The Cost To Restore An Early Bronco (With Charts)


If you have an early Bronco you’re wanting to restore, or you’re thinking about getting one to restore, then congratulations! You have one of the most beautiful pieces of history that most people love. Restoring an early Bronco is a smart investment if you do it right and it can bring many memories to come with friends and family. But if you’re thinking of diving into such an endeavor, you may be wondering how much it’ll cost to restore an early Bronco.

So, what does it cost to restore an early Bronco? The cost to restore an early Bronco will range between $15,000 – $30,000 if you plan on doing the restoration yourself. If you have someone else restore it for you, your early Bronco restoration will cost between $35,000 – $50,000 if it’s in medium condition.

Restoring an early Bronco does take a lot of hard work, but it’s completely worth it when you’re done. Early Broncos have been an American favorite for a long time and will continue to be so for a while. There’s a lot more to consider than just the cost when it comes to restoring an early Bronco. I am currently restoring one right now and have a good idea of what it’s like.

Break Down Of Costs

Restoring an early Bronco is really fun, but it does take a lot of work. You can save tens of thousands of dollars if you plan to do the restoration yourself with minimal professional help. A lot of people may get overwhelmed with the idea of restoring a classic car themselves, but I assure you that it is completely doable if you have the motivation, funds, and space to do so.

I also think there’s a bigger sense of pride when you’ve finished restoring a classic car yourself. When people admire your work, you can confidently say “I did this.”

The first thing you’ll need to think about with your early Bronco restoration is the engine and transmission. The Bronco I’m restoring is a 1966 and it was in very rough shape. I mean, it had rust everywhere because it had been sitting in a field for years in Mississippi. I was able to buy it for $2,000 and I know it still had a good components I could work with.

I could have worked with the engine and transmission it came with, but they were both original and so rusted out that I didn’t think it was worth my time and money to fix them up. Most people, however, have an engine and transmission they can work with in an early Bronco restoration, so my situation is in the minority.

I have a friend that owns a towing business and has a salvage yard full of cars. He was kind enough to let me get the 302 V8 engine and 4R70W transmission from an old Ford Explorer he had sitting out there for free as long as I took them out myself. For engine parts, plan on spending about $3,000 – $3,500. For transmission parts, plan on spending about $1,500 – $2,000. I have an Excell sheet I’ve made for all the expenses required to restore the engine and transmission for an early Bronco.

This is what it cost for my engine parts.

This is what it has cost to rebuild my transmission.

The next thing you’ll need to consider is how much body work you’ll need to do on your early Bronco. Like I said, the Bronco I bought was in really rough shape and I’ve had to replace a lot of parts on the body. Body work will be your most expensive fix and will require the most patience. Again, if you’re willing to do body work yourself, you can save thousands of dollars. It will just take more time.

I am doing all the body work myself including painting it while borrowing a friend’s paint booth. But you probably don’t have near as much body work that needs to be done like mine, so the costs will cancel out. For body work, plan on spending $7,000 – $13,000. Here’s a more detailed description of individual costs for the body:

The next thing you’ll need to focus on is the interior. It’s easy to cut corners on interior, but I encourage you not to because I’ve tried it and in the long run it doesn’t work out. It’s okay to save money, but don’t go so cheap that you’ll end up spending more money eventually. For interior, plan on spending around $5,000 – $10,000. I’ve listed all the things my Bronco needs for the interior below:

My Bronco literally needed everything new for the interior.

The last major component I’ll point out is miscellaneous items your early Bronco will need. This includes brake conversion, exhaust, axel rebuild, etc. Though these are listed in the miscellaneous category, every piece is just as important as the previous components mentioned. For miscellaneous items, plan on spending around $4,000 – $8,000 on your early Bronco restoration. I have listed below all the miscellaneous items I need for my Bronco:

As you can see, I have the total it will cost me to restore my early Bronco highlighted in green. It may seem a bit expensive for someone who did everything themselves, but remember that my Bronco was in really rough shape and I literally have turned every nut and bolt on this thing. I’ve also taken the body off the frame and have focused on each component individually.

Because I’ve taken the liberty of listing almost every expense you could have on an early Bronco restoration along with where you can get the parts, you should be able to easily calibrate how much your early Bronco restoration should cost.

And in case you were wondering, this is the early Bronco I am currently restoring. You can see how much work it needed before I started.

How To Save Money While Restoring An Early Bronco

There’s no question that restoring any classic car can get expensive and, at some points, get very frustrating. You may find yourself getting stuck and not knowing what to do next so you may give up and have a professional handle it. And sometimes that’s okay because at least you tried.

