DECEMBER 2017: “TWO YEARS OF NOT SEEING HIM”–A 1979 FORD BRONCO STORY

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1979 was a time when the last days of disco were on AM radio and the Ford Bronco was enjoying its 23rd consecutive year as one of the Big Three’s original sport utility pioneers.

 

The 1979 Bronco was largely based upon a shortened version of the ‘79 Ford pickup’s full frame chassis and was built as a 4×4 to handle the rough stuff as a truck with a fancy body shell.

 

The ’79 Bronco has the Ford truck’s coil springs on the front and leaf springs on the back of the chassis. The 1979 Bronco had part time 4WD as a standard feature and offered a full time 4WD option as another  choice for its customers.

 

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Shane Lundgren is not in the mechanical trades, but he has been working on vehicles since he was 10 years old. A 1979 Ford Bronco interested Shane enough to make a purchase and initially he felt his ’79 Bronco would require a minimal amount of work on his part.

 

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So Shane bought the truck and started to “clean it”, in his words, but Shane added; “I knew I would never be happy- even though the Bronco was in really good shape.”

 

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Shane described himself as “kind of picky” and he wanted to make his 1979 Bronco as close as he could get to his concept of perfect.

 

The Bronco was painted white when Shane bought it, but he noted the truck was originally red and white in color, according to Shane’s research.

 

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The Bronco had spent part of its time in the Phoenix, AZ area and the red paint was beaten up by the sun, so it became a white truck.

 

The dash and carpet on the Bronco were replaced because they had not aged well over the ensuing years. However, the seats in the truck are original in every way, according to Shane.

 

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The Bronco’s engine is not the same because Shane built the 460 into a 523 stroker and it is now a full-fledged stallion on the street. The massive increase in horsepower has been a big trade-off for the Bronco because it only gets about 130 miles from a full 30 gallon tank.

 

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The sad math on the gas consumption (a little over 4 mpg) means Shane will continue to seek a good balance between speed and economy with his Bronco.

 

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The entire project (thus far) has taken longer than anticipated for Shane. In fact, his wife Leanne said the Bronco project has meant “two years without seeing him”, in her words. Leanne is likely grateful that Shane did not tackle the automatic tranny rebuild or the repaint.

 

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However, Leanne does like the truck as much as her young daughters, and they are serious car girls that have been influenced by their car guy dad. The Bronco project has been a big part of their lives and Shane has built a family fan club over the years.

 

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MSCC will leave the final comment about her girls to Leanne: “Our girls love old vehicles.” 

 

Jim Sutherland

 

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