How Did a Ford Bronco First Edition Sell for $99,000 at Mecum Chicago?

When a supercar like a McLaren F1 sells for millions of dollars, that’s just par for the course. But sometimes, more ‘regular’ vehicles leave the auction block with final bids seemingly way out of the ordinary. Last year, for example, a 2000 Honda Civic Si went for $50,000 on Bring a Trailer. And at this year’s Mecum auction in Chicago, I watched as a 2021 Ford Bronco First Edition went under the hammer for $99,000.

This 2021 Ford Bronco First Edition was one of several new Broncos that went under the hammer at Mecum’s 2021 Chicago auction

A blue 2021 Ford Bronco First Edition 4-Door entering the floor of the 2021 Mecum Chicago auction
2021 Ford Bronco First Edition 4-Door at the 2021 Mecum Chicago auction | Matthew Skwarczek, MotorBiscuit

While a near-$100K 2021 Ford Bronco is certainly interesting, know that said First Edition wasn’t the only Bronco up for auction. The 2021 Mecum auction in Chicago included five other models: another First Edition, two Big Bend Editions, a Baja-liveried Black Diamond Edition, and a base model with the Sasquatch Package. And apart from the additional First Edition, they were all sold by the end of the three-day auction.

Of the six 2021 Ford Broncos up for grabs, the $99,000 First Edition 4-Door went for the most money. The two Big Bend Editions—both 4-Doors, one gray and one black—went for $68,200 and $66K, respectively. The base Bronco 4-Door with the Sasquatch Package sold for $72,600 and the Black Diamond 4-Door went for $71,500. Interestingly, not only did the First Edition 2-Door not sell, but the final bid was lower at $85,000.

Regardless, even that unsuccessful final bid is more than the original Bronco First Edition MSRP. The First Edition 4-Door originally started at $63,995. That means the winning bidder on that $99K Bronco paid almost 55% more than the sticker price for what’s essentially a used SUV.

Why did this Ford Bronco First Edition sell for $99,000?

A blue 2021 Ford Bronco First Edition 2-Door underneath a tent at the 2021 Mecum Chicago auction
2021 Ford Bronco First Edition 2-Door at the 2021 Mecum Chicago auction | Matthew Skwarczek, MotorBiscuit

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To be fair, a $99,000 2021 Ford Bronco First Edition makes some sense. For one, Bronco reservation-holders have been clamoring to get their SUVs. As a result, dealers are marking up prices and flippers are coming out in full force. Secondly, even though Ford increased First Edition production, it couldn’t keep up with the demand.

And that demand stems from the features the 2021 Ford Bronco First Edition offers. This limited-edition trim has basically every luxury and off-road feature available, Car and Driver says. That includes a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, adaptive cruise control, a wireless charging pad, navigation, an electronically-disconnecting front sway bar, and an extra off-road driving mode. And it has all the Sasquatch Package’s goodies, including a different final-drive ratio, 1.2” lift, upgraded electronic transfer case, Bilstein shocks, and 35” off-road tires. Plus, it has First Edition-specific graphics.

However, the other 2021 Ford Bronco First Edition at the 2021 Mecum Chicago auction had all these features, too. And yet, it failed to sell at $85,000 while the other one sold for $99,000.

The side view of a blue 2021 Ford Bronco First Edition 4-Door on the 2021 Mecum Chicago auction floor
2021 Ford Bronco First Edition 4-Door on the 2021 Mecum Chicago auction floor | Matthew Skwarczek, MotorBiscuit

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The price disparity between these two 2021 Ford Bronco First Editions deepens when you look at their mileages. Normally, low-mileage vehicles are worth more at auctions. But it’s the opposite case here: the $99K Bronco has 850 miles, while the other has 51 miles.

And considering the Bronco’s off-road focus, you might expect that the two-door version would go for more money. True, the First Edition in any body style is no slouch off-road. But while the 4-Door has more rear cargo space, the 2-Door has better approach, departure, and breakover angles, Car and Driver notes. And it’s narrower, which is better on off-road trails. Yet despite this, the two-door First Edition failed to sell while the four-door went for $99,000.

However, features didn’t decide these two Bronco First Editions’ fates. It was the fact that the four-door one had the original window sticker, owner’s manual, and literature. Originality like this is vital in car auctions, Mecum or otherwise. And in this case, it made the difference not just in the final price, but in the buying decision.

Will markups and high auction prices for these SUVs continue?

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Although $99,000 for a 2021 Ford Bronco is certainly high, it’s not the highest price listed for one of these SUVs. As noted earlier, sellers are marking up Bronco prices online and at dealers. And with pent-up demand, some buyers are willing to pay these inflated prices.

Hence why, at another Mecum auction this year, one Bronco buyer paid $126,000 for their SUV. And shortly after the Chicago auction, another First Edition left Mecum’s block in Chattanooga, Tennessee for $137,500. Then there’s that one eBay ad for a $150,000 Bronco.

So, as odd as it seems, $99,000 for a 2021 Ford Bronco First Edition isn’t out of the ordinary these days.

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