By on October 2, 2015

FORDBronco-2716_2

In 1996, Ford sold about 28,000 Broncos. This was the same year the Explorer finally cracked 400,000 units, the vast majority of them XLT trim or above, and each one carrying a healthy markup over the Rangers from which they were unashamedly derived.

The Ford dealership where Rodney and I worked sixty-five hours a week to earn thirty grand a year stocked at least four Medium Willow Green Explorers with the XLT 945A Popular Equipment Package (PEP 945A) at all times and sometimes even a Medium Willow Green Explorer XLT with the lowbrow, cloth-seat PEP 941A, but we did not, I repeat, we did not stock the Bronco. In fact, during my year at the dealership, I only saw two brand-new Broncos come on the lot.

There was a reason for that.

A few months ago, I explained to you that you don’t want a Jeep pickup. I gave a few reasons, but the primary one is that, for most people, a Jeep and a pickup satisfy exactly the same need — said need having little to nothing to do with actual hauling or off-road capability. Most Jeep owners don’t go off-road and most pickup-truck owners will go years without hauling something that wouldn’t fit in a Camry with the rear seats lowered.

At this point, surely some of my valued readers will point out that they just went off-road the other day in their Jeeps to help a stranded Boy Scout troop and when they all got home they decided to build a new garage and they totally used their truck for a whole year getting all that stuff.

All of you can look at this page of Land Rover Freelanders going off-road in, like, the most awesome way. I owned a Freelander for a couple of years and I took it through water up to the doorhandles and I sank to the axles in mud and I ascended steep ATV trails and you know what it doesn’t matter because pretty much EVERYBODY ELSE IN THE WHOLE WORLD WHO OWNED ONE OF THOSE THINGS used it the same way you’d use a Honda CR-V.

Brief moment of irony: the Freelander was really a left-field CR-V because it used some of the platform and suspension that BL-Rover got from Honda during their period of cooperation.

The point, however, is that “corner cases” do not a general case make. By and large, the extra capabilities built into pickups and Jeeps are not used often enough to validate their existence, in the same way that most Lamborghinis are just used for shopping trips in Dubai. If you’re doing 204 mph in your Huracan, you’re the exception, not the rule.

So, with that in mind, why wasn’t the Bronco the biggest-selling vehicle in America? Return with me to the spring of 1995, dear reader, and take a ride in a Bronco with me.

The Bronco is basically an F-150 of the thoroughly-refined generation that had been so popular with buyers that Ford continued to sell it alongside the “aero” 1997 F-150 for a full year after the new truck’s debut. The styling, inside and out, was popular with truck buyers. It was durable. It was easy to drive, too, because the standard F-150 was dead easy to drive and the Bronco had a shorter wheelbase.

To sit in the second row of a Bronco was truly to enjoy one’s self because those seats were “theater elevated” above the fronts. Everybody in a Bronco could see the road. If you were willing to go to some effort to make it happen, you could even remove the top, which is the primary way the Bronco differed from the contemporary full-size Blazer/Tahoe two-door. If you lived in California and didn’t mind a little chance of rain in your cabin, a topless Bronco was a wonderful way to travel.

You get the idea. Broncos were very nice. They were available from Ford in pretty much every F-150 trim level, from vinyl-seat XL to upscale Eddie Bauer. You could get them two-toned if you liked. They should have been the best-selling full-sized thing Ford made.

Instead, they were sales poison and my dealership refused to stock them. Why? It’s this simple: Broncos, despite their high-profile endorsement by a friend of OJ Simpson in the Nineties, had a reputation as being trucks for white trash. To own a Bronco was to define one’s self as some sort of Florida hick who liked muddin’. While the Suburban quietly gained a reputation as a horse-trailer superstar and the oh-so-Grand Wagoneer ascended into the Hamptonian aether, the Bronco couldn’t escape its association with the Deliverance crowd. This continued to be the case even as ownership of a full-sized pickup gained social acceptance outside country-music circles.

It was the lack of perceived utility that killed it, I think. For most of the past century, the American upper-middle class liked to be perceived as the kind of people who ate their vegetables first. Pickup trucks had a plain utilitarian purpose and Suburbans were obviously for large families with the need to tow or carry large loads. The Bronco, on the other hand, was just for fun and the removable top made that abundantly clear. Therefore, your 4,000-square-foot tract home crowd could justify a pickup truck and they lusted after a loaded-up Suburban, but a Bronco would have been irredeemably tarred with the brush of powersports and Jobbie Nooner.

The impeccable demographics of my professors-and-hipsters neighborhood dealership meant that we didn’t even want them to be troubled by the sight of a Bronco. Well, that wasn’t strictly true; we had a first-gen 2WD Bronco that we used to plow the lot in the winter, but by 1996 nobody recognized that as a Bronco anyway — they thought it was a Scout.

Nobody ever asked me about a Bronco. I never took an order for one. The rare customer who did inquire about a Bronco was sent down to the hill-trash dealership where the owner appeared on television with an acoustic guitar and pretended to be some sort of buffoon despite having a pre-med degree and not inconsiderable credentials as a chemist. Those guys had a row of Broncos right up front and they were proud of ’em.

When a long-time friend of our dealership principal insisted on ordering a Bronco from us, we kept it in the prep shop until he came to get it. “Fucking ridiculous vehicle” was my general manager’s opinion as it drove off without our dealer sticker on the back bumper. “You’d be better off with a crew-cab F-150 Bauer.” I nodded sagely.

That’s where my Bronco story would end, were it not for Mike. Mike was the “lot boy” and general handyman at our dealership. White, rural, late forties, looked like he was sixty-five years old. He drove the plow truck and cleaned the toilets. In the spring of 1996, Mike decided he wanted a Bronco. He wanted a loaded XLT. He sat down with our general manager, who showed him in no uncertain terms that it would be impossible for him to afford one. Mike nodded his head and said nothing.

Three days later, he drove his new Bronco XLT onto the lot. He’d gone down to the hick shop and done a five-year open-end lease. He could afford the payment and he wasn’t the type of man to think much past that. He parked it up front so we could all see it. I stood there at the front door and waited for the general manager to roll in.

Which he did, around noon. He parked his white XLT 945A Explorer next to the Bronco. Looked at it. Walked up to me.

