco starts at just under $200,000, and some examples are worth over $300,000!
The Second Generation (1978 to 1979)
Ford delayed the introduction of the Bronco's second generation from its original 1974 intended debut, but by the end of the '70s, it was clear that Ford had to move fast to keep the Bronco from losing its position in the market.
Although this was a time of downsizing, in 1977 the Bronco grew drastically in terms of both size and displacement. It was built on shortened F-100 truck chassis and shared the pickup's mechanics, front-end design, and interior.
The concept of offering several body styles that had helped make the first-generation model so popular was abandoned in favor of just one body style – a 3-door SUV with a lift-off rear hardtop. Since it used the F-Series truck chassis, Ford gave the Bronco the 351 V8 as a standard engine, with a 400 V8 as an option. Both engines had similar power outputs of 156 and 158 hp.
The MSRP of the 1978 Bronco was $6,543, which still seems very cheap, considering current prices for a well-preserved second-generation model. At the moment, a 1978/1979 Bronco can be had for around $25,000 -- for a clean and low-mileage model.
Since there were no unique versions or limited edition models produced in this generation, the only desirable model that might attract a slight premium over this price is the Freewheelin' package, which is only a trim level with a very late-'70s look.
The Third Generation (1980 to 1986)
Despite retaining the same overall philosophy of the '78-'79 model, the third-gen Bronco was much improved and more efficient. It also used the F-Series chassis as a platform and had the same exact dimensions as its predecessor, but it was lighter and better constructed than the outgoing model.
In order to lower production costs, F-Series trucks and the Bronco shared the same front-end design, some body panels, and mechanics. The significant improvement in this generation was the introduction of an independent front suspension, which enhanced on-road capabilities and comfort.
The fourth-generation Bronco base price for was just over $10,000, which equates to about $30k in today's money. However, in 2021, an excellent and unspoiled example of Ford's SUV in its 1980 to 1986 form will still set you back about the same, with prices ranging from $9,000 to $12,000.
While some dealers try to charge more for particularly good examples, that $15k figure is about the max that we'd pay.
The Fourth Generation (1987 to 1991)
Although Ford insists that in 1987 it debuted an entirely new Bronco model, the truth is that this was just a thorough restyling inside and out and not a brand new generation.
With a new front-end design, more modern interior and related details, along with updated trim packages, the Bronco looked fresh, although its shortened F-100 platform architecture remained the same.
Also, engine offerings remained unchanged and started with a 300 ci straight-six as a base engine, followed by a 302 and finally a 351 V8 as the top-of-the-line engine choice.
During this period, Ford saw an increase in sales of the upscale trim levels, especially the Eddie Bauer edition, which was introduced as an option in 1985.
The MSRP for the 1987 Bronco was just over $14,000, but if you wanted a luxury Eddie Bauer version, you needed to pay just under $17,000, which was a pretty substantial sum for an SUV back in the late '80s.
However, Hagerty and other classic car sites now put the value of a fourth-generation Bronco that's in decent condition at just over $10,000, with Eddie Bauer models commanding a slight premium.
The Fifth Generation (1992 to 1996)
Faced with slow sales, as well as the enormous success of its own Ford Explorer SUV, Ford didn't want to invest in a brand new model for the Bronco's fifth and final generation, which was introduced in 1991.
By the early '90s, SUVs had become a new trend, and customers now wanted modern design, luxury features, and the comfort of a passenger car. In contrast to this, despite looking contemporary, the Bronco was an old school off-roader with a live rear axle, rugged mechanics, and driving dynamics. It was evident that its time was up.
With the base price of a 1992 Bronco just under $20,000, this SUV was still a somewhat affordable proposition in the early '90s. However, today only the best examples with low miles and desirable options can attract similar prices. According to price guides and recent sale results, standard models can be bought from $9,000 to $14,000.
Leave a comment