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For Sale: 1966 Ford Bronco in Charlotte, North Carolina

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Vehicle Description

Will the automobile industry ever match the glory it achieved in the 1950s and 1960s? A hallmark of an industrial powerhouse that's spawned legendary designers, groomed global leaders and literally driven innovation, the 'Golden Age' was an excellent time to be a car enthusiast. Consumers were enamored with the latest and greatest cars, and virtually every manufacturer, from Ferrari to Hudson, was busy winning on Sunday and selling on Monday. It seems only fitting that, along with celebrated personalities and modern-era dynasties, this period gave rise to some of the coolest collector cars ever created. In addition to being the oldest restored Bronco in existence, this Heavy Duty ute is a heavily optioned corporate car that, unlike most of its first-hour peers, is largely original and exceptionally correct. And if you're in the market for a pedigreed collectible that backs an incredible story with timeless looks and impressive attention to detail, you're reading about your next classic!


You might be wondering what's so special about this Bronco. Well, many things...

Let's begin with a little Ford history. Like most OEM manufacturers, Ford is constantly chasing efficiency. In addition to building multiple products off the same assembly line, the company's engineers are forever tweaking factory techniques to create better products, quicker. Back in August of 1966, the company's Michigan Truck Plant was tasked with building the first Bronco while continuing to crank out well-established models like the F100 and F250. And that's where this historic U15 enters the picture. Assembled during the first hour of Bronco production, it's both unique and exclusive in character and execution.

Bronco number 51 is currently the seventh oldest Bronco in existence and, currently, the oldest restored Bronco on the planet. Now, you might be asking how the seventh oldest Bronco in existence is numbered 51. Easy - as stated, the Michigan Truck Plant produced a variety of models, and most historians believe the facility's truck VINs were intermingled and not necessarily sequential. That means Bronco 51 was likely the 51st unit of combined F100, Bronco and F250 production logged during the first hour of August 11th, 1965. Hardcore Bronco enthusiasts will know that the 1966 model year was unique in that Ford was very much fine-tuning the model, especially in its first three months. Because Bronco number 51 has been so well preserved, it's an exceptionally correct classic that still retains unique production quirks that, on most of its kin, have been either eliminated by modern restoration or lost to the trails of time.

That brings us to the truck's specific purpose. In addition to being the seventh oldest Bronco in existence, the oldest restored Bronco in existence and probably the most correct early Bronco in existence, it's also the earliest known U152 Heavy Duty Bronco in existence. That's right, all six of this Ford's predecessors are light duty U150 models with less kit, and that cool distinction was the restorer's first clue to this classic's initial mission. Manufactured under a DSO 89 Transportation Services code, wording that might be quite familiar to Mustang enthusiasts, the restorer initially thought the truck was sold to some sort of fleet. However, given that this Bronco was, and still is, a highly optioned example of a basic ute, that just didn't set well with him. After more research, it was discovered that most DSO 89 builds were either given to Ford executives or used as marketing vehicles. So, there you have it: this Heavy Duty Bronco was likely manufactured as a factory showpiece that was paraded around by Ford Motor Company brass.

When the restorer found this Roadster on Craigslist back in 2010, it had been sitting for close to 30 years. A cherished member of its first buyer's family, the truck had been parked when the family's patriarch fell too ill to continue driving it. The restorer, an extremely dedicated Bronco enthusiast, knew he'd found something really special. He'd restored plenty of Broncos, but he knew this unique rig would be next level. Over the course of five years, he conducted a frame-off, concours restoration that was, at times, very extreme. How extreme you ask? Well, let's just say he bought multiple complete 1966 Bronco donors simply for the purpose of cherry picking one or two parts off each truck. That said, this was a very clean, largely original U15 full-top ute when the restoration started, which is undoubtedly why it retains so much of its early-build character. Created by the Budd Company for Ford Motor Company, the truck's solid profile is mostly original, lending its correct Caribbean Turquoise two-stage seasoned retro flare. And that appropriately '60s flash looks great under correct, optional rocker panel stripes.

In addition to those aptly named stripes, this Ford was assembled with an interesting array of notable aesthetics, some optioned and some unique to early-build Broncos. At the front of the truck, an early-build 'eyebrow grille' hangs crisp parking lamps and old school halogen headlights above an optional, 1966-exclusive bumper that features optional guards. Behind that grille, a sculpted hood, complete with optional windshield washers, flows to a hinged windscreen, which hangs an early-build mirror behind polished wipers. Original Carlite greenhouse glass, which casts reflections in optional chrome mirrors, caps original handles, simple "Bronco" scripts and a color-keyed fuel cap. And at the back of the truck, a 1966-exclusive lift gate shades 1966-exclusive taillights that, complete with optional bezels, illuminate an optional, 1966-exclusive bumper.


As most Ford historians probably know, Dearborn kicked off Bronco production with a 170 cubic inch inline 6-cylinder. The 289 that is often retrofitted to these trucks wasn't technically on the option sheet until about halfway through the 1966 model year. So, the completely rebuilt and carefully detailed mill you see in this roadster's super clean engine bay is both correct and original. Designed from the ground up to be a tough-as-nails workhorse and, serving as primary Bronco power for almost a decade, the Thriftpower Six is a favorite among vintage truck fans because of its simple design, adequate power and excellent durability. And, in the name of authenticity, pretty much everything on this ute's 170 has been returned to intentional, factory-spec simplicity. At the top of the engine, a 1966-exclusive oil-bath air cleaner caps a requisite Ford carburetor. Note the correct, optional 'Houston DSO' six-blade pulley fan. Both the truck's alternator and starter are original units that have been professionally rebuilt. And there's even a super rare, 1966-exclusive metal fresh air box.


Believed to be the oldest U152 Heavy Duty Bronco in existence, this Ford's been Built Ford Tough literally from hour one of day one! Power meets the pavement through an original 3-speed which, like the truck's Thriftpower Six, was the only kit Ford offered at the Bronco's launch. That drivetrain powers an optional 9-inch axle that, included with the factory's Heavy Duty hardware, is correctly rebuilt with an optional limited-slip differential and optional 4.11 gears. That drivetrain rolls in a correct Heavy Duty suspension, which combines correct, optional skid plates with original Heavy Duty leafs that have been professionally re-arched. Stops are provided by a quartet of manual drums which, you guessed it, includes correct Heavy Duty units out back. An aluminized, single-pipe exhaus...for more information please contact the seller.

Vehicle Details

  • Listing ID:CC-1431090
  • Price:$109,900
  • Location:Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Year:1966
  • Make:Ford
  • Model:Bronco
  • Exterior Color:Caribbean Turquoise
  • Interior Color:Gray
  • Odometer:4185
  • Stock Number:136894
  • VIN:U15FL732051