There’s a new Bronco dropping tonight, but in this day and age who has the cash—or the inclination—to buy a first-year new model? Our Nice Price or Crack Pipe Bronco II is that new trucklet’s great grandfather and is appreciably cheaper. Let’s see if it’s cheap enough.
It’s human nature to seek redress for a perceived flaw. Whether it’s hanging a picture over that crack in the wall, or a balding rock star’s ever-present cap, we look to mask or minimize embarrassing aesthetic imperfections. Not to do so paints us as complacent, or worse, deleteriously oblivious.
I would say that there is no such perceived flaw in the styling of Honda’s classic S2000 sports car. Its minimalist lines and tight dimensions feel right from almost every angle. That’s why it’s surprising to see so many people piling on the car with body kits, spoilers, and crazy accouterments.
We saw an example of that last Friday. The 2000 Honda S2000 we looked at had a wide-fendered body kit and wide wheels to fill the extended arches. A number of other questionable mods—fixed rail seats, a non-airbag wheel among them—called into question the overall value of the car in its non-stock state. A $12,500 asking price seemed to acknowledge these challenges—many stock s2Kis go for a good bit more—but that seemingly wasn’t enough off the top for many of you. In the end, the car fell in a decisive 75 percent Crack Pipe loss which I would say was a pretty ugly outcome.
So, Ford is debuting a new Bronco tonight. In fact, the company will be introducing a whole herd of Broncos in an online event later this afternoon. Oops, spoiler alert! Based on the teasers the company has been running for the past week or so, the models will include both two-door and four-door Broncos with removable roof sections, and a Bronco Sport which is more crossover than an off-roader.
With the impending introduction, I have been inundated with emails and Twitter twatter asking “you’re going to do a Bronco for NPOCP on Monday, right?” I have imagined these entreaties accompanied by an aggressive nod and a pair of thumbs-up gestures on the part of the enjoiner.
Here’s the thing: prices on the OG Broncos long ago hopped aboard the crazy train. The second-gen trucks, while cheaper, are also pretty nuts unless you’re okay with something that’ll give you lockjaw the first time you work on it. Also, meh to those guys. You’ll never get the perception of OJ’s tears out of them.
That’s why I decided to focus not on the Bronco’s ancestor, but that of the Bronco Sport. Yes, that could conceivably be the Ford Escape, but we’re going to ignore that existed for the moment and go back to an even older truck line. While we’re at it, let’s look at a Bronco throw-back that appears to have a lot going for it.
That candidate is this 1989 Ford Bronco II XLT. It comes to us from the Big Easy and with just 81,000 miles on the clock. Not only that but with the 2.9-litre Cologne V6, five-speed stick, and 4WD, it’s also kitted in probably the best way possible.
The Bronco II was based on the Ranger pickup platform and arrived on the market at the same time as Ford’s little hauler. The little SUV had a relatively short lifespan, however, not even lasting an entire decade as safety issues and the impending release of the all-conquering Explorer spelled its doom.
In between though, it served as a solid, if tippy reminder of Ford’s dedication to the domestic truck market.
This one is said to have had only two owners, neither of which have ever let the truck enjoy the mud. The ad claims the Cabernet colored truck to be in “EXCELLENT CONDITION” and completely rust-free. It has both trailer mirrors and a receiver for a hitch so it could be used for light-duty towing. That fuel-injected V6 only manages 140 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque so don’t plan on any tow-offs with Tesla or anything.
The ad notes a number of new parts but doesn’t detail exactly what those might be. The A/C is said to work well and does show what looks to be new hoses on the compressor.
The interior appears to be in great shape and is awash in glorious ruby red mouse fur upholstery and complementing plastic trim. The five-speed gets a ziggurat boot with the transfer case lever next to it getting a more boring snood. Manual windows and locks ensure a less fiddly ownership experience and no doubt some much-appreciated upper-body exercise.
The title is clean, indicating this is likely not a Katrina car, and the seller says that there’s no rush to the sale.
That lackadaisical attitude may just extend to the price. The asking is $8,990 and while that’s nowhere near what a new Bronco Sport will set you back, it’s still a pretty penny for a 30-plus-year-old Bronco with a II at the end of its name.
That’s not to say it’s not a good deal. There’s a lot to like here. Plus this is, after all, a “Bronco” so you get to play that game for a news cycle. What happens once the furor over the new Bronco has faded? Will this II prove a solid daily driver or at a minimum an engaging weekender? If either of those is true, could you see paying $8,990 for the opportunity?
H/T to Matthew Derieg for the hookup!
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