“Get Mike.” I got Mike. Mike stood before him. “Mike,” my boss said, “park that piece of shit down the street. If I see it here, I’ll have it towed. And Mike,” he called, as our lot boy slouched out to his new truck with his shoulders slumped…

“Start looking for another job.”

In 1997, Ford introduced what we’d been waiting for — the Expedition. It had four doors. No removable top. Compared to the Bronco, it was a heavy, sluggish thing with a dim, dank cabin from the mandatory tinted windows. Our customers lined up for it. The Expedition was the answer to their prayers. It was socially acceptable. It ate the vegetables first.

In 1997, Ford sold 260,498 Expeditions, many of them through my dealership. And Mike’s Bronco sat down the street, rusting slowly while he failed to find another job. Then one day, long after I’d quit the dealership, I heard that Mike had finally been fired.

“What did the boss say?” I asked my friend, who still worked there.

“He said, ‘Get out, and take that fuckin’ Bronco with you.'”

“Well,” I replied, “I’m not surprised.”

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154 Comments on “No Fixed Abode: The Last Days Of Bronco...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Excellent.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    In ’96, I leased my first Ranger from the guitar-player dealership and, while they exhibited certain less-than-admirable qualities, they never treated me the way your dealer’s lot boy was treated. Shameful.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    What killed the Bronco? Same thing that killed every other two door SUV: four door SUVs.

    • 0 avatar
      Mandalorian

      Exactly. It fell into a gap and just got swallowed up. With the 4Runner/Explorer/Tahoe/GC on one side and the Jeep Wrangler on the other, there just wasn’t a place in the world for a Bronco anymore.

      In the 90s when SUVs became mainstream people realized that the 2-door ones (save the Wrangler) were kind of useless and by the end of the decade hardly any were being produced.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      I do agree that the “redneck” image with the Bronco. My buddy had an 80’s era one with lift kit, 40 inch Monster Mudders, winch etc. He worked at a saw mill and always managed to break something after finishing graveyard shifts. They all tended to get drunk and stoned after the shift (and during – sorta like Chrysler employees). They’d then go find mud holes to play in.

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly I like you Jack but this is one of your more crackpot theories. It really was all about door count.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I really feel like the redneck, hillbilly reputation came from the short lived late 70s extra large model. Even stock those suckers screamed “Joe Dirt”.

  • avatar
    06V66speed

    I remember my Albanian coworker’s Eddie Bauer Expedition. It was that Burgundy with Khaki-cladding with the same beige leather interior. It was hot stuff. He used to the be “porter” (what you call “lot boy”), then I filled that position, becoming the new “porter” (aka lot boy). He (the Expedition owner) became a salesman.

    Originally, the owner of the Buy Here/Pay Here was using the EB Expedition as a demo, until he sold it to my Albanian friend.

    I agree with your sentiment, 100%. The waves that the Explorer caused with its surging popularity seemed to be trumped by the Expedition. Now, fast forward to these times, I haven’t seen a first generation Expedition in… wow, probably about 3 or 4 years.

    Funny thing about that so-called undesirable Bronco… ummm… have you seen the values for those things lately? Not cheap by any stretch, lol.

    With regards to the “removable” top: my grandparents had an ’83 K-5 Blazer with the same so-called “removable” top. They never took it off, at any point during the 20+ years they owned it, citing ongoing squeaks and rattles after removing it just one time.

    I like to think the same would occur with removing the top from a Bronco. Don’t do it.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I still see first gen Expeditions ALL over the place. They are quite universal among working class white, black, and particularly hispanic families. Sure it chugs gas but for the most part the mechanicals are pretty solid. Exhaust manifolds will crack (distinctive sound), the front wheels might be sporting a few degrees of negative camber from dangerously shot front ball joints, and the air suspensions have long since crapped out. But the 4.6 and 5.4 mod motors, together with the 4R70W transmission, are troopers (sparkplug issues notwithstanding). The section 8 inhabitants renting across from my parents had a worn out RWD eddie bauer with a failed rear air suspension. Hearing them bounce off the rev limiter trying to get their poor abused beast on bald tires out of a snowy/icy driveway was always a treat.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The Bronco is valuable today, because it rusted within three months any time an owner drove past a grocery store that sold Morton salt.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Every time I see that generation of F-series (Bronco included) it’s rusty. And I live in a place where normal cars never rust.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        I think this has to do with sheet metal design not adopting a non-hem seal application. Ford has circled back and is now hem sealing all sheetmetal hems. The 1980’s saw Ford divert from this strategy, but without sufficient up front design to allow panels to drain off properly. Hems were closed with welds and fenders still had awful lips that collected garbage.

        Ever since the Windstar, Ford has been all about corrosion protection.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Then why was the later Freestar was so awful at it?!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Because a Freestar is a Windstar by another name.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I thought they were different bodies, but that’s because I forgot about the ultimate incarnation of the Windstar. Never see em.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            That’s because Ford paid to take most of them off the road. In 2012/2013, there was a parade of rusty Ford minivans to dealerships. The fix often cost way more than the vans were worth. Therefore, Ford paid more than market value for them.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            So Tom having one a couple years after that was rather unusual. Occasionally I’ll still see a Monterey around, however.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Well he liked the van, and his was in good shape (relatively), so he elected to have the fix done and give it a go.

            At the time when the recall was being done, I remember overhearing a Ford dealership service advisor talking to a Windstar owner. She needed new tires, new brakes, the oil hadn’t been changed in over 2 years (25K miles), the transmission was slipping, and it also needed work on the front axle. Her response: “Fix the recall honey, I ain’t paying for all that.” I’m guessing there were many many Windstars and Freestars in that condition.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            All that work at a dealer would have been over half the value of said car. Ha

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      Hmmm. Could the third gen GM F body be far behind?

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        IROC-Zs are starting to be worth more and more…

        And thanks to that, people are actually taking care of them and fixing them up it seems, because I see a fair number of clean IROCs.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Ok.. Crabspirits.. finish the story for us.. “A sullen Mike walked slowly towards the now rusting Bronco after he’d been fired. One tire was near flat and the battery was dead….”

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Mike sat in his blue Coleman folding Quad Chair and sipped a can of PBR as he went through the events in his head.

