With the new Ford Bronco setting sales records, it makes sense that the old-school versions of the Bronco would see an increase in prices as well. The new Bronco is cool, but that’s likely because it’s trading on the nostalgia of the old Broncos, especially the first generation, with its looks. Though the new Bronco is extremely capable off-road and has modern features, there’s just something about getting out and twisting the hubs on an old Bronco to get into 4×4 that people long for.
Though they are not the most reliable, or comfortable, or even safe vehicles you can buy, an old Bronco may be at peak coolness right now. The auction website Bring a Trailer tracks the prices of the vehicles it sold, and shows that Broncos are increasing in value. So, how much is an old Bronco?
The first-generation Bronco, 1966 to 1977, are classic
When the Bronco first came out, it was a hit. It had all the styling of a an F100 pickup, but more utility and more room. In many ways, it was the first SUV. They came in five versions, wagon, pickup, roadster, sport wagon and sprot pickup, and with four-wheel drive. Some versions had back seats, others had a truck-like bed, and they came either with a 170-ci six-cylinder or the venerable 289 V8.
Overall, at auction sites, these are selling for $25,000 to $30,000 (or lots more) for mildly updated but not restored versions. Nicer original versions are selling at Hemmings for up to $40,000. Highly modified versions, or wild one-0ff conversions to modern V8s, will set you back more than $100,000 at Hemmings.com. Many people have added Ford 302 (5.0-liter) engines as well as modern air conditioning and electronics that make these old beasts comfy and reliable, but also expensive.
The second-generation Ford Bronco, 1978 to 1979, started the modern era
Yes, the second-gen Bronco was only made for a couple of years. It was based on an F-100 and really looked just like one, but with a factory camper shell installed. It had a 351 V8 or even a 400 V8, but in the late 1970s they were emissions-choked gas guzzlers. Regardless, they were tough off-roaders with seating for five and no back window so you could feel the beach breeze.
According to Bring a Trailer data, over the last two years these Broncos are finally finding their pace in the collector market. For several years they sold for $25,000 to $50,000. But now the average sales prices at BaT is nearing $50,000, with special editions climbing well past the $100,000 mark. Some of the cooler option orders, like the Freewheelin version, can command a premium.
Third-generation Ford Broncos, 1980 to 1986, are still a (relative) bargain
The third generation is the version that many of us who grew up in the 80s (ahem) remember fondly as fun trucks to take a boat to the lake or for romping in the desert. Most of the time they were brown, for some reason. The 1980 to 1986 third generation Bronco was, again, built off a ford truck body and had a (sort of) removeable fiberglass shell over the bed. But, they finally had real creature comforts like a radio, A/C and even power windows in later versions.
At BaT, the scatter plot data shows that generally these versions sell for $20,000 to $30,000. However, some with exceptionally low miles or that have been restored are selling for more than $50,000 for a modernized version.
The fourth generation was more of an update for 1987 to 1996
Some will say the 1987 to 1996, versions were all-new, others say that they are just rounded out versions of the third generation. There’s also some Bronco-land dispute as to whether the 1992 to 1996 final versions, which had markedly updated styling, were a new generation or simply a restyled version. Regardless of what you say, they came with a straight six-cylinder engine, or upgraded 302 ci and 351 ci V8s for more power. The one that topped the range had Eddie Bauer’s name on it and special trim.
Five years ago, these were bargains, going for $10,000 to $20,000. Today, these may be the bargains of the bunch, still, and they trade in the mid $20,000-range all day long for good examples at BaT.