Summer is the time for blockbuster sequels and sure enough today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Bronco comes to us as a II. Let’s see if this old school trucklet could be priced for boffo box office.
The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen is a cautionary tale about the importance of looks and how no one will give you the time of day should you choose to be unattractive.
The looks of yesterday’s 1992 Mazda Miata MX-5 were certainly questionable. That led to many of you to also call into question the car’s integrity and even its $2,500 price tag. Typically, any running vehicle around that low a price would hands down be deemed as a winner. However, that Mazda’s awkward aesthetics doomed it, and it fell in a sizable 61 percent Crack Pipe loss.
There are stories in the news these days about how younger folks—millennials, gen ø and such—are eschewing the traditional rite of passage of obtaining a driver’s license. Instead they buy a fancy hand computer and then send selfies that they might delete later.
This phenomenon is perhaps the reason why I’m presently seeing a lot of cars for sale that are advertised as ‘Adult Owned.’ It seems that only adults are interested in owning cars these days.
This 1989 Ford Bronco II XL is described in its ad as being adult owned. It’s also old enough that most Millennials probably wouldn’t even know what a Bronco I was. I mean, they don’t teach a chapter on OJ Simpson in history class these days.
For the grownups however, there’s a lot to like in these cheeky old Bronco IIs. This one in particular offers some interesting bits of kit. With a mere 60K on the clock, it should all be in reasonably fine fettle as well.
Power here comes from Ford’s long-serving Cologne V6, in this case in 2.9-litre displacement and featuring electronic port fuel injection. In the BII it was tuned for 140 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque. No those aren’t great numbers today, but back in ’89 they weren’t bad.
Behind the modest six sits a Mazda-sourced 4-speed plus overdrive manual. That’s mated to a two-speed Borg Warner transfer case which sends the power backward to a leaf-sprung live axle and forward to a Dana 28 front axle on coils.
This is all claimed in the ad to run and drive excellent. The one-adult owner truck is also an XL, the mid-level trim package. It’s not fancy by any stretch of the imagination, but it does appear clean and the cloth upholstery seems to have held up admirably over the years.
A large center console offers storage and a pair of cup holders, while ahead of that a pair of aftermarket gauges—oil pressure and water temp—ogle your knees. Those seem redundant to what’s already in the factory cluster, but maybe they’re there as back up. Other aftermarket pieces include a bug deflector on the leading edge of the hood, and an RV trailer hitch beneath the front bumper; both practical additions. I think my favorite piece though, is the Frankenstein-style battery cut off under the hood. That looks like a hoot to have.
Everything save for the steering is manual here, including the mirrors, door locks and what gear to be in. That simplicity will either be seen as refreshing or annoying depending on how much of a dilettante you might be.
Should you be a stickler for looks you’ll find little wrong here. There’s a sizable dent in the rocker just below the driver’s door and some peppering to the white paint over all, but it’s nothing bad. The factory alloys also show some evidence of getting in touch with their inner curb but look okay from about 20 feet back. Those are wrapped in Michelin tires with a good bit of tread and a dripping coat of dealer-applied Armorall.
The Bronco comes with its original manuals and Owner’s Guide. It also comes with the stigma of it being a Bronco II. These models suffered from a combination of a short wheelbase and a high center of gravity that, combined, could lead to undesirable actions in emergency situations—i.e. they could flip over. That’s led to some folks avoiding the model, preferring the later and longer Explorer for their old school Ford backroading adventures.
I say nuts to them; the Bronco II should be fine in most situations. The Suzuki Samurai faced similar accusations over the years and nowadays nobody cares. The question now of course is whether this Bronco II is worth the bucks being asked for it.
That price is $6,995 and that’s getting well into used Jeep territory. Hell, you could pick up a very nice XJ from this era for less than that. David Tracy just did.
That however, isn’t the point. Not everyone wants a Jeep. Maybe when cut, you bleed Ford Blue? Maybe you just like the funky dimensions and overall looks of the little Bronco?
Either way, it’s now time to decide if this low mileage Bronco II is worth that $6,995 asking. What do you think, could this little Ford command that much? Or, is that price too big a ticket for a II?
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