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LAS VEGAS, Nev. – In terms of gag gifts, it was a good one – perfect, in fact, for a classic car enthusiast. Now years later, it will finally get the attention it deserves.
The 1968 Ford Bronco wagon was left for Jay Leno as a joke, arranged by fellow late-night TV host Craig Ferguson to be parked in Leno’s spot on the eve of his last taping. Ferguson was unaware of the iconic status of the Bronco – and had no idea how highly sought after these models are. But long-time car collector Leno knew. He happily accepted the gift which ended up sitting in his garage unrestored until recently.
A project years in the making, the announcement of the new Bronco spurred many discussions when anyone from Ford would visit Leno’s garage. The effort to restore the vehicle finally materialized early this year with Ford Performance and SEMA Garage leading a collaborative team to give it new life.
The upfitted and newly restored 1968 Bronco will be on display at the 2019 SEMA show.
Ford Performance worked with some of the industry’s restoration all-stars to bring that Bronco back to its former glory – and then some. The Bronco has been outfitted with the heart of the all-new Mustang Shelby GT500, the most-powerful street legal Ford ever.
Ford Performance engaged the expertise of noted Bronco licensee Kincer Chassis to help restore the vehicle – Kincer built the chassis and installed the powertrain, including the aforementioned Ford Performance 5.2-liter supercharged V8 engine.
Dennis Carpenter Ford Restoration Parts provided body panels, while SEMA Garage contributed its technical expertise in computer-aided design, 3D printing and calibration work. LGE-CTS Motorsports, the award-winning and women-owned shop, revived the body with new sheet metal, custom body mods, paint, and final assembly.
“Bronco was an iconic vehicle that was many things to many people,” said Leno, now host of Jay Leno’s Garage on CNBC. “The Bronco was bought to use on the farm or to take your date to the prom and was comfortable in any of these environments. The idea of having a classic Bronco upgraded with modern handling, performance and braking really makes it the best of both worlds.”
The 1968 Bronco wagon will be seen on an upcoming episode of Jay Leno’s Garage on CNBC and will be showcased in detail on Jay Leno’s Garage on YouTube.
A stellar team of outfitters and tuners incorporated all of these custom pieces into restoring Leno’s 1968 Ford Bronco:
- Ford Performance 5.2-liter supercharged V8 engine
- TR-4050 5-speed Silver Sport transmission by TREMEC, with Quickdraw bellhousing and STX shifter assembly
- Heavy-duty 4WD drivetrain
- Advance Adapters Atlas II transfer case
- Specialty components by Krawlers Edge, including custom airbox, exhaust fabrication, stainless-steel gas tank and coolant package
- Radiator and supercharger cooler by Brice Thomas
- Borla mufflers
- Vibrant Performance exhaust components, hoses and fittings
- Aeromotive fuel filter
- II Much fuel vent
- Engine oil cooler by Derale Performance
- Stage 8 locking header bolts
- Lifeline Batteries
- Full Throttle Kustomz Performance tuning and diagnostics
- Kincer Chassis Adventure Series coil-over chassis
- Wilwood disc brakes and master cylinders
- Fox 2.0 factory race series coil-over shocks and steering stabilizer
- John’s Industries third members with Eaton Detroit Truetrac differentials and gearing
- Carolina Driveline driveshafts
- Dutchman Motorsports axle shafts
- Flaming River steering column
- Tuff Stuff power steering pump
- Warn locking hubs
- Gaskets by Lube Locker
- BrakeQuip brake lines
- Axle seals by Seals-It
- Painless Performance Products wiring harness
Wheels and tires
- 18 x 9-inch John R steel wheels by Detroit Steel Wheels
- Rugged Trail T/A 275/65-18 tires by BFGoodrich
- Installation of new sheet metal, custom body modification and final assembly by LGE-CTS Motorsports
- Custom "Tonight Blue" Envirobase paint supplied by PPG Industries, applied by LGE-CTS Motorsports
- Dennis Carpenter Ford Restoration Parts body panels, trim and accessories
- AMP Research side step
- STRATASYS 3-D printed grille insert molded into Dennis Carpenter sheet metal grille by LGE-CTS Motorsports
- Kaseser Air Compressors
- Sony audio with Scosche enhancements
- Eagle Ottawa genuine leather with custom perforation installed by Rogelio’s Upholstery
- Dakota Digital gauges