When buying a Ford Bronco, you should first consider what you want the vehicle for. It can be a great collector piece or an everyday driving vehicle.

After a long pause in production, the Ford Bronco is officially back on the market. We consider the 1974 Bronco to be the best overall due to its sleek design and efficient driving capabilities. However, if you prefer a better daily option you can opt for the 1992 or 2021 Bronco too.

Comparing a brand new 2021 vehicle to a 1974 model may seem crazy, but when kept in good shape this vehicle provides simplicity on the road that is unmatched. You also get a touch of vintage with the Ranger wagon design. Finding a 1974 model for your garage will require some due diligence but you will be glad you did.

Determining the best year Ford Bronco is difficult because everybody will have a different preference. However, this information is all based on the key features they offer along with the value changes over the years for the best Broncos. This guide includes everything you need to know about the best year Ford Bronco.

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Best Year Ford Bronco

The Bronco has had an interesting history with its design constantly evolving over the years. It was initially unveiled in 1966 as the first generation compact SUV with multiple body style options.

The unique thing about the Bronco is the limited amount of vehicles that would be produced every year. Ford would only release 12,000 to 25,000 per year of the first generation and even as popularity grew, it never became an overly produced vehicle in an attempt to maintain the rarity of the different models.

The Ford Bronco has been positioned in 2021 as an alternative to those who love off-road driving but want more comfort and elegance. Its interior is more contemporary than ever with leather upholstery, power seats, dual-zone climate control, and even a remote start option.

The long-awaited arrival of a new Ford Bronco has spurred conversations about the vintage old school models and in this guide, we discuss all of the best available options you have to choose from.

1974 Ford Bronco - Best Overall

The Ford Bronco came out in 1974 and was one of the most popular off-roaders in the world for many years. It had a powerful 5.0L V-8 engine with automatic transmission for more efficient driving.

The 1974 model was one of the first to be offered as an automatic transmission vehicle with only 25,824 ever being manufactured and released for purchase by Ford.

It also came available in various trim options. The three trim options included a sport trim, ranger trim, and explorer trim. There is no best choice and simply is based on your personal preference and what you like about each vehicle.

The Explorer package was a short promotional package offered during the spring with burnt orange or grabber blue as the primary color offerings. There were other colors added to the 1974 release too including Ivy Glow, Light Grabber Blue, Burnt Orange, Pastel Lime, Village Green, Samoa Lime, Bold Orange, Gold Glow, and Sandpiper Yellow.

The popular engine used in a majority of the 1974 models was a 302 CID V8 with 125 HP at 3,400 RPM. It is an extremely powerful vehicle with 243 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 RPM.

Ford also upgraded the axle shafts to improve the off-roading ability as an initiative to increase the towing capacity above 2,000 pounds. Initially, the Broncos used a Dana 30 but the 1974 model uses a Dana 44 front axle.

The 1974 Bronco release included the most vehicles from production among first-generation models making it more popular. The upgrades in the engine, transmission, and body design make it the number one option because of its collector value and driving performance capabilities.

1992 Ford Bronco - Best For Daily Driving

The 1992 Ford Bronco is a popular and iconic SUV of the 20th century. It was made famous for its rugged design and toughness when driving in difficult, off-road terrains.

When it comes to long-lasting vehicles that can drive many miles without any issues, the 1992 Bronco ranks near the top. Many drivers report getting over 200,000 miles from their own 1992 Broncos without any major problems.

This makes it the perfect option to use every day and rack up miles at an affordable price. While it does not provide the same collector value as some of the older models, it is a reliable all-around vehicle.

Ford completely changed up the body style and model in 1992. This is a 3-door full-size SUV with a 300 cu in (4.9 L) straight-six engine. It also includes both an automatic or manual transmission option.

Many of the upgrades and changes revolved around improving the safety features on this vehicle too. The anti-lock braking system was installed to replace the previous outdated system with an addition of airbags too.

There were 25,516 total 1992 Broncos manufactured and released for purchase. This included some of the special edition options that were made available too.

There was a monochrome Nite edition and an Eddie Bauer outdoors edition that was launched in 1992 and range for multiple years as alternative body style options to choose from.

The 1992 Bronco did not include any specific performance upgrades that made this a special vehicle. The primary safety and body style upgrades are why it became a much more durable and reliable daily driving option though.

1979 Ford Bronco - Best For Durability

The 1979 Ford Bronco has a sleek design and is perfect for off-road use. It also has a powerful engine. The vehicle is part of the second generation of Ford Bronco releases as a full-size 3-door SUV.

One of the features that make this vehicle stand out from its competitors is its valve body, which makes it possible to use unleaded gasoline or diesel fuel with minimal performance loss.

Ford decided to redesign the body style for these second-generation releases to more directly reflect the F series of vehicles. The body size and chassis increased by 12 inches at the wheelbase, 28 inches in total length, 11 inches in width, and 4 inches in height. This became a much more powerful vehicle on the road.

It also marked the first time we saw the lift-off hardtop body style on the Ford Bronco with either a 351 cu in (5.8 L) engine and automatic transmission.

