Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!  

The seller of today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Bronco says its laudable condition is the result of its long being garage kept. We’ll see if that shape, and its price, are enough to let this horse run free.

Here’s a bold and brash admission: Cirque du Soleil creeps me out. There I said it! It’s not the acrobatics that gives me the heebie jeebies. I’m not afraid of heights, not even Lincoln Heights. No, it’s the contortionists with their body bending feats of limber-acity that freak me the hell out.


Now that I been given a day to ruminate on it I’m pretty sure that phobia is the likely reason why I feel so discomforted by yesterday’s 1997 Saab 9000 CSE 50th Anniversary Turbo. You see, while the seller promoted the car as a special edition, he attempted all sorts of contortions around the changes that had been made, all of which might just render its special edition-ness moot.

Add to that a salvage title and a suspect $13,500 price and it turned out I wasn’t the only one feeling uncomfortable. You too took umbrage with the car, the promotion, and the price, dunning the whole circus with a huge 94-percent Crack Pipe loss, one of our biggest ever.


Just so we don’t suffer any lingering PTSD over that Saab, today we’re going to look at a model of car that’s just plain downtown buster-brown and comes with little or no historical baggage. That’s right, we’re going to consider a 1996 Ford Bronco XLT.

Now, in our current crazy mixed up world the two-door tough as nails sport utility truck is the exception, not the rule. Hell, go to any dealer here in the U.S. and ask to be shown one. They’ll steer you to some FWD car-based tall wagon with plastic fender extenders, but that’s about as close as they’ll get. Oh, and that’ll most likely have four doors too.


What if you don’t need four doors? What are you to do if you’re the kind of friend who thinks your back seat passengers could stand a little exercise getting in and out of your car? Who’s got your back then?

Land Rover will build you a two-door Range Rover, but you’ve got to come up with three-hundred grand first. Plus you probably have to ask them nice. Maybe say pretty please with sugar on top, too.

Pffft, screw all that. We have this seemingly sweet Bronco ready and raring to go. Hell, it’s even priced so that you could buy it AND pay off TWO porn stars to keep your bad judgements under wraps.


Nineteen ninety six was the last year for the last Bronco, and while we keep hearing that Ford is bringin’ the Bronco back, it’s not going to be anything like its predecessors, I guarantee it.


This two-tone (Light Willow Metallic over Pacific Green Metallic) XLT is in fact the last of its breed. After the end of this model’s run you couldn’t buy a full-sized two-door SUV with a removable rear cap in the States any more. Even smaller models like the Chevy Tracker, Land Rover Freelander, and Toyota’s first generation RAV4 two-door were really living on borrowed time by then.

So this is a representative of a category that really just doesn’t exist any more. The closest thing is a pickup truck, but those are, you know, not the same game.


The ad says that this 188,000-mile Bronco has seen its fair share of the inside of a garage and that’s why it’s in such nice shape. The paint is clean, the chrome still shiny, and the bug deflector still keeping the cicadas from peppering the hood. There are a number of small dings here and there, but nothing that you couldn’t live with. The bull bar up front is a nice touch of bling too.

Step inside and you’ll find acres of plastic trim and lots of ubiquitous grey mouse fur upholstery. The seats, both front and rear look as flat and uninviting as three-day old beer, but at least they’re all clean as you could want. The only major addition here is a modern stereo popped in the dash. A funny factor here is the tach which only goes to six-thousand and lacks any sort of redline whatsoever. That’s okay since you won’t be wringing out the 5.8-litre Windsor even if you wanted to.


That 351 pumps out 205 horsepower and 328 lb-ft of torque. Now, that’s not a lot, but it’s about wall Ford could do with the old girl and still have it be able to do more than just get from one gas station to the next on a single tank. I’d also like to point out that in the Bronco, the V8 has one of the longest and most creepily snake-like top radiator hoses in truckdom.

The mid-sized V8 is backed up by a four-gear E4OD which is modernized version of the company’s stout C6. Part time 4WD is made possible by a two-speed transfer case and manually locking front hubs.


This being a top of the line XLT model it comes decked out in all the finery Ford could provide at the time. The seller says that all works and the car comes with a clean title and certificate of emissions compliance from the fine state of California. The asking price for all that is $7,900.

What’s your take on this Bronco and that price? Does $7,900 seem like a fair deal for a reasonably clean if somewhat high-mileage throwback? Or, is a Bronco with a price that breaks it?

You decide!


Inland Empire, CA Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to onlytwowheels for the hookup!

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