      “Boss, you wanted to see me?” Mike asked holding his ballcap in hand.
      “Get out, and take that f*ckin’ Bronco with you” the dealer replied.
      “Why?”
      “I’m sick of your excuses, I’m sick of smelling your cheap cigarettes, I’m sick of you. You’re fired” the dealer said.

      Placing the can in its holder and lighting a Pall Mall, Mike stared at his forest green Bronco with faded paint and rust on the wheel wells. I bought a classic, he thought; 351 and all. Great for hunting, great in the snow. Why did the boss hate it so much? He reached into his pocket to retrieve his well worn wallet and opened it to see pictures of his grandchildren. Smiling, his concentration was broken as Janice’s Taurus pulled into her spot in front of the trailer. His eyes grew wide as he thought of what to tell her…

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Thank goodness that the concept of ’employment at will’ has not crept into Canada from the USA.

        In Canada Mike’s employer would have to provide Mike with payment in lieu of working notice, rather than have him walk away with nothing.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’m not exactly sure how unemployment insurance works here, but in some way employers pay into it.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Most employers (there are exceptions in the states I’m familiar with) pay a payroll tax which goes into a dedicated fund. Then that fund pays the part of unemployment benefits for which the state is responsible. But usually unemployment benefits are not available to employees who were fired for misconduct. This GM sounds like he might be enough of a dick to tell the state Mike was fired for misconduct.

          • 0 avatar
            MrGreenMan

            Every payroll, you pay a fixed percentage to the government based on the size of the state fund and your past firing history. Never fire anybody? Your percent goes down. Fire people? Your percent climbs toward the statutory limit. Also, there is a back-looking period for each fire – if someone quits working for you, gets their dream job, gets canned in a month, they are going to make you eat the employer penalty because you employed them most of the time in the previous working four quarters.

            Every employer contests every single unemployment claim, and you will usually get a letter from the state government: You are totally right, this person was X, but we are in the business of handing out benefits, and so, unless you can prove malice or theft, he’s getting them.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            That’s always what I have been told but I didn’t understand the back end of the “insurance”. Thanks for chiming in both of you.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I can draw some parallels from this to just having tracked down and test driven one of the last 2015 Xterras a local dealer got in, a Pro4X package truck with the elusive 6spd manual. I’m sad that it’s the end of the line for the Xterra, but it totally doesn’t jibe with the latest slate of Nissan Muranos and crossover-ized pathfinders that populated the rest of the lot.

    Driving it, it is definitely far removed from even its closest BOF 4wd competitor, the 4Runner. It shudders and wallows over bumps, lots of vibrations and clunks, and it has a very ‘trucky’ imprecise shifter that needs manhandling for effective, timely shifts. And boy I loved every second of it. The left part of my brain says to buy an Outback that is cheaper, gets better mileage, actually has more room inside, and is better in the sort of slippery conditions that I see 95% of the time (snowy/slick pavement). But that Outback can’t possibly match the swagger of letting that snorting VQ40 rip away from an intersection, grabbing the next gear and hoping you get it in the gate, bounding over a rail road crossing in utmost “DGAF” fashion. And yes I’m one of those guys that really does need the armored BOF construction with good approach/breakover/departure angles every now and again. Not often mind you, but it’s enough to not have your front fascia ripped off even once to appreciate a proper SUV vs something like an Outback.

    • 0 avatar
      06V66speed

      If you think that 6-speed was a clunky and imprecise mess in that XTerra, you ought to try the shifting in a base model Mercury Mariner when equipped with a 5-speed manual.

      Talk about imprecise!

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I guess I’m just incredibly spoiled by my Civic’s light and lithe shifter. I don’t mean to say the Xterra’s is bad, just “truck-y” and industrial. I’ll make the analogy to firearms: if my Civic’s shifter is like working the bolt on a impeccably cared for and worked-over Lee Enfield, then the Xterra’s shifter is like the bolt action on my Mosin Nagant M44 carbine: clunky but indestructible feeling.

        It’s funny I looked up comments I made in an article from earlier in the year after I drove a 2012 Xterra with an automatic transmission and it was much less flattering. Those criticisms still hold true for the most part, but the manual transmission really transforms my perceptions of the truck where all that shuddering and primitiveness plays right into the “old school stick shift 4×4” vibe.

        If only Xterras were a bit roomier and had the 4Runner’s roll down rear window!! Oh and a coil sprung rear axle while we’re dreaming :)

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Would that be a second-gen? IIRC, the first-gen Mariner had no manual option, even with the base 4-banger.

        I don’t think I’ve ever seen a second-gen Escape/Tribute/Mariner with a stick, even though they are out there. Can you say “downgrading”?

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      I had a new Exterra as a dealer loaner while my wife’s car was in the Nissan shop and I could not believe how disappointed I was with it. Everything felt loose and cheap, like it was built by the lowest bidder for a Post Office contract. I didn’t think it was possible to buy a vehicle that felt so shoddy in 2015 but unfortunately Nissan proved me wrong. Swapped it for a Versa loaner which at roughly half the MSRP proved to be a much more pleasant vehicle to drive.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Again, I think it’s a matter of expectations and context. For the guy that wants an “old school” no compromises SUV, of the mid 80s-early 90s ilk, the Xterra with a stick shift is just the ticket. For someone who wants the capability but also expects a smoother driving, quieter, more sophisticated daily driver, the 4Runner is the better choice. For me, I need to decide whether the Xterra’s “charm” is something I want to experience every day, or if it is was just fun for a test drive but would get old. The matter of size/utility is a whole ‘nother angle to consider.

        • 0 avatar
          Toad

          If a buyer is nostalgic for a late 70’s Big 3 vehicle that feels like a random assortment of parts more or less moving in the same direction down the road they may like the Extrra. On the other hand I don’t remember 1980’s vintage S10 Blazers feeling as cheap, and that is a pretty low standard.

          The Exterra is the Harbor Freight SUV: not bad if you don’t know better or don’t care.

        • 0 avatar
          LUNDQIK

          The Xterra is a great SUV. Get one while you can. A 2015 Pro-4x in a manual is a unicorn.