The reason this vehicle is best built for durability is that the handling and heavy-duty power it can provide off-road while maintaining longevity on the road. It can last for long sets of miles and is known to require very few repairs along the way.

2021 Ford Bronco - Best Modern Design

The return of the Ford Bronco with a 2021 release has reminded the world exactly what we have been missing all of these years. The new design is extremely modern and represents a look we have never seen before from this vintage line of classic SUVs.

It is a refined SUV that drives with excellent comfort and precision, handling more effectively than a traditional Jeep Wrangler. The design also maintains the retro feel while improving on many features with innovations.

The downside of this vehicle is the lack of a V8 option that past models were so proud to represent. However, the 2.3-liter four-cylinder or an optional 330-hp twin-turbo 2.7-liter V-6 is more than capable of providing an amazing driving experience.

It comes equipped with 35-inch mud-terrain tires and Beadlock wheels that handle with excellent accuracy in off-road conditions. However, the way it handles on the pavement is unlike any previous model providing a refined feel of comfort and smoothness.

It can also two over 3,500 pounds with ease, matching similar capabilities to a Jeep Wrangler but with even better on-road performance. The design is not to be forgotten too.

It comes available as both a two-door and a four-door option with soft tops or hardtops. There are also removable body panels and unique interior innovations. You can expect plenty of cargo space inside too.

Overall, this new 2021 release exceeds all expectations and provides a new touch on an old classic vehicle we all know and love so much.  

What To Consider When Buying An Old Bronco

Many people buy old cars for various reasons. Some might be buying a car to restore it back to its original condition and others might be looking to save money on their next purchase.

When buying an old Bronco, it is important to consider what you want out of the vehicle. If you want it as a collector’s item or to restore, then go ahead and look for one kept in good condition.

There are many different Bronco types, so you can even find older models that still run well with minimal miles to still drive every day. If you're planning on buying one yourself or hoping to sell one down the road then these factors might help you decide whether it's worth your time or not.

Vehicle Title

Before anything, you should review the title of the vehicle that includes important information like the VIN and proper documentation about the vehicle history. And if the vehicle has been owned by multiple people in the past, the current owner should have a title from those sellers too.

Without the title, it is risky to buy any vehicle because you won’t have a full scope of the vehicle history. However, some older models before the early 1980s won’t have an original VIN inspection because this procedure did not exist yet.

Working Condition

Always take the time to turn the vehicle on with the seller and take it for a test drive if possible. You are best served to know exactly how well it currently runs on the road and you should be alarmed if the seller does not want to allow you to test drive it.

In many cases, the working condition may be impacted by minor issues but as long as the seller is transparent with you it should not be an issue that impacts a potential sale.

Brakes

Older Ford Broncos with the original braking system will be outdated. It is important to check if they have been updated with a more modern braking system more up-to-date with today’s standards before buying.

This is not necessarily a deal-breaker if the brakes are older, but the vehicle carries much more value and driving capability with an upgraded system. Even if you buy your Bronco without new brakes, you should consider making the upgrade on your own.

Engine

When checking the engine and transmission, you are trying to see whether your old Bronco is equipped with a new upgraded engine or the original factory equipment from production. The older engine is not a bad thing, but it will severely limit what your Bronco can do on the road.

Body Style

Lastly, look at the exterior for any noticeable dents or damages that are significant. While it may not be easy to find an old Bronco in perfect condition, the exterior should pass your inspection and live up to the listed price before purchasing.

When Did Ford Broncos Change To Automatic Transmissions?

In 1973, a three-speed automatic transmission was added to the Ford Bronco. This new addition allowed drivers to have more control over their vehicle which led it to become a popular mode of transportation.

The three-speed automatic transmission was added to the Bronco in 1973 and turned this vehicle into one of the more versatile vehicles on the market.

There was a major shift in the industry and the buyer demand for automatic transmissions continued to grow, forcing the Ford automakers to include newer models to meet this demand on the popular Bronco.

After this release, Ford started to release most of its new body types as both a manual and automatic transmission option for drivers to choose from.

How Rare Are Ford Broncos?

The Ford Bronco as a whole is considered a rare vehicle because of the long gap that existed in between production up until the newest release in 2021. There were only around 10,000 to 30,000 vehicles released every year from the original production period too.

In most cases, the older the Bronco the rarer it is but it all depends on the specific body type and trim too. Some runs were limited releases that only ran for a few months with a unique color or trim so these definitely rank as much rarer vehicles than others.

Overall, if you look at the yearly price increases in a typical classic Ford Bronco you will notice significant changes indicating exactly how rare these vehicles really are.  

What Tires Should I Put On My Ford Bronco?

Depending on your current tires, it may be time to make an upgrade for your Bronco. The type of use you are looking for will play a major role in determining the best type of tire for you and your Ford Bronco.

The best option for most people is just buying an all-terrain tire and putting them on before heading out of town for an adventure trip. They are more durable than the standard tires that you would find on most cars. They also provide an increased ground clearance, better traction, and increased safety.

These tires are designed to be used in various conditions like snow, mud, sand, and dirt. All-terrain tires are easy to install and they will improve your driving experience on bumpy terrain without compromising safety or control of the vehicle.

About THE AUTHOR

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

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