Last of the Analogues: 61k-Mile 1996 Ford Bronco XLT

  • November 17, 2020
Why We Like It

In typical Ford character, the original Bronco from 1966 sustained production virtually unchanged through the 1977 model year. Even with competition building more civilized off-road vehicles that could be used more often in the city rather than off road, Ford stuck to the original formula. It was almost like the battle Henry Ford fought to keep the Model T – Henry didn’t like change, regardless of how the competition was moving on from. The T was a winner and so too was the original Bronco. Many of Ford’s top brass thought the Bronco was mainly to compete with the Jeep CJ (which it did well) but the Dodge Ramcharger, Chevrolet Blazer, and GMC Jimmy represented the most volatile competition to the Bronco, and they were all selling well, much more so than either the Bronco or CJ and indicating the market wanted a more useful vehicle, with more interior space, friendlier ride and driving characteristics, more creature comforts, and more power. Ford introduced their second-generation Bronco in 1978 to great acclaim, finally giving GM and Chrysler something to worry about. Through multiple generations, the Bronco would ramble on largely unchanged, the 1992-1996 Broncos marking the last.

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In recent years, Bronco prices have been climbing aggressively, in part because they have been coming of age, in part because so many were abused and destroyed leaving so few worth looking at, and in part because Ford had been teasing the idea of reintroducing the Bronco, something that usually drives up the costs of the originals, and something Ford made good on. The new Bronco is here, Al Cowlings retired his, and this one is a perfect example of what’s been going on.

Built in the final year, this XLT is not even the top of the line Eddie Bauer Edition, but it does have the optional 5.8L V-8 engine and it is a true four-wheel drive. The interior is the mid-level cloth in blue, which is relatively rare, and the exterior is white – likely the most famous color a Bronco can be, thanks to O.J. Simpson’s low speed car chase with law enforcement in Southern California in 1994.last-of-the-analogues-1996-ford-bronco-xlt00P0P jKRtDPoU5TO 0CI0t2 1200x900

last-of-the-analogues-1996-ford-bronco-xlt00q0q jjFuEQlYP1M 0CI0t2 1200x900But all that aside, this Bronco presents exquisitely well – there really doesn’t seem to be a flaw in sight. The paint appears perfect, the interior looks immaculate, the wheels are spectacular, all the chrome, plastic, and ancillary metal give no sign of abuse. Even the undercarriage looks well kept, and not recently detailed. Finding a final gen Bronco like this one isn’t hard, but it’s not easy either. The only flaw we can see is the miles. It’s not much of a flaw, given the condition, but at nearly 61k miles, they’re a touch high for collector status. Granted, it’s 24 years old, and the mileage could be a lot, lot higher, but there are still several ’92-’96 Broncos available with fewer miles costing roughly the same price. Some of them are even Eddie Bauer Editions with leather, two-tone paint, and specially appointed interiors – if any of that matters. That said, these Broncos, when well cared for, are known to provide a service life of about 400,000 miles before needing a full rebuild. And, this one does seem to be in spectacular condition for the age and miles. Not that they’re really high, just comparatively speaking.

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So, the miles are touch higher than we’d like to see for this price, but let’s be honest, finding another one in similar condition isn’t impossible, just a little difficult. Bring a Trailer just sold a ’91 with 30k miles for $90k, and considering this one presents beautifully, we can’t say its overpriced. It will likely be a great investment over time and, like the old man once said, “They ain’t buildin’ ‘em like this no more.” Get it while you can – five years from now it’ll be a different story.

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