The Jimenez family started...
The Jimenez family started out with a well-worn classic Bronco. When they found the old Ford it had been sitting idle for a while, and they figured they would bring it back to life. Like so many of us do, their original intent was just to build a fairly nice 4WD. But, as the project progressed, they dove in much deeper. (Photo by Matt Jimenez).
We see a lot of cool 4WDs built by friends and readers alike. Many of us tend to look for the biggest and baddest rig with the killer engine or suspension, and possibly battle scars as proof of off-road adventure. However, there are many other jewels amongst the crowd, and we spotted this one recently at one of the large annual Bronco events.
We think it’s fair to say that Angel Jimenez got the 4x4 fever when she saw her brother-in-law’s nice Ford Bronco and wanted to find one of her own. These vintage rigs can be intoxicating to those who appreciate the iconic bodylines and stance that was created more than 40 years ago. Angel and her husband, Matt, put out the word to a few local Bronco fans and soon had a lead on a 1974 vintage rig that had come from New Mexico. Contacting Keith Jones at Proto Fab, they found he had the well-worn basket case for sale. The couple thought the classic Bronco had possibilities and soon made a deal to drag it home.
Once there, Angel and Matt, along with Matt’s brother, Andrew, began disassembly and inspection. It was quickly decided that the old Ford would get a complete rebuild and some updates to improve both looks and performance. Bygone years of paint were stripped off the body until nothing showed but bare sheet metal. The body wheel wells were enlarged and fender flares fitted in anticipation of adding larger tires.
The tailgate was repaired along with a few other tub corrections and much of the body was ready for the paint shop. After removal from the chassis, the Bronco was placed on a body dolly and sent to Stinz Auto Paint, where it received generous coats of a Chrysler-inspired metallic black paint. The three-stage epoxy paint covered the entire body along with a new aluminum dash in the cab.
Here the freshly-painted rolling...
Here the freshly-painted rolling chassis sits in their garage almost ready for the engine and tranny install. Once the tub was painted, four large friends help set it in place on the frame and the rest of the build was completed. (Photo by Matt Jimenez).
With the body out of the garage, it was time to turn attention to the chassis and drivetrain. The frame was cleaned, stripped, and recoated in gloss black paint. Fortunately, since this was a Southwestern vehicle, rust issues were minimal on the old metal.
Once painted, the frame was elevated with the help of Wild Horses lift components. Axle hardware remains the venerable, but rebuilt, OEM units. A front Dana 44 and rear Ford 9-inch retain the factory 96-inch wheelbase. The 16x8 Moto Metal 950 Series wheels are shod with 315/75R16 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrains and fill the wheel wells generously.
Under the hood lies a completely rebuilt ’88 Mustang 302 V-8 roller cam motor that’s fed with a GM throttle body fuel injection from Del City. Output power gets handled by a C4 automatic connected to a stock Dana 20 transfer case.
After eight months at the body shop, the tub was returned to rejoin the frame and was lifted onto its resting place. Next came finishing the plumbing, wiring, and all of the small details that consume so much energy during a build like this.
Outside, Proto Fab bumpers and ’cage were added along with Xenon headlights and HID lights on the front. After two years, it was finally time for the revitalized Ford to see the light of day. The project was complete, and it was time for Angel and Matt to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
They certainly didn’t build without help and would like to send huge thanks to Randy and Tiffany at Driven Auto Parts for the great work they did, as well as thanks to Matt’s brother who brought all the know-how together for the majority of the project. We think it was well worth the effort and should be a joy to drive.
||1974 Ford Bronco
||Angel Jimenez/Mesa, Arizona
||1988 Ford Mustang 302 V-8
|Ring and Pinion:
||Wild Horses 4.5-inch lift, Rancho 9000 shocks
||315/75R16 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrains
||16x8 Moto Metal 950 Series
||Driven Auto Parts aluminum dash, Autometer gauges, custom interior, Protofab bumpers
The front axle is a Dana 44...
The front axle is a Dana 44 with 3.50 gears, limited slip, and a Ford power disc brake upgrade. The couple figured the axle would provide the strength for their intended use, so a thorough stock rebuild was performed. Suspension is comprised of Wild Horses 3.5-inch lift coils with Rancho 9000 shocks. Power steering comes alive with the help of an AGR steering box.
Aft you’ll find a Ford 9-inch...
Aft you’ll find a Ford 9-inch rear axle also with 3.50 gears, limited slip, and 31-spline axle shafts. Ride quality comes from the 11-leaf soft ride packs from Wild Horses combined with adjustable Rancho 9000 shocks.
Many a Bronco has engulfed...
Many a Bronco has engulfed a Mustang motor and this one’s no exception. The choice for this build was an ’88 Mustang 302 V-8 equipped with a roller cam and further supplemented with GM throttle body fuel injection.
The Ford C4 automatic is equipped...
The Ford C4 automatic is equipped with an Art Carr shift kit for crisper gear changes. Tranny temps in the desert are kept down with the extra fluid in the deep sump aluminum pan. The tranny was built and tuned by Hughes Transmissions. Custom length driveshafts came from Arizona Drivelines in Phoenix.
The Bronco gets an updated...
The Bronco gets an updated exterior look with the Moto Metal chrome wheels and popular BFGoodrich Mud Terrains. Warn Premium hubs do locking duty on the front axle.
Dual Optima batteries ensure...
Dual Optima batteries ensure there is always plenty of starting juice left for the engine. Driven Auto provides these cool-looking billet battery bars.
A Driven Auto Parts aluminum...
A Driven Auto Parts aluminum dash was installed in place of the old stocker that had been drilled and modified over the years. It got the same metallic black paint treatment as the rest of the body and was then stuffed with Autometer gauges. A Grant steering wheel sitting on a refurbished Bronco column adds an updated look to the interior.
Front and rear bumpers, along...
Front and rear bumpers, along with the full rollcage, all come from Proto Fab and were powdercoated a glossy black. The color scheme of black, chrome, and tan keep the look of this vintage Ford clean and classy.
New door panels match the...
New door panels match the seats. All new interior parts were added along with fresh tan carpet.
The interior panels continue...
The interior panels continue in the back of the cab near the rear fold and tumble seat. Tunes were added with front dash and rear Polk Audio speakers, driven by an Alpine head unit tucked inside the Tuffy console between the front seats.
The upholstery has been completely...
The upholstery has been completely redone and modernized. Seating consists of tan Bestop aftermarket seats. The front buckets are also heated versions, a welcome addition on those cool desert mornings in an open-top rig.