I paid a visit to the dealer yesterday to learn some more and make an appointment for a test drive:
56k Miles on the clock
hidden winch under the front bumper (i guess it´s at least a 3 ton winch, anything else wouldn´t make sense on a 2.2 tonner)
It already stands on 33´s. Now i´m not knowledgeable about offroading at all, but it seems like these are a good "in between" size between street capability and off road capability. A compromise of course, but thats totally fine with me.
The 33´s are listed in the title, which is important: we can´t exactly slap whatever we want on a rig if it oughta be street legal. It has to match either the normal standard, or must be listed in the title to be street legal. Making mods street legal is cumbersome and expensive, so this is not an unimportant point.
If i wait two days or two months on Parts is really not the big deal with mods. It´s making them street legal here that is the big deal.
It guzzles 25litres when pulling a trailer with a second car, and 15litres for normal driving. (on average)
By pure chance i happen to know both former owners:
The first owner, who imported it back in 1994 from Canada is a guy from my town, who happens to have a Chrysler/Jeep/Hyundai Dealership and repair shop over in the next town. Right now, he rides tricked out JK´s and he just attended the National Championship with one of them. He put about 55k Miles on it. He already had a auto repair shop back then, so i suspect he also used it to pull trailers. Probably to move his non street legal Off Roaders to various places, but maybe also some regular towing now and then. I´ll have an extensive talk with him before i decide to buy. To learn more about the cars history. Since he has no stake in the game anymore, he can be perfectly up front about it. I also suspect that he gets parts from the US all the time for his various builds ect. and knows where to get them. We could probably try to put our shipments together to save freight costs. I also worked in his shop for a few days back when i was 14, trying to decide which job i´d like to learn in the future. There´s still a Polaroid floating around with me standing in front of a HUGE white Cadillac (iirc) in front of his Shop, i´ll post it as soon as it crosses my path
Edit: there it is:
You can see the blue plates mentioned later in my post on this pic.
He managed to wreck the tranny, sold the Bronco to the Ford dealer who sent the tranny off to a swiss specialist in automatic trannies for rebuild. The dealer strikes me as very up front, he freely told me that they don´t do automatic trannies themselfes. While they could, it makes more sense to let a specialist do that. (85-95% of cars on Austrias streets are stick shifts is my guess, so it´s really not something you can hold against a repair shop here. If you get a tranny to repair every 5 years (if at all) it´s kinda hard to get experienced with it.)
The second owner is the dealer i´d be buying from, and while he owned it it never had it´s own license plate. (dealers and repairshops here have a set of "Blue Plates" that you can slap on any vehicle you´d like , for test drives) The only times they used the car was to pull a trailer with a second car, using the blue plates to make it legal of sorts. And of course it looks real purty standing right at the street, drawing customers. (This dealership also has a superb Ford Model T in the showroom which is not for sale, and the Bronco is only for sale because i asked about it)
As far as the Bronco goes, let me say:
I don´t view that thing any different then the 56´ Chevy Bel Air Hot Rod with the 350HP engine i almost bought this spring.
I´m well aware that i´m buying a US Car and i don´t expect any support for it at all. There is quite an active US Car scene in Germany though, and there are a lot of spare parts floating around. Of course they´re not as cheap as from a US scrapyard
I´ve never owned a car newer then 10 years, most were twenty years old, but my favourite commuter was already 31 years old when i drove it to work every day. The cops parted us because it ran so great that i never needed a repair shop for it. So i forgot to renew the safety check. Don´t get me wrong: it had rust issues and since i forgot to put it through the safety check, i would´ve needed to show up for a extensive check that only two shops in the whole county are allowed to do. Too much work for me especially since i worked overtime daily back then, i sold it and it´s now being built into a mountain race car by two brothers i happen to know.
My oldest car was 42 years old.
If i´m being honest about it: a 20 year old car is almost to new for me, but: It´s not like i have the luxury of choosing between ten Broncos (or similar cars) when it comes to that.
It will not be my daily commuter, while i love cars i´m not above using a 500$ beater for commuting. I couldn´t care less about looks or keeping up with the Joneses. I´d ride a car without windows or doors to work and couldn´t care less fi others like it or not, but the local cops wouldn´t be amused about that....
It´s just a tool to get me there, thererore i won´t spend more money then neccesary on my commuter. The Joneses (neighbours) always liked my Euro Rat Rod Commuters though....
It´s only 4 miles after all. Push comes to shove, i can ride my bicycle there. I never had to do that, even with the worst beaters i had.
