By on December 28, 2010

When Raoul Duke, protagonist of Hunter S. Thompson’s best-known work, goes to cover the story of the ’71 Mint 400 race, he attempts to observe the race from a Ford-owned truck. When I saw this ’72 at a Denver wrecking yard a few days ago, I figured I might be looking at that very same truck!

Of course, Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas is fiction, but Thompson really did attempt to cover the Mint 400 and he might well have caught a desert ride in a Bronco such as this one.

In Thompson’s words: The Ford Motor Company had come through, as promised, with a “press Bronco” and a driver, but after a few savage runs across the desert—looking for motorcycles and occasionally finding one—I abandoned this vehicle to the photographers and went back to the bar.

It looks like this truck has been sitting outdoors with the windows open for decades and the body is rusted to hell. Probably some decent parts left on it somewhere, though.

Maybe the good ol’ Windsor still runs. You never know, you know?

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10 Comments on “Could This Be The “Press Bronco” From Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas?...”

  • avatar

    I never realized these things came with a V8.

  • avatar

    THAT looks like something you’d see in a junkyard back East! A crying shame for the windows to be left down for years as had to be the case w/this Bronco. That it’s a V-8 hurts even more.
    And I’m not even a Ford guy. Hope you have some pix coming of that ’66 Caprice coupe to its left!

  • avatar

    Probably worth $4,000 as it sits.
    Incredible that someone would actually junk one especially given the ~flexiblity~ of the glove box mount VIN #. The person junking it didn’t have a clue of the Bronco’s value now…

  • avatar
    Jerry Sutherland

    Here’s what an early 70s Bronco looks like when it isn’t thrashed.

  • avatar

    Is that really a factory-built SUV, or is it a pickup with an aftermarket roof?  In the second photo, the vertical B-pillar seam doesn’t line up with the door jam, and the lower rear corner of the C pillar doesn’t line up with the rear of the lower truck body. It looks home-made.
    I’m not familiar with Fords, but the engine bay photo shows what appears to be an oil fill cap that does double-duty as a hose connector – looks like creative cost cutting.

    • 0 avatar

      @Yota: I haven’t seen one in the flesh in a while now, but that looks like the factory top. You have to remember this thing was designed in the early 1960’s (with production methods to match), and fit and finish on trucks wasn’t as tight as it we’re used to seeing today. I would have really like to have had one of those when I was teenager…
      Also, the hose going into the oil filler cap was where Ford ingeniously placed it’s PCV valve back in the day. The other end ran into the intake IIRC. No cost cutting, just primitive emissions controls.

    • 0 avatar

      Except for the color, it looks almost exactly what my next door neighbor’s Bronco looked like. Wow, was that thing crude, but it was great off road. He had it for about 20 years and finally the rust cancer was just too much, and he sold it to some local guy who has a Bronco fetish.

  • avatar

    That’s the way it was built from the factory.  The reason why it looks out of alignment is that it was really first designed for a soft top. Remember this was a direct competetor to the Jeep CJ5, and the Landrover.  We didn’t call them SUV’s back in the 70’s either, it was just a Bronco, crude, reliable and a hell of a lot of fun.

  • avatar

    Where’s ‘Zoom?’

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Pity, this must have been a good-looking Bronco when it was in good shape. Noticed at one time it had collector plates (upper half is still attached). Wonder if this was one of those unfortunate cases of a vehicle that was kept in great condition, then the owner died/got arrested/became disabled/went missing and it got parked “out back” by a relative who didn’t care, where it rotted away for the next fifteen years until someone called the salvage yard.

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