Back in 1966, Ford created the Bronco in an effort to capture the growing enthusiasm for off-road adventure. The most basic example is a model called the Roadster, which arrived from the factory sans doors and roof. Expert restorer Jonathan Ward and his Icon outfit got ahold of one and turned it into one of the firm’s popular “Derelict” models.
This old truck has a wonderful story. It’s been owned by the same family since new. A gentlemen purchased it and then gave it to his son. That son drove it around and met his girlfriend with the truck. His girlfriend became his wife and the truck remained in the family as well. Time marches on, and the truck wasn’t being driven much. So the owner reached out to Ward to see if he might want to buy it. After looking at just one photo and talking to the seller over the phone, the truck was scooped up.
Jonathan Ward wasn’t sure if he’d find a buyer right away. Not every client fully appreciates a Derelict build, but Ward posted the old Bronco and his ideas online. Within 20 minutes, he had a client ready to step in with cash and the right enthusiasm for the project.
A Derelict build retains the earned patina a vehicle gathers over its long life. You can see the spots of surface rust on the skin of this Bronco. Underneath the body though, that’s where the true Icon engineering is hidden. It looks like nothing has been done on the outside, which Ward says is actually harder to do than the standard Icon builds.
The build team wants to update where possible but it can’t touch everything. For example, there’s a spot in the inner driver’s side fender where the owner’s father noted all of the worked performed to the truck over the years. That’s a bit of history that Ward won’t simply paint over. But peer closely and you’ll find the Icon elements throughout, such as the spun pewter Icon lizard mounted central in the steering wheel.
There’s plenty of power too. A Ford Coyote 5.0-liter V-8 sits under the hood and cranks out 420 horsepower. That’s backed up by a five-speed manual gearbox that sends power down through the Twin Stick transfer case and out to the Dana 60 rear axle and Dana 44 front axle. This is a classic machine that would have no problem wheeling around in the dirt.
And it’s a vintage truck that’s getting a fresh lease on life, even after it’s already lived a happy one with its prior owner.