I´m just not a "new cars" kinda guy, they loose too much Value in very short time. Shitty investment they are. While the Bronco won´t get worth any less if i take care of it, and not only that: it will get worth more with the years: It´s rare here, it´s a US car, it´s a future classic.
The Bronco would be a second vehicle, fun car, antidote for my V8 craving ect. BUT: the Bronco combines the "fat V8 for cruising" with 4x4, 33´s, a winch, two trailer hitches and quite some room. On the other hand: it has an AC, is comfortable to drive and roomy, so i can also use it for long drives (vacation).
It´s also not a pure BOV, i will not go all out on it and make it into a mudslinger/rockcrawler. I seek the right combination between Off road/On road capabilities and the Bronco seems to fit that Bill. I don´t subscribe to the Theory that a BOV MUST be such an "Extreme Off Roading Rig" that it becomes an annoyance on paved roads. If someone plans to bug out cross country, then that´s fine. I´ll have to stick to paths resembling a track of sorts with occasional detours, because even with the most extreme Rig, you´ll be SOL going straight cross country in my area. Depending on the road, anything less then a Unimog especially built up for off roading, will not even traverse the embankment and the MOG will be stuck after he traversed it because the trees grow to dense for a MOG to find it´s way.
While it would probably be possible somehow to go cross country all the way with the right rig and carefull planning of your line, it also happens to be the dumbest thing you can do. Unless you do it as a hobby and for pure fun. What good is it to make 3 miles in 8 hours through this terrain? A Hiker
my grandpa will be faster traversing this terrain on foot then a 4x4.
It can traverse the worst street (private trail only a handfull of people are allowed to use, part paved, part dirt, mudslides, washouts) i usually drive on just fine when stock. (or the light mods it already has) I drove my FWD Volkswagen there in the past, but it´s really hard on the car. I think i wrecked something last week when i traversed a (big but gentle) bump/pit combo in the "road" too fast.
Laugh at me, but those bumpers i´d like to put on it: they´re more for show, not because i´m such a badass Off Roader. I´m not in a hurry about them, it´s just something i´d like to put on in the future.
(If i get that Bronc or a similar vehicle, i will get into light to medium off roading though, i need to learn it and i´d like to. I just never had a 4x4 before and i´d feel dumb showing up at the local gravel pit/rock mine with a 2wd)
I hear you on your suggestions Mad4wd!
Unfortuneately, the Pickup/4x4 Market in Austria is quite young, no matter which Mfg. and used rigs go for ridicilous prices. Unless they´re totally fucked up. If i´d get the cheapest new 4x4 pickup available, it´d cost me twice as much as the Bronco. And that´s if i buy a 2.5l Diesel. For 3.0l engines it seems the Mfg.ers like to pull an extra 10.000$ out of your pocket (the 3.0l engines seem to be sold only in the "Luxury" Class in combination with other expensive useless shit, you can´t get a 3.0l in the basic poor mans rig. That´s why the price is so high, not because of the engine alone)
Bronco, low mile, well maintained, some light mods: 10.000€
Ford Ranger basic, 2.5l: 22.500€ (other MFGers are right there with their prices, not much difference just an example because i saw the price list yesterday.)
Ford Ranger 3.0l : 27.500€ (Toyota for example, doesn´t even sell a 3L Diesel in Austria.)
Used Pickups: about 17.000€ and up it seems for those that i´d consider worth my while. Of course there is the rare occasional beater rustbucket to be had for a couple thousand, half an hour before dying.... Aftermarket support isn´t all that good for these either.
Don´t get me wrong, it´s not set in stone that i will buy that thing, especially since it´s an automatic and i prefer stick shifts. (that IS a big deal to me) I´ll be critical enough with it. Another huge point is the tranny: i will need to know how the first owner was able to wreck it. I suspect he had slight issues with it before he wrecked it, and the wreck occured because he put off repairing it for too long. Nothing new with people who have a repair shop themselfes...
Well, i´ll ask him what happened exactly and how much Trailer work it really had to do back then. It´s also not a very grey man rig.... at least around here.
But the Bronco has some things going for it. in my opinion. I will probably put 2000 miles on it per year, if it´s THAT much at all. So i don´t think i´ll need that many spare parts at all unless i become a die hard Off Roader and destroy my rig there.
I will give it a test spin at least, if only to have the experience of driving a Bronco once in my life.... lol
I´m not in a hurry, the dealer is not in a hurry either. It´s not officially for sale.