Donor 1968 Bronco arrived from a local Bronco collector in early 2016. Since a restomod was planned, the initial task required stripping the donor down the frame and body. The Owner quickly enlisted the services of John Cole at Elite Broncos in El Cajon, CA. John is a highly experienced classic Bronco builder and Baja truck-racing enthusiast. John has built numerous high end Broncos, from street cruisers to rock crawlers.
While we initially planned a nice restomod in the $60-70k range, the plan evolved as we ultimately decided to attempt to build one of the nicest classic Broncos in the world.
All of the frame, body and paint work was completed by Braun Mollenhauer – highly respected fabricator in Alpine, CA. The frame and body were stripped completely. The body received new floors throughout, new firewall and “uncut” rear quarter panels were grafted into the existing “cut” quarter panels to restore the Bronco to its uncut originality.
The frame was powder coated and reinforced throughout. Since we decided on a Coyote power plant, we upgraded the rear suspension from the traditional leaf springs to a quad link system sourced from Krawler’s Edge to provide better traction and stability for the increased Coyote power: http://www.krawlersedge.com/quad-link-a-custom-4-link-system-by-krawlers-edge/
The frame was also reinforced for the front suspension – Bilstein Racing shocks with nitrogen reservoirs were installed.
Total lift is approximately 4 and ½ inches – 2 “ body lift and 2 and ½” suspension lift.
New front and rear axles were sourced from Bronco Connection – Dana 44 front axle and Ford 9” rear. Both were equipped with new Wilwood disc brakes (front and rear). The rear axle was narrowed 1” to ensure proper clearance for the rear uncut fenders. The front axle is equipped with premium Warn locking hubs.
Following body fabrication, a Viewfinder windshield was sourced from a vendor in Canada (it was actually the last one in existence). Braun completed the fabrication of integrating the Viewfinder windshield into the body – this windshield allows for relocation of the windshield wipers and motor from the top of the windshield to the more traditional modern placement below the windshield, allowing for much improved visual clearance. It’s an extremely rare upgrade that isn’t seen on $300k Broncos. Braun also crafted a custom fuel door on the driver’s side rear quarter panel. A new fuel tank was also installed in the rear of the vehicle.
We chose a modern Ford Ruby Red paint color (same color on Ford Raptor) for this build. It is a staged paint – base, followed by clear coat. Braun coated the floors with a paint matched Rhino Lining bed liner product to effectively seal the floors. The body, hood and engine bay were completed in Ruby Red. The interior floors and firewall then received Lizard Skin insulation throughout before final covering with custom carpeting. Braun also fabricated a custom mesh insert that sits behind the original grille – creating a mild modern feel upon inspection.
Front and rear bumpers were sourced from Cal Auto Creations, a custom fabrication shop in Nebraska:
Both bumpers were further modified locally to create a streamlined and leveled appearance.
AMP Power Steps were installed – they run the entire length of both rocker panels – automatically open and close when the doors open/close and have under mount LED lighting for safety.
A custom six-point family roll cage was fabricated, and powder coated in a silver vein finish. This roll cage ties into the frame as well as multiple anchor points on the body.
A custom dash was fabricated – with relocation of the instrument cluster from the traditional left side of steering wheel to a more centered position on the dash. The instrument cluster is the most upgraded Dakota digital HDX option:
A generation IV Vintage Air conditioning system was installed as well as 2 Switch Pro control units to accommodate all electronics and lighting.
Extra USB ports were also added to the dash for accessory control.
The emergency brake pedal was deleted – in favor of an electronic e-brake from e-stop. On/off button is under lip of dash.
A custom steering wheel was ordered from Budnik in a complementary gray powder coat and wrapped with matching BMW leather.
Howard McKee – a local well-known custom interior fabricator, completed all of the interior seating and aesthetic upgrades.
The owner sourced front bucket seats from a salvaged BMW 650i convertible. Both seats have functional 18-way power control, 2 stage heating and the driver’s seat has 2 memory functions. The seats also have integrated 3 point seat belts. The donor seats were recovered in Dakota brown leather. The rear fold and tumble bench seat were sourced from a modern Jeep Wrangler 2 door. This was also recovered in the matching BMW leather. 3-point seat belts for the rear bench seat are secured into the roll cage for added safety.
Custom door panels that span the entire interior door add a high-end custom feel to the interior. These panels are covered in the same BMW Dakota Brown leather and a gray leather accent stripe.
The rear interior quarter panels are also covered in the BMW Dakota Brown leather.
A center console from Icon 4x4 completes the aesthetics of the cockpit.
This console houses a Pioneer Apple Carplay (satellite capable) head unit, power window controls for the front windows and seat heater switches.
A backup camera was integrated into the rear bumper and connected to the Pioneer head unit.
Front and rear speakers were installed and recessed into the front and rear quarter panels for a more stealth finish.
For further customization control, we opted for an electronic transmission controller as it allowed a way to delete the usual column shift for the Ford automatic 4R70W transmission and provides more specific control for shifting into specific gears (i.e. steptronic shifting capability) This shifter is integrated into the front of the center console for easy access.
The powertrain consists of a new Ford Coyote 5.0 liter V8 crate engine (400+ HP), new Ford 4R70W automatic overdrive transmission and a new Atlas 2 transfer case.
Custom drive shafts were fabricated after final drivetrain installation.
A brake booster was also installed in the engine bay. An engine dresses up kit painted Ruby Red completes the customization of the engine bay.
Foregoing an off the shelf wiring harness, the builders opted to have the entire truck custom wired by a high end off road racing truck builder, Mark Guthaus.
With all of the added electronics on this build throughout, we felt custom wiring would ensure the proper reliability and safety needed for operation.
A BC Broncos soft top wraps the exterior. This is a very high end soft top that has a removable sub frame. The top is black marine fabric with removable tinted windows
The exterior also includes matte black mirrors, door handles, key locks and Bronco emblems.
Wheels are Method Race Wheels “701”: 17” x 8.5” in matte black.
The wheels are wrapped with BFGoodrich All Terrain KO2 34” x 10.5” x 17”.
This build has truly been a journey. It continued to morph from the initial goal of a “nice restomod” to our attempt to build one of the nicest Broncos in the world.
The Owners and Builders have been to numerous shows to compare some of the high dollar builds in the current marketplace – and we know this Coyote Bronco is simply a better build with stronger features throughout – from performance to function to aesthetics.