Buying a Classic Ford Bronco? 5 Questions to Ask


By Maxlider’s Erik Maxlider 

“I have a 1966 Ford Bronco I’m trying to get rid of, are you interested?”

Even after buying, selling, building, and restoring hundreds of Ford Broncos, each time I hear from a seller or track down what looks to be a perfect Bronco to restore, I get excited. I’m like a kid at Christmas ready to open his first present, but I’m also cautious because I’ve had my heart broken before. We’ve all gotten a pair of socks or bedsheets when we were expecting a monster truck or BB gun.

As a business owner and someone who makes a living off of buying, restoring, and selling Ford Broncos, I have to use our time and money wisely. I have to make sure that present is worth opening before getting out my box cutter. So when we get a call about a Bronco for sale, I always ask these five questions, which you should ask too if looking for a Bronco worth buying:

#1. Do you know where it’s spent most of it’s life?

Where any car, especially those over 25-years-old, has lived is the very first question you should ask. The most expensive aspect of restoring an original Bronco is repairing body damage, rust, and rot before it can be repainted and reassembled. For any vehicle in the north, midwest, or northeast, a rusted out body is almost a certainty due to damage caused by salt used to break up snow and ice during the winter.

While we’re based in the heart of Illinois, Maxlider looks for vehicles from the south and southwest. If you are considering buying a classic car that has lived in a region with snow, proceed with caution.

#2. Does it have rust? If so, where?

First generation Ford Broncos are at the very least 40-years-old. Rust isn’t always a deal-breaker, but where the rust is located might be. Rust on the door post or rear quarter panel is almost always a death sentence for the body of a Bronco, and it goes from restorable to scrap metal.

#3. What’s the history of the engine, and can you document it?

Getting an accurate history and documentation of an antique engine is as difficult as it is important — very. Outside of asking for the number of miles on an engine, I ask if it’s rebuilt and what their definition of “rebuilt” is.

A properly rebuilt engine is one that’s taken down to the block, which needs to be measured, retreated, and built back up. Having any and all records of what’s been done to the vehicle and the engine adds value to it, and also gives you more information to go on when making a decision whether to buy or pass.

#4. What type of SBT?

Three aspects of a Bronco that all play into their desirability and value are the steering, brakes, and transmission.

  • Steering: Classic Ford Broncos can have either manual or power steering. The preferred option is power steering.
  • Brakes: Does it have manual or power brakes? If they are power, are they disc brakes? We recommend having at least front disc brakes for safety.
  • Transmission: While rare to find, automatic transmissions are what people are looking for in a Bronco. If the transmission is stock, it’s a 3-speed transmission (even if it’s automatic) that will allow the Bronco to go around 55 MPH.

#5. Do ALL the VIN numbers match, and can you prove it?

Ford Broncos are like precious babies to me. If I’m buying a baby, I want to know it’s social security number, name, and food allergies. I want to know the Broncos VIN, which is in several different places; the frame (two spots on the frame contain the VIN), glovebox, and on the title with the frame being the dominant VIN. Before buying, I want proof that all of the VIN numbers match.

Have a question for Maxlider Brothers Customs? We’re your Bronco experts and happy to answer any and all of your questions. Submit your questions here, and make sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook for pics, news, and updates!