          I have a 2010, bought new, now with close to 100k miles on it. It’s a great, honest, BOF SUV – with enough of the “charm” you mention to continue to be enjoyable, but it’s not so rough around the edges that it’s difficult to live with (like a Wrangler). For what you get its one heck of a value. Sure it’s not as refined as a 4Runner, or as popular / as supported as a Jeep – but its $10k less, it’s different, and there is still a fair amount of aftermarket off-road support for it.

          It’s been very reliable and easy to work on. 2009+ rectified any of the earlier flaws (fuel gauges, radiator issues, timing chain guides, etc.) A manual will also get decent enough mpgs – with 21 to 23 real world combined.

          Only negatives I’d point out would be – rear seats are tough for entry and exit of passengers (once in – the theatrical seating is comfortable). I personally find the pedal position stressful to my right knee on long trips – but I have a base ‘X’ model with no height adjustments. The rear leafs are soft on all Xterras for all years and should be reinforced shortly after buying (Add a leaf, road master active rear suspension – I bought that, an upgraded suspension, etc). There have also been a few complaints about the new Nissan nav units acting a little funny as well.

          Other than that it’s a fantastic little truck – it really has grown on me after all this time. I bought it because it was the cheapest, right-sized SUV from a reputable brand I could find at the time. I was not impressed with the plastics that scratch if you stare at them funny, the dash layout that feels like the late 90s, and the truck-like ride. But like an ugly dog, that freakin thing just worms its way into your heart.

          It’s the least sporty and least luxurious vehicle I’ve ever owned. I’ve had a new Mercedes, a new Infiniti, an RX-8, an older Jeep, etc. The Xterra’s stayed around the longest because it’s just a good honest SUV – and it’ll be around until it falls apart.

          P.S. – Unless you are dead set on a locker + hill descent, get the ‘S’ trim and save a few grand. A PRO-4X “suspension” is nothing but an extra set of bilstein 4600 HDs – which you can get for a few hundred bucks. Everything else (the coils, sway bars, leafs, control arms, etc) are the same across all Xterras. Even the lowly ‘X’ trim.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Thanks for the thorough review, it reflects a lot of what I’ve uncovered with some online reading, and the brief test drives of my own. It definitely rides surprisingly soft despite the rear leafsprings, that explains the pretty poor payload. My coil sprung ’96 4Runner rides stiffer. Not as nice on road, but off the beaten path it makes sense as far as being loaded up and hitting whoops. Additionally, my 5-link rear end doesn’t do that “butt shuffle” that all leafspring rear ends seem to suffer from over bumps.

            The latest Pro4xs have a few very nice things going for them that make them worth the upgrade IMO): heated cloth seats, the selectable rear locker (I never use mine in the 4Runner to be frank, but it’s comforting to know it’s there), and the factory skid plates (definitely useful). That mileage sounds good, for contrast my 4Runner can eke out 20mpg consistently with my easy style of driving, with the 4spd auto mind you. But it has 100 less hp as well.

            I almost might consider trading my commuter Civic for a used Xterra with a stick shift, but then keep my 4Runner. I know that doesn’t make any sense but hey I like driving SUVs.

    • 0 avatar
      Synchromesh

      11 years ago in late 2004 my buddy went looking for a car. I went with him. He wanted a truck. I tried to talk him out of it. We went to look at a brand new Xterra with a manual. It had to be one of the most awful vehicles I’ve ever driven. He concurred after a single test drive. Ride was terrible, handling was awful, shifting sucked. Really, there wasn’t anything good onroad about that car.

      After driving a manual Forester XT he ended up getting a WRX hatch. He drove that car for 11 years putting well over 100K on it and only recently traded it in for a Lexus IS.

  • avatar
    319583076

    Thanks for the link to the “Rodney Collection”. I know what I’m doing for the rest of the day. I’m also looking forward to his upcoming contribution.

  • avatar
    vtnoah

    My Family had a 94 Bronco XLT that we used as our plow truck for a few years. Loved every minute of driving the thing. We picked it up at an auto auction for cheap and the first thing I did when picking it up was rip a donut in the parking lot of the Auction Company.I would blast Master of Puppets in it while driving over things I shouldn’t have been driving over. Truly an awesome truck for a Seventeen year old hooligan.

  • avatar
    Rhiadon

    The Bronco works great for Walt Longmire. It’s a character unto itself. He’s flipped it, rolled it back over and driven away. Hauled dead bodies in it to the morgue. Been the coolest dang lawman in Absoroka County, Wyoming

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      Have they really gotten that sloppy with televison? There isn’t an Absaroka County in Wyoming.

      Ironically, here in Wyoming, I can’t remember the last time that I saw a Bronco- any generation of Bronco. There are F-Series trucks, plenty of Blazers, and even a couple of Ramchargers, but I cannot recall seeing a Bronco in the last couple of years.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Yeah, it is a fictional county. The real life county would be Johnson County.

        • 0 avatar
          matador

          Ah, Buffalo then. I’ve been through there. I’ve heard a lot about Longmire, but have never seen it. The Absaroka mountains are actually over by Cody, so they’re a little off there. But, it’s film….

          IIRC, in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, the Wyo. license plate is for County 24. If so, that’s also wrong- there are only 23 counties in Wyoming. It’s been a while since I’ve seen that movie, though….

          • 0 avatar
            fincar1

            That was the movie people’s way of insuring that their prop license plate didn’t have anyone’s actual license number on it.

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    The first vehicle under my charge was an ’83 bronco. My brother convinced my dad to buy it from him and we used it to tow boats around the lake house. I was probably 12 or 13 at the time. I offroaded it mercilessly. One of my brothers has owned a 79, the 83, and a 2 door tahoe. My other brother has owned or owns a K5 blazer and first gen bronco. I had a ’97 2 door tahoe. I guess we are backwards hicks. My impression of them from a young age came from my brothers and their high school friends, they were about 10 years older than I. I associated the trucks with rich suburban high school football players that drank underage and beat up nerds. Basically like a campy high school football movie. Also CJ5 and CJ7 jeeps.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    If the Bronco is the ultimate hick-mobile, then what is the Ramcharger?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      The Ramcharger had a fixed top, you know; it was more upscale! Particularly the, um, Prospector — fuck it, I can’t go on.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Something about the Ramcharger has always given me Southern vibes.

