New UAW documents imply that the next-gen Ford Bronco will have at least a partially aluminum body. This would mean Ford’s new off-roader would ditch a classic characteristic of pretty much all Broncos ever built: rust. So let’s honor the five generations of Bronco that succumbed to the evil that is iron oxide.
I’m going to be honest and admit that the only reason I’m writing this article is that I have, for a few months now, been considering purchasing a dirt-cheap Ford Bronco. And, since I live in Michigan and since nice Ford Broncos cost far too much money, this means my Facebook Marketplace searches have consisted mostly of enormous mounds of brown iron oxide, each topped with four tires, some rubber hoses, glass window panes, and maybe some interior fabric.
The upcoming Ford Bronco, however, may look like an actual vehicle after 20 years of salt and moisture, because it could be made of aluminum. This comes to Jalopnik via a tip from Bronco6G.com, a forum dedicated to the upcoming generation of Bronco, and one that points out a recent agreement between the UAW and Ford. That agreement, shown below, states that The Blue Oval will invest in its Dearborn Stamping plant so that it can make stampings for the new Bronco.
Dearborn Stamping, as shown in the image above, also cranks out stampings for the Expedition, Lincoln Navigator, and full-size Ford pickups, all of which have fully aluminum bodies, so there’s a decent chance the new Bronco will have quite a bit of aluminum on top of its frame, as well. We don’t know if the entire body will be made of the element, or if the lighter metal will make up only certain components.
Any use of aluminum is a big deal, of course, because Broncos have a long-standing tradition of finding a way for every single body panel to rust out.
The first vehicle I’d like to mention is a 1987 fourth-gen model for sale in Owosso, Michigan for only $500 “or best offer”! The image above highlights just how badly the bottom edge of the body has succumbed to the Brown Metal Eater, but that doesn’t mean this thing isn’t a hell of a deal.
“Engine doesn’t run but is not locked up just needs a set of injectors,” the author writes in the caption. “Has a new fuel pump but tank needs to be replaced. Brake lines are rusted out so it has no brakes.” I contacted the seller, who told me the truck ran three years ago, and that the frame is rusty but “solid.”
So for $350 (assuming you can negotiate it down 30 percent, which, if you’ve bought junkers before, you should be able to), you can get a Bronco with a strong backbone and an engine that needs only minor work.
I legitimately might buy this.
And if I don’t snag that one, the 1991 model above with the amazingly rusted tailgate is listed at only $800 in Van Buren, MI. Wow that’s a toasty machine.
Moving to the second generation, I found a Davison, Michigan listing asking $3,000 for a pair of 1979s. There’s a white one with a manual transmission and quite a bit of brown sheetmetal as seen above, and then there’s the black one below.
It may not look too crusty from the outside, but fear not, those of you with the Rust Lust, for the interior shows just how badly the rot has set in. Behold the lack of floorboards:
Yes, that’s the road below; Those are gigantic holes. Practical if you don’t want to get out of your vehicle to urinate, if you locked your keys in your car, or if you like to drive onto frozen lakes and go ice fishing. But impractical in literally any other situation.
Per the seller, the white truck needs carb work and new rails to hold the top on, and the black one—which is apparently actually blue—needs carb work and, of course, new floors. I think three large is a bit steep, but I’ll admit I’d definitely pay a premium for the four-speed stick.
I also spotted the a 1978 model for sale in Green Bay, Wisconsin. That’s it above. Wow does that crooked driver’s side headlight bezel make the truck look pathetic. So does all this oxidation on the sides:
Though really, it’s the interior, filled with two cylinder heads, a driveshaft, and a disassembled steering column, that really rounds this machine out as possibly the most pathetic SUV I’ve seen all day.
Then there’s the “O.J. Bronco,” the fifth generation built in the early and mid 1990s. The white 1995 model below is for sale in Crystal Lake, Illinois for only $750, and even comes with a four-inch lift kit!
Under the hood is the venerable 5.0-liter V8 mated to an automatic transmission. “Will run with a good battery,” the listing reads, though it later goes on to say the trans line leaks and that “the body is very rusty.”
The chassis, the seller writes, is “very useable,” so that’s good, as is the fact that the price is “or best offer,” meaning you can negotiated it down to $500, I bet.
If a third-generation Bronco is what you desire, buy the one above listed for $1,500 in Lancaster, Ohio. It has tons of rot in the wheel arches like pretty much every Bronco ever driven in the salt belt. The seller offers no description, which is fair. It sort of speaks for itself.
Lastly, there’s the beloved first-gen Bronco, an example of which is for sale in Manchester, Ohio for $7,500. That’s a crap-ton of money, but then again, first-gens are hot right now. And frankly, the one above actually looks damn good with all that surface rust. It’s a nice patina, if you want to call it that, and it apparently stems from previous owner allowing it to sit since 1984.
Anyway, all of this is just my way of getting out of just writing a basic news post about how the Bronco might be made of aluminum. Instead, I figured I’d put it into context, because Broncos are known to be total shitboxes. And who knows, when the new truck launches, maybe someone out there—a very ill and deeply-disturbed someone—will decry it as unfit for the Bronco name due to its oxidation-resistance. Probably the same person who still pines for the days of the carburetor.