Few people love cars as much as comedian and former Tonight Show host Jay Leno. Since saying goodbye to the late-night talk show life, Leno has been staying busy filming his new show Jay Leno’s Garage. Originally started as a web series and later picked up by CNBC, the show takes viewers through some of Leno’s favorite cars in his personal collection and renovations he’s done on them.
Recently, fans got to take a look at the 1968 Ford Bronco that fellow comedian Craig Ferguson gave him as a gag gift in honor of his last day filming the Tonight Show. That day, Leno pulled into the parking lot to find the beat-up Bronco parked in his parking spot with a note from Ferguson saying the car would “keep you busy if you get bored.” Little did Ferguson know, the Bronco was right up Leno’s alley.
The Bronco through the ages
Ford introduced the Bronco in 1966 and it instantly became a classic. The two-door SUV design gave drivers the practicality of having enough space for the whole family while still having some off-road capabilities. The Bronco’s wagon shape, with its large grille on the front, became an iconic look that car lovers learned to see affectionately.
The power under the hood was a little less exciting. Like Leno’s car pre-renovation, a 1968 Bronco only gets 105 horsepower, a far cry from today’s standards for an off-road vehicle. Ford later added bigger engines down the line, capable of providing more power and get-up-and-go than the first generation had.
Jay Leno’s Bronco is something special
What started out as a joke from a fellow comedian turned out to be just the type of thing Jay Leno loved to do — the opportunity to take something old and beat up and turn it into something of beauty. Saying, “We’ll get this baby running,” Leno couldn’t wait to remodel the old truck. And when the time finally came this year, he didn’t want to hold anything back.
Knowing that he wanted to make it something truly special, Leno’s team added a one-of-a-kind engine to the Bronco — a 5.2-liter supercharged V8 engine, pulled straight from a new Mustang Shelby GT500. Leno’s Bronco now gets 760 horsepower. Definitely an upgrade!
Wanting to build off of the existing charm of the Bronco, Leno didn’t want to turn it into too much of a freak show. While he added a crazy engine to it, he didn’t want that to be obvious, instead preferring to style the outside of the truck in much the same style it had in 1968.
They painted it a deep navy blue with white and silver trim and kept the integrity intact while adding a few modern touches here and there you’d miss if you weren’t looking for them. Truly a one-of-a-kind truck.
The Bronco is finally relevant again
Fans of the Bronco have long been lamenting its departure from Ford’s lineup, but they recently announced it would be making a comeback in 2020. After they found success in the Ford Explorer, the Bronco took a backseat to the more modern SUV.
But with the popularity of SUVs and crossovers in all shapes and sizes, the Bronco is coming back for another round and Ford is hoping it’s enough to keep people coming back for more.
The new Bronco is expected to reflect the look and feel of the old Broncos, but will likely have better fuel efficiency, a more sporty feel to the drive, and will likely have a more comfortable interior. Whether you loved the Bronco back in the day or not, we’re all excited to see what the new ones will look like.