Vintage Ford Broncos Ain’t Worth the Squeeze

Vintage Ford Broncos (sigh). Yes. They are cool. Yes. They are iconic. Yes. They are fun. No, they are not good enough in any real, measurable way to be worth the current prices – and I can prove it. Don’t get me wrong; I love a Bronco. The older, the better. They are boxy, American, and slow, and I’m down with all three. Over the last few years, what has perplexed many motoring enthusiasts is the price that’s associated with this middle-of-pack off-roader. Simply put, vintage Ford Broncos are not worth the surge in price, period. 

Which ones are we talking about specifically?

While nearly all older Bronco models are going up in price, it’s mainly the first generation (1966-1977) trucks whose values have shot through the roof. The first-gen Broncos were really cool and were well-loved at the time. 

1966 Ford Bronco with bolt-on steel cab rides high, wide, and handsome.
1966 Ford Bronco| Bob D’Olivo/The Enthusiast Network via Getty Images/Getty Images

Before the Bronco, Jeep CJs and International Scouts were the boxy off-road heathens that ruled the dirt track. Ford’s aim was to make a truck that could hand with the Jeep and International Harvester off-road while also appearing civilized enough to drive into town. 

What made the Ford Bronco so successful?

Ford kept the Bronco cheap and easy to fix. Although it was an all-new design for Ford, it used as many generic and left-over parts as possible. According to Silodrome, the Bronco borrowed its axles and brakes assemblies from the F-100 pick-up. The 170 cubic-inch inline-six motor came out of the Ford Falcon. Ford did slightly modify the carb floats and valve lifters to work even when at extreme off-road angles. Silodrome says that the Bronco’s borrowed motor also got an oil bath air cleaner to cope with extreme dust and debris and a heavy-duty fuel pump. 

1966 Ford Bronco Pickup Test.
1966 Ford Bronco Pickup Test. | Pat Brollier/The Enthusiast Network via Getty Images/Getty Images

So, what’s the problem?

An early first-gen Ford Bronco can easily sell around the $60,000 mark and up. Much like a Land Rover Defender, the ones that typically command the big bucks aren’t dead mint original collectible trucks. The original ones can be expensive because of how hard most people drove old Broncos, but it’s the ones that got the resto moded, LS swap, all-new suspension, trans, and nearly any other moving part treatment that fetch wild money. 

As a result, the rusty crusty old ones that would be sufficient for any of us who enjoy a bit of regular off-roading have been made unattainable. 

So, is it all worth it?

No. I would live to leave it there, but I know this needs a little explanation. An old Bronco with new parts is clearly very cool. I don’t see why anyone would want to spend the money to do it. If the Bronco was so great, then why would there be such a huge market for resto modding them?

If you google “Ford Bronco restoration,” you will find a seemingly unending list of people offering their services to rebuild your old steel box. Again, if the Bronco is so great, why do they all tend to be completely rebuilt? 

RELATED: What’s so Special About Jay Leno’s 1968 Bronco?

Since we have proven that, while the old Broncos are cool, they are not objectively great trucks, Ford made a bunch of them over the years, so they aren’t exactly rare. If they aren’t great trucks and aren’t overly rare, why should they command such a wild price? 

To put a stinger on my point, The Drive recently reported a stock 1991 Ford Bronco sold on Bring a Trailer for an astounding $90,000. This particular Bronco is essentially new/old stock, but who cares? It’s a ‘91 Bronco. This is peak internet-car price insanity. 

PSA: Please stop overpaying for Ford Broncos

Listen, y’all. There are plenty of really cool cars and trucks out there that won’t cost you even half as much as this wacky ‘91 Bronco. Please, buy anything other than a weirdly inflated Bronco. You’ll be glad you did.