        Like…Confederate flags on everything and wearing a gun into Walmart Southern vibes.

      • 0 avatar
        VW16v

        Very hard to find a functional Ramcharger on the road. But, it is very nice when you do see one in great condition. Not sure. But, I think they had some rust issues.

      • 0 avatar

        The first generation Ramcharger in the ’70s had a removable top, just like the Bronco. That was a bit before Jack’s time at the Ford dealer in the mid ’90s, though.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          It says a lot about the number of people who actually utilized the 1st gen’s removable top that it was discontinued for the 2nd gen.

          • 0 avatar
            IHateCars

            I’ve had both versions of Bronco and Ramcharger….the removeable roof on the Ramcharger was ridiculously heavy and cumbersome because:

            a) it was all steel
            b) it extended from the top of the windshield to the tailgate…kinda like a Jeep.

            The Bronco’s was really a half top as it went from the B pillar to the tailgate and it was fibreglass….much lighter and easier to re & re.

            Loved both trucks though….I had a Black/beige two-tone EB Bronco with the 302 and E4OD…that was my fave. Although, I detested the IFS…major pain to keep aligned.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Since like the 30s, everything ChryslerCo builds is more hillbilly than anything GM builds which is more hillbilly than anything Ford builds.

  • avatar
    Undefinition

    Poor Mike.

  • avatar
    Driver8

    GM’s just have that ‘dick’ gene, don’t they.

    [and in best Oliver Twist voice] May I have some more Rodney stories, please?

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    As my father always said, they named it the Bronco because the extra-short wheelbase made it buck on a washboard gravel road. If you got going fast enough, it would probably hop sideways! I still would love an ’85/’86 Bronco Eddie Bauer with two-ton tan and dark blue or dark red.

    “You’d be better off with a crew-cab F-150 Bauer.”–maybe so, except there was no such beast until the ’01 SuperCrew, unless you wanted to be the only guy in your neck of the woods with a Centurion conversion. Or did you mean SuperCab Eddie Bauer? There were plenty of those around.

    Oh, and I’ve seen a few commercial-use Expys with untinted windows.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Like the mid-80s Broncos. I had the pleasure of driving a tired old 1991 briefly as a field vehicle, manual transmission and blue vinyl interior. Thing was a hoot. Oingo-boingo body motions with somewhat alarming amounts of yaw, and a manual transmission that redefines “long-throw”. Shove it forward practically into the dash for first, then almost onto the seat cushion for second. Great vehicle, I loved it.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Sorry, ClubCab Bauer. Was typing faster than I was thinking.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        But…but..Club Cab was a Dodge term! Will my inner pedant never know rest?!

        Well, for all I know, “club cab” could’ve easily been a generic name for all extended cab pickups, of which there were very few until about 1990.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Had the first gen Bronco — learned to drive in it, three-on-the-tree.

    Years later, had the last gen Bronco — XLT, leather. I loved the redneckness of it. But a wife (who is/was quite small) and a child meant the big two-door had to go.

    And I traded it for a E-Bauer Explorer, natch.

    Used to see the ol’ Bronco around town, driven by its second owner, who truly was a redneck. In short order, that great truck was a dented, rusting beater. I really wish I’d kept it. It had personality, attitude. The Explorer, we had some good times in it, but I don’t give it a second thought. I do miss the Bronco.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    I miss that “Almost on two wheels” “About to roll over” feeling you get with these.

  • avatar
    Toad

    Interesting tale, JB.

    I can’t figure out why some managers/employers insist on, end even go out of their way to, treat their staff like shit. A good employee doing a thankless job wants to spend his own money to purchase a company product and is proud of his ambition. Instead of helping him to be a proud customer (and employee) the Ford manager refuses to sell to him, insults his new purchase, and threatens to (and eventually does) fire him. For buying a new Ford. He degrades, insults, demeans, and finally dispatches a man just to be evil.

    I hope that manager suffers every day with inflamed genital warts and/or ocular herpes.

    If you wonder why we have class envy, unions, and a dislike of management in general this kind of story goes a long way towards explaining it. People like that manager will ruin capitalism

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I want to defend my GM a bit.

      His opinion was that if you couldn’t afford to do a two-year RCL or five-year buy on a car, then you couldn’t afford it — and Mike couldn’t afford either on his modest compensation.

      He was being paternalistic, but not cruel.

      • 0 avatar
        MPAVictoria

        Well he also called a subordinates new car a piece of shit, made him park it down the street and, eventually, fired him. So…

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        I get your point, but…

        Refusing to sell him the ride is paternalistic.

        Telling the lowest man on your corporate totem that his new vehicle (most likely one of the few material possessions he can be proud of) is a POS and to get it off company property is cruel.

        I have had many employees buy things that were stupid, wasteful, and in poor taste. No matter: I congratulate them on their new purchase and am happy to see their pride.

        (That they are now deeper in debt, it will keep them in a financial hole, ensures that they will have keep working hard, and gives them reduced leverage in getting higher pay is another matter…)

        • 0 avatar
          Altair7

          Not excusing the GM’s behavior in the slightest, but it sounds like Mike intended to goad his employer (“He parked it up front so we could all see it…”) and that seldom works out well.

          We aren’t privy to the details of the initial conversation between Mike and the GM, but I give the latter credit for not simply taking the rube’s money and working a similar 5-year lease deal as the other dealership. After all, your employer has no responsibility to save you from yourself.

          Instead, it sounds like the GM actually tried his best to discourage the deal… only to see Mike make his foolish decision anyway, and then attempt to rub the GM’s nose in it. No, he shouldn’t have acted the way he did or fire him, but it’s little wonder that the GM – righteous a$$holes by definition – would take such an affront personally.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I wish I could find a cached page of the Ford website from ’96 with the Bronco still on it!

