Custom Truck Series - 1966 Ford Bronco Re-Lives Le Mans Heritage July 29, 2013
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world. This race holds the title of the world’s oldest active sports car race. Held annually since 1923 in the town of Le Mans, France, this race tests not only driver skill, but endurance, efficiency, and willpower during the 24 hours in which it is run. Ford has long been a competitor in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but 1966 is a banner year for the motor company’s history in the race. It was this year that the Ford GT40 came in first, second, and third. The first two owned by Shelby-American, Inc. and the third owned by Holman & Moody. If this were a site about race cars I would continue talking about the cars, their drivers, and what this meant for racing history. I would, but we’re all about trucks here. The Bronco Heritage Enter the 1966 Bronco Heritage, built by Galpin Auto Sports (GAS). This classic Bronco was built from the ground up for a showing at the SEMA motor show. Emblazoned with Ford’s heritage livery and a number 66, this Bronco was built for show, but there’s a lot of go hiding underneath. Powertrain The Heritage Bronco is powered by a 540 horsepower Ford 277 cubic inch Stroker engine. A Ford AOD transmission transfers that power, which is controlled by a custom-tuned Edelbrock EFI and powertrain control system. For exhaust, GAS built totally custom headers and exhaust. Suspension Since this Bronco was built as an off-road beast, suspension and axles are very important. GAS installed a DANA high-pinion 60 rear axle with an OX air locker so the differential can be locked via some switched air pressure. A fully custom long-travel 3-link rear suspension was installed with King Performance Race Series coil-over shocks to round out the rear end. For the front axle a DANA 44 front axle was used, also with the OX air locker. A custom 4-link front suspension with the same coil over shocks we used on the front of the Bronco. This suspension set up was chosen to give the Bronco some rock climbing power. Wheels and Tires In keeping with the rock-climbing theme, GAS chose 16” Mickey Thompson Champion bead lock wheels by Alcoa and wrapped them in BF Goodrich Mud Terrain T/A tires (LT315/75/16). Since brakes are used for more than just stopping power, but rather staying power, ¾ ton disc brakes were installed on all four wheels. Safety With all these toys installed, it might be easy to forget about some of the safety features that are necessary. To keep things safe, GAS installed a fully custom and integrated roll cage to give more stability and protect in case of a roll-over when rock climbing. Custom front bars, skid plate, and rear bars were all fabricated and installed by GAS as well. Cobra sport seats with 4-point belts and harnesses by Deist Safety were installed to make sure the driver and passenger stay in the Bronco when things get a little sideways. The Bronco still has a rear bench seat, but it was fully customized to fit with all the new hardware. Auto Meter gauges were installed to make sure the driver always knows what is going on with the engine. A new spare tire mount and trailer hitch receiver were custom fabricated by GAS to match up with everything else that was customized. Wrap-Up The triple-crown that Ford won in the 1966 Le Mans race was one of the most prolific single race wins for any manufacturer, which is why GAS chose to honor this with the Heritage Bronco. Perfect from the tires up to the top of the roll cage, this beast can do far more than just look pretty on the SEMA show floor. Given the opportunity this truck will rock climb with the best of them. Want to learn more about the Bronco or check out other trucks the guys at GAS have created? Check out their site here and make sure to look through the cars section, too.