Like I said before, if you can restore your early Bronco yourself, you can save tens of thousands of dollars by doing so. If you’re on a budget like me, this may be your only option anyway. The good news, though, is that restoring an early Bronco is completely doable, even if you don’t have any experience.

The beautiful thing about technology nowadays is that we have an endless reservoir of information at our fingertips: the internet. A lot of what I’ve learned about cars in general have been from the internet, specifically YouTube and forums. So don’t let your fear of doing a big project like this prevent yourself from achieving something awesome: restoring your own early Bronco. If you are interested in restoring your early Bronco yourself, click here to see my list of recommended tools for classic car restoration.

There are other ways you can save money during your restoration process. One big expense you’ll find from buying things online is shipping costs because often times you’re purchasing big and bulky things. If you plan on purchasing items from the companies I have listed in my Excell sheets, there’s a trick that save save you thousands of dollars.

Get a list together of what you need from each company. Once the list is put together, check the website every single day because every few months they have deals where they will ship for free. It’s easy to get a little antsy because you want your Bronco parts now, but I guarantee that if you wait a little, the sales will come and you will save a lot.

If you have a full early Bronco to work with, meaning it has all of it’s components, that puts you at an advantage. You may be surprised with the things you can sell from your Bronco to help fund your restoration. This doesn’t just apply to early Broncos, but also to any restoration altogether.

I restored a 1968 Firebird with my father-in-law. We were able to sell about $5,000 worth of old parts that we wanted to replace anyway. That $5,000 went a long way with helping us restore this Firebird. Try to think outside the box and look up every single part you’re thinking about just throwing away. Chances are, someone out there wants it.

The Worth Of Early Broncos When They’re Restored

It’s no secret that early Broncos are popular classic cars to have. It seems that no matter what era, the Bronco has always been an American favorite. Buying and restoring an early Bronco shows to be a smart investment because it seems that their value continues to appreciate. The worth of newly restored early Broncos, or well kept early Broncos, can range from $40,000 – $80,000.

Ford has been teasing the public about revealing their new Bronco model. We’ve all been begging to see it and just when it seems like they’re getting close to the big reveal, they announce the date has been pushed back. There have many speculations about what it’ll look like, and quite frankly it seems like it’s going to be a beautiful vehicle.

Perhaps the fact that Ford keeps teasing us all about the new Bronco coming out has made us all more nostalgic and appreciate the early Broncos more. I speculate that is the reason the worth of early Broncos is slowly increasing over time.

Perhaps another reason why the early Broncos continue to be worth so much is because you can get a lot of uses out of it. Broncos are great for off-roading if equipped with the right gear, they’re great family cars if they have a back seat, and they’re perfect for hauling loads if you take out the back seat. The multiple uses of the early Bronco seems to be valuable to a lot of people.

Is Original Worth More Than Restomod?

If you’re a classic car enthusiast, you may be familiar with the argument of whether or not original is worth more than restomod in a classic car. Both sides have valid arguments that would compel anyone to be on their side.

Some say that keeping a classic car original would make it worth more. It would mean that every part were the very parts that came from the manufacturer the day the car was released. Every part of the vehicle would be considered an antique and would fit in nicely with the red of the car. Many people find value in that and prefer that over a restomod.

People who believe in restomod, or restoring a classic car using modern systems and technology, is worth more than original parts. Some people like the look and feel of classic cars, but still want modern comfort and safety in the classic vehicles they drive. So putting in a new engine with an updated braking system and softer seats is worth more to others than having it all be original.

But what about the Bronco? Is an early Bronco worth more if it’s original or been through a restomod? Surprisingly, numbers show that early Broncos are worth more when they’re restomods. For example, there are several companies such as Icon Broncos or Maxlider who will completely build an early Bronco for you from the ground up starting at $120,000. The crazy thing is that a lot of people are paying those prices. I haven’t seen one original early Bronco worth that much, ever.

Whichever side you believe is better, I think it’s safe to say that we all agree that early Broncos are beautiful pieces that represent an awesome part of history. Ford certainly got it right when they produced these and I’m sure that in the many years to come they’ll continue to be America’s favorite classic vehicle.

Related Questions

How much does an early Bronco top weigh? Full cab steal hard tops for early Broncos weigh around 180 pounds and full cab fiberglass tops weigh around 100 pounds. Half cab steel hard tops weigh around 90 pounds and half cab fiberglass tops weigh about 45 pounds. Click here for more info.

When did Ford stop making the Bronco? Ford decided to discontinue the production of the Bronco in June of 1996. The biggest reason Ford discontinued their production of the Bronco was due to a reduction of it’s sales and the public’s decreased interest in the vehicle.

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