    But I found a Bronco II Plus, so there’s that.
    http://www.broncoiicorral.com/resources/images/broncoII_plus_brochure.JPG

    And I wonder how many of the “Nite” trim they sold.
    http://www.fordf150.net/photos/data/532/1nite_bronco_5.jpg

    Funny to see how the Suburban was marketed to educated white people )http://www.tocmp.com/brochures/GMTrucks/1975/images/1975%20GMC%20Suburban-01_jpg.jpg) while the Bronco was indeed for the brush-bashing cowboy and his flannel wife. (http://autominded.net/brochure/ford/Bronco%201978%20Page%2004%20et%2005.jpg)

    • 0 avatar
      Domestic Hearse

      Nite was just an XLT appearance package and wheels. The F-150 had the exact same treatment available. Black with a stripe. My XLT Bronco had the Nite package, which maxed out the redneckyness to 11. One of the reasons I really wished I had kept it. Only other Nite package in the surrounding metro area I ever saw was an F-150, never another Nite Bronco. Dang I really wish I still had that Bronco. Thanks a lot Jack. Off to eBay on a time-suck search commencing…

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Since you had the black one already, you should try and find the pink one with red interior. Now THAT would be rare.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Nite Bronco sounds so 90s. I need to have it.

        It also sounds like an action TV show that is secretly a Ford advertisement. Special guest stars would include Chuck Norris, David Hasselhoff, Kathy Ireland, Lorenzo Lamas, and 1987 Playmate of the Year Donna Edmondson.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Geez, that Bronco II Plus looks like it would tip backwards if you had a large person in the back.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Each time I look at a pic of it, my brain goes NO IT’S MESSED UP. It looks like it would have a tent built in, or a bed back there.

        But alas, it just kind of was conversion-ed, with wood applique trim and van windows.

        http://www.ford-trucks.com/user_gallery/sizeimage.php?photoid=99221&.jpg=

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Aww look how cute it used to be before it got too big.

          http://www.acontinuouslean.com/2009/08/18/classic-ride-1976-ford-bronco-ranger/#more-11071

          Was Ranger a trim package for something?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Ranger was a trim package for the F100 and Bronco. Explorer was a trim package as well.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            My dad likes to deny they used to use these names. I saw an S10 Durango once (had logo with cow horns), and my dad said “No that doesn’t exist.”

            Just like he denied there was a Jimmy Envoy trim, until I pointed one out.

            And I said hey they’re doing RAM Power Wagon again, and it says it on the door.

            “No way.”

            MAKES ME MAD.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Ranger was the top trim level on the F-Series before it was its own vehicle. On the 1980-82 pickup, it was expanded to Ranger, Ranger XLT, and Ranger Lariat. I didn’t know it was also a Bronco trim, but it’s not surprising. And before that, it was an Edsel model.

            Ford pickup trims, 1970-81:
            Custom
            Ranger
            Ranger XLT
            Lariat (78-79) / Ranger Lariat (80-81)

            1982-86:
            Base
            XL
            XLS
            XLT Lariat

            “Explorer” was also a package available on F-100/150/250s from the late ’60s until sometime in the ’80s.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Yep I had the ’86 Explorer/XL/rc F-250. 2-tone paint, cloth bench, sliding rear window, but crank windows and rubber floor.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            DenverMike-

            That sounds like the most honest of all trucks. Everything about it screams “truck”.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            BTW I also like the Tahoe package which was available I think only in 93 and 94 for the last of the square Blazer.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          I think it would’ve been better (but a heck of a lot more expensive) if they put the stretch between the wheels rather than behind. Kind of a Bronco II Traveler. But then you’d essentially have a full-size Bronco but narrower (and still just as prone to tipping as the usual Bronco II), so what’s the point?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          You don’t want Bronco II.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        But you still want it.

  • avatar
    Dingleberrypiez_Returns

    I hitched a ride from Humbolt County to Marin when I was 18, got picked up and taken the whole way in a last gen Bronco. That thing was super spacious and exceedingly comfortable for passengers, particularly the expansive back seat.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Jack, fantastic piece. I’ve been hassling you a lot lately so I should give you credit for a job well done.

    Social context is so, so important to car sales — more important than actual utility. Today’s equivalent to the Bronco is, oddly enough, the minivan. But for the reverse reason. The CUVs in the market suggest that you are rich enough to eat your vegetables and climb socially at the same time. The minivan is pure vegetables, without the status, and suggests to people (very oddly, given the presence of $45k Odyssey Touring Elites) that you can only afford the bare minimum. I honestly believe your average parent in my neighborhood would, when asked to state the prices of a CR-V Touring and an Odyssey Touring Elite, guess the CR-V’s price is higher.

    There is a Honda dealership a mile from my house in my wealthy-ish suburb. It has three rows of CR-Vs front and center. When Pilots are available in sufficient numbers to stock one of those will turn into a row of Pilots. The few Odys are parked in the back corner.

    But some things don’t change. Next door to that Honda store is a Chevy store that does land office business in Suburbans and Tahoes, with a bunch of Equinoxes and Traverses thrown in for good measure. I’m not sure they sell anything else more than occasionally.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      I don’t think the minivan hate has much to do with perceived pricing; I think most people just don’t like minivans. Anybody who has shopped for cars know minivans can get fairly expensive, and also knows that CUV’s can be purchased for much less money.

      Minivans are the sensible shoes of the automotive world.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Those concerned with social standing don’t even look at minivans, so I doubt they know the pricing. They just see minivans as those things that striving immigrant families of six who need to save every penny drive.

        The sort of shopper who even prices out minivans is already more informed than the people this article and thread are talking about.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Are we talking “Dad’s white tennis shoes that he wears with everything,” or “leather walking shoes with a thick rubber sole that makes them too clunky to wear with dress pants but okay with corduroys”?

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      Really? I think it depends on your circle. If you’re a city-dwelling upper-middle class striver than you’re probably going to shy away from the minivan but if you’re an exurb type? Maxed out Odyssey or Sienna the whole way. Go to any big exurb area and you’ll see those bad boys trawling the lots for sure.

      The big difference is that minivans aren’t ‘hot buy me!’ types, they’re optioned out land barges that you buy after you buy the CR-V for daily commuting. In two and three car households in the land of mass consumption they’re likely to own a CR-V and an Odyssey if they have a sufficient brood.

    • 0 avatar
      jdowmiller

      dal, where are you? My experience here in ultra-trendy Nashville proper is the exact opposite. The West Meade-Belle Meade-Green Hills-Oak Hill arc is chock full of Odyssey and Sienna, usually optioned out to $45k. The one and only alternative is a Prius. The CUV drivers live out in the suburbs. I actually cannot even think of someone I know who owns a CUV.

