Jay Leno’s ‘Piece of Junk’ Bronco He Got as a Joke Looks Completely Different Now

What started as a joke between late-night talk-show host Craig Ferguson and Jay Leno has ended with this new and improved 1968 Ford Bronco. Ferguson parked the derelict Bronco in Leno’s Burbank studio parking spot on the last day of taping the Tonight Show. Since then it has been sitting in Leno’s garage waiting for its fate, and this is the result. 

As delivered (?) to Leno this was an old Bronco that needed it all. Someone had done a poor job of lifting it, and the rear wheel openings were hogged out. These were both typical of a lot of modifications Broncos received over the decades. 

A full restoration was needed, but Leno wanted to take it further. Not the one to get into crazy Sema Show-like modifications, he instead wanted to improve on the existing charm that is the original Bronco. 

Practical Joke Bronco Is A Joke No More

Power comes from a 760 hp 5.2-liter supercharged V8 yanked from a new Mustang Shelby GT500. That horsepower is transferred to a Tremec TR-4050 five-speed manual transmission and four-wheel-drive transfer case.

Jay Leno 1968 Ford Bronco SEMA | Ford-00
Jay Leno 1968 Ford Bronco SEMA | Ford

The restoration and modifications were a joint effort between Ford, Kincer Chassis, and Dennis Carpenter Ford Restoration Parts. Together they repaired, replaced, or restored every piece of the Bronco to as-new condition. 

Kincer Creates New Bronco Chassis

Kincer created the custom frame from 2 x 4-inch CNC mandrel-bent 3/16-inch steel. Extra cross members were added for more rigidity. It is also two-inches wider than a stock frame to accommodate the wide Coyote V8. Then they added an Atlas transfer case, Eaton Detroit Truetrac differentials, Dutchman motorsports 35-spline axles, Fox coil-overs, and Wilwood brakes.

The exhaust is by Borla with two-in, two-out tied to an X-pipe. Two sets of mufflers quiet things down. The rear mufflers can be easily disconnected to give a more aggressive sound and better breathing for the Bronco.

The Leno Bronco Is A Sleeper

Jay Leno 1968 Ford Bronco SEMA | Ford-00
Jay Leno 1968 Ford Bronco SEMA | Ford

The mild-mannered looks of the Bronco can definitely fall into the “sleeper” category. Other than the 18-inch steel wheels it is hard to tell this is not like it came in 1968. There is no chrome or graphics to speak of, except for the hubcaps. Even the bumpers are painted silver just like they came from the factory. Except they are not.

These bumpers have been tucked-in at the ends to conform better to the body. Just a subtle trick performed by LGE-CTS Motorsports. Even the grille, though looking stock, has been modified to eliminate some of the trim that would normally be there.

Inside there is restrained use of leather, digital gauges, and a Sony audio system to improve on the creature comforts available in 1968.

You Won’t Believe Who Previous Owner Was

In a slightly weird but normal-for-Hollywood connection, this Bronco was once owned by Danny Bonaduce of Partridge Family, radio, and scandal fame. It doesn’t factor into anything about the Bronco other than there are sometimes showbiz connections to anything happening in Hollywood. Even when it comes to a prank played on Jay Leno.

Leno will feature the Bronco in an upcoming edition of Leo’s Garage.