  • avatar
    SomeGuy

    Cool article. Thanks for posting. A good read!

  • avatar
    bjchase55

    Wow. What an a-hole of a general manager to fire someone over having a vehicle they didn’t like.

    As for the Bronco my dad had one when growing up (late 80’s to mid 90’s time frame). Living in the Mid-west of course it rusted but that powertrain was bullet proof. Big roomy vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Some of the biggest A-holes I’ve ever met, manage franchise dealers. I ordered an ’89 Mustang GT when working as a lot boy at a Ford dealer and kept it a secret from management. Days before it arrived, the general manager found out and tried to talk me out of it. “Convertible tops leak, rattle, noisy, heavy, blah, blah, blah.”

      His wife totaled out their ’87 notch LX Mustang 5.0., the day before, so he found out about mine when ordering another LX from the Fleet lady. He was fighting multiple ‘alleged’ rape charges from several past secretaries at the time. And he was a reserve sheriffs deputy. A real scumbag. Except he was friends with the prosecutor, so needless to say where those went.

  • avatar
    LuciferV8

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEdgzndKuog

    “Look, the people you are after are the people you depend on. We cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances. We guard you while you sleep. Do not… fuck with us. “

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      But yet so many people on this board giddily tell us how they have no need for the lower classes…Get your damn act straight, are you haughty nouveu riche types who want to spit on the working man or are you working men who are trying to claw their way up? This in-between stuff just confuses the whole arrangement.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    I think some of this image depended on where you lived.

    At least in my area (SouthWest) a brand new Eddie Bauer Bronco was considered somewhat upscale in the 90s. It wasn’t Range Rover or anything, but wealthy people owned them. Sort of like Tahoes are today.

    Not to make a him any sort of trend setter, but the fact that a pretty famous former pro athlete that lived in Beverly Hills (OJ) drove one shows that the “hick” image wasn’t exactly everywhere.

  • avatar
    LuciferV8

    On one hand, Mike did make a bad purchasing decision in terms of what he was capable of affording, and the GM didn’t fire him immediately.

    On the other hand, the GM could have been a bit more diplomatic with Mike.

    I’m not a big fan of car salesmen in general, but I understand the reason why they exist as they are, and that reason is the mentality of the car buying public.

    Oven middle class elites hate the proles, despite their holier-than-thou rhetoric to the contrary. They would very much like to erase their “inferiors” from existence, but know they cannot ever truly accomplish this, precisely because they depend upon that hated rabble for sustenance. Ergo, they opt for the next best thing: if they cannot banish the proles outright, at least they can banish them from sight – at whatever cost is necessary.

    The GM knew this, and had to manage perceptions accordingly to keep his business afloat. Car salesmen are scum, but they are scum because we select for them as a society.

    Politicians are the way they are for the exact same reason. The people, through their behavior, chose them.

  • avatar
    Seth Parks

    Jack – Enjoyed your article. Looks like we share a similar background. I worked at a Ford store in the mid 90s and I never sold a new Bronco. But the first unit I sold was an Explorer with a 945a pkg, Medium Wedgewood Blue. I sold more of those than anything else.

    I agree that the Full Size Bronco is not someplace Ford wants to return to. But I do believe that the Bronco should be resurected – I made the case in my article published here titled Why Bronco Should Return as a Wrangler Fighter – would love to know what you think.

    Thanks
    Seth Parks

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/why-bronco-should-return-as-a-wrangler-fighter/

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    I have to completely disagree that the Broncos were associated with white trash. I honestly don’t know where you came up with that one. They were expensive and only had two doors. That’s why they didn’t sell. I owned a ’97 2Dr Tahoe. Those also weren’t big sellers compared to the 4dr Tahoes. But on the used market the 2Dr had way better resale. In fact I was told the 2Dr.Tahoe held their resale value better than any other 1/2 ton Chevy truck/SUV. I know when I traded mine on my ’04 GMC it was gone in less than 2 days. Never got a chance to see what they listed it for but I’m quite certain they made a nice, quick, little profit on that truck.

    My buddy had Bronco a little older than the one in the picture. That was a nice truck. I drove it, towed with it, I rode in it. Mike should have slapped that d-bag manager alongside the head when it called his Bronco a POS. Sorry the POS wasn’t Mike’s Bronco, it was that steaming turd pile 1st Gen Exploder parked next to it. I had plenty of friends with those, and they all sucked! Creaky, gutless, wallowing, road disasters.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    So ;

    Hillbillies are not cool now ? .

    BTW : you’re right : light duty pickups are mostly used a coupes .

    I see no reason why not .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    I think Jack misunderstands–cars like the Bronco, by that I mean the type pictured, not necessarily the IH Scout kind, were understood to have a deeply regional appeal when they first came out. I’m not sure they were even offered everywhere in the country at first.

    No one in Principal Dan’s neighborhood would have raised an eyebrow about such a vehicle except to admire it. It was designed before SUVs caught on in a big way. They competed head to head with the K style Blazer, of course. I wouldn’t doubt that the demographic was a bit downscale compared to the K-Blazer, but probably no more so than any GM to Ford demographic.

    I went to a federal government auction in 1988 or so where stripped (but 4×4) Broncos with about 90k auctioned for $5000, probably 40% of retail,(remember, these would have been early to mid eighties models) sold to dealers in LA over 500 miles away. These were like forest service vehicles that actually spent considerable time in 4×4, for those 90k miles, too. I bought a new Ramcharger with more stuff for $13,500 instead.

    But the Bronco was hot stuff in California by then and probably a year or two before that.

    In other words, these were never meant to be a car for the ‘burbs.They caught on because they caught on. That Jack’s boss was behind the curve means nothing.

  • avatar
    MrFixit1599

    Then call me white trash. I will some day own a 1979 Ford Bronco in Forest Green. With a white top. Been my dream truck for as long as I can remember. Well other than a Raptor now. I might have to have one of each.

  • avatar
    Ihatejalops

    I like your writing Jack, but this is a very long winded way of saying the Bronco just needed 4 doors.

    Also, it was not perceived as trailer trash in Greenwich, CT. Down Market maybe, but not that. I should know, I had to drive that tank in high school.

  • avatar
    Grant404

    My experience is similar to yours, only ten years earlier and pertaining to light trucks in general.

    In the mid ’80s, I worked for a big Ford dealer in a major Midwestern city for about a year and a half while waiting for my real career choice to open up (it finally did, woot). In the mid ’80s, neither the glorified, overweight, overpriced station wagon (aka “SUV”) fashion trend nor the idea of using a light truck as an everyday vehicle thing in general had yet caught on, at least in the big city. For that reason, we stocked very few pickups, Broncos, or Bronco IIs (I remember maybe one Bronco and a handful of B2s in stock during that year and a half). The pickups we did stock tended to be low optioned, no-nonsense work trucks (rear bumper optional). In my time there, in spite of selling a metric buttload of new and used cars, I never sold a light truck of any description. Believe me, after seeing the astronomical markup on those things compared to any new car (used cars had/have a whole different margin), I would have loved to have anyone express an interest in a pickup or Bronco, but no dice. My experience was also on the cusp of the minivan wave, as the first Aerostar (a loaded XLT) any of us had ever seen arrived at the dealership shortly before my long awaited departure to other pastures.

    And I have to say that guitar strumming Ford dealer/TV pitchman sounds a lot like Fred Ricart.

  • avatar
    jdowmiller

    Excellent post! You’ve redeemed yourself from the recent ramblings and click-bait. This isn’t anywhere near your old Porsche review where you alluded to Morlocks but this is pretty good.

    Whur you goin’, City Boy?

  • avatar
    nationalminer84

    That GM sounds like a real Piece of work. You don’t sell what you like you sell what they give you to sell. a successful dealership and salesman can sell anything. When I was selling Hondas we had the Ridgeline. we all hated it. even though I liked the idea, the fuel mileage took away any benefit from it. we could have had one buried in the corner of the lot, instead we stocked them and sold them. many people I sold them to didn’t even know they existed until I demo’d them. and to refuse to lease an employee a car (even with a dumb program like a balloon lease) then getting mad when they go elsewhere? yeah this guys sounds like a winner……

  • avatar
    fincar1

    There are guys like that GM in every line of work. If they’re deputy sheriffs or ministers their kids are known as the worst hoods in the area….

    The gal I rode carpool with had a 1980 Bronco for a while, it was an all-black XL with that long-throw overdrive 4-speed manual. I’m sure they’d have gotten a more upscale one, but they also bought a new TR7 ragtop that same year. Probably in that temporary flush of money that comes with two full-time incomes and no kids. Well, later after a separation, a discovery of pregnancy, a reunion, and a few years of essentially no maintenance the Bronco ran out of gas one morning on the way to work, and when we got out to hoof it to the next exit I discovered that it was on fire. No big deal though, just a little smoldering dead grass caught in an exhaust-pipe clamp. I put it out by throwing some roadside gravel up against it. I don’t know if that was a good or a bad thing – it may well have blown itself out if we’d continued on down the freeway.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Funny how class perception can turn a good vehicle into a pariah, and embrace a less competent vehicle.
    I noticed that driving my 10 year old Dodge Dart into some country club/semi-private course lots for tournaments. The reception was MUCH better in a gas guzzling, oversized 18 year old Chrysler Newport. Apparently, one said “low class” and the other one said “old money”.

  • avatar
    mccall52

    I remember the last new Bronco I saw on a Ford lot sometime in 1996. Only one on the lot. Medium willow green two toned with a grey stripe. The color of the top seemed incongruous with the rest of the color scheme, either a dark green or dark grey. Perhaps that was what they had left over at the time of production, I wouldn’t have chose that color top given the chance. Also, it wasn’t parked on the front lot, but rather near a side entrance to the lot.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I would like to know the dealership Jack worked for? To fire an employee just because you don’t like what he drives is not a dealer that I would want to do business with. It is one thing for the dealer to ask an employee to park the employee’s vehicle in the back of the dealership but an employee should have a right to drive whatever type of vehicle they want unless the dealer is willing to furnish that employee a vehicle to drive.

    Near where I live we have a Ford dealership that has an answering machine in its service and parts department. If you leave a message they will not return your call. I have also been to dealerships which will tell the customer upfront who they will do business with or not. Fortunately most dealerships are not like that. I believe that a dealership reserves the right to order whatever product they believe will sell but it is also the customer’s right to choose not to do business with them.

    • 0 avatar
      AJ

      I can see this kind of thing going on a dealerships. Amazing that mass shootings don’t occur at them. I hate dealerships so much after the last five new cars that I keep driving my used ones saying, maybe next year?

      And poor Mike.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Joe Girard, a successful Chevrolet salesman in Detroit, wrote a book in the late 70’s about how to be successful in car sales. Basically his message was to treat the customer with respect and not to insult the customer or the car that the customer drives into the dealership with. Maybe Jack’s message is not meant to be insulting but it can be construed as such.

  • avatar
    AoLetsGo

    I understand where you are coming from about how the Bronco had an image problem. But I thing the tables are turning and now it has a retro appeal. After all what could be better than pulling up to your fancy pants country club in a convertible 4×4. Perhaps something like this?

    http://detroit.craigslist.org/wyn/cto/5204774759.html

  • avatar
    Piston Slap Yo Mama

    Christ Jack, why’d you wait so long to share this gem of a story with the world?

  • avatar
    Type44

    I was in HS in that era of Bronco, and I don’t think your image of those was at all correct. Guy in my history class drove one, Dad paid for it of course. IOW, this is what you bought for your kid after he blew up your 911E. When you’re an opthamologist who drives a then new RAnge Rover Classic LWB, wife has a 535i, daughter a 325ic, then Junior gets an Eddie Bauer 351 Bronco. You wouldn’t have guessed what that LONGHOOD would be worth 20 years hence, but you know what they say about hindsight.

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      Wow , I can’t get my mind around this ~

      My Father was a world famous Oncologist but couldn’t be bothered to feed me or buy me clothes yet apparently it’s normal to buy your kids vehicles .

      Grumble .

      Rant over , now : GET OFF MY LAWN ! .

      -Nate

  • avatar
    CeeMatt

    I enjoyed the article. I’m looking for a Bronco now. It’s ready for Northeastern weather and has the same length as my BMW E34. When I can’t a spot for both, I’ll just park the Bronco on top lol.

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