By on March 23, 2017

Mark Stevenson's Former 1995 Ford Bronco, Image: © 2011 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

It was 2011. I’d just lost my job working in the lower 48 while on a TN visa. Uncle Sam has some strict rules when it comes to trying to find another job when you’ve lost your sponsored “NAFTA” ride, so I needed to get out of Texas in a hurry and back to my homeland with all my possessions.

There was just one big problem: I had too many vehicles, and needed to decide which part of my motorized fleet to cull before the journey.

As many of you already know, I owned a ’95 Ford Bronco for a brief glimmer of time while I lived in Texas. It was both the best and worst vehicle purchase of my life. The body was straight as an arrow, and its paint free from the corrosion that ails many vehicles of similar vintage north of the Mason-Dixon line. But it was also a mechanical basketcase. A trip to a local Ford-specific shop revealed a fault list printed out on a full ream of paper.

Still, I loved that truck, even if our encounter was ever-so brief.

Fast forward to November 2011. Sitting in my garage was the above Bronco on one side and two motorcycles — a 2009 Yamaha R6 Raven and 2003 Buell XB9S Lightning — on the other. I could either sell the motorcycles and tow the Bronco behind a moving truck, or sell the Bronco and load up the motorcycles on a trailer behind the moving truck. However, one thing was certain: I couldn’t take all the vehicles. And there was one very important (to me) reason to pick the motorcycles over the Bronco.

Sentimental Value
Before my move to Texas, a co-worker of mine found himself separated and without a place to live. This particular co-worker got me into motorcycles just months earlier. He was there when I bought my R6, the very first vehicle I ever bought new, and always egged me on to go for a ride. The Buell XB9S in my possession was his first motorcycle.

My friend and I moved house; he met a new girl. By this time, he’d moved up to a Buell 1125R purchased during the firesale following the brand’s discontinuation. The XB9S had earlier been given to his ex-wife. Later, my friend would move in with another buddy of his, then shortly thereafter sell his 1125R to buy an engagement ring for his new love.

Within days of the engagement, I received the phone call to end all phone calls.

“Mark, you might want to sit down.”

In short order, my friend’s ex-wife would sell to me my friend’s first-ever motorcycle, and I promised her I would never let it go.

Decisions
Two years later, my garage is filled with toys, and my brain is measuring it up like a balancing scale with the Bronco on the left and my bikes on the right. I had to pick a side. I picked the bikes. The Bronco had to go.

I first posted it to Craigslist, where it didn’t fetch the attention it deserved. So, days before the move, I left the Bronco with a friend and posted the truck on eBay.

After the auction ended, the buyer and I sorted out the details and the Bronco was shipped to Ohio.

“I’ll probably paint it black,” said the buyer.

“Please don’t,” I pleaded.

Absence makes the heart and the market grow fonder
I’ve been craving another Bronco ever since my OJ facsimile went to Ohio, but Jack’s recent search for an Oldsmobubble got me thinking. Maybe our jack-of-all-trades Bozi Tatarevic could find my Bronco? After all, he did figure out the fate of Jack’s crushed dreams. Hopefully my Bronco was still out there, still in its ’90s white glory, giving convertible SUV joy to a new generation of enthusiasts.

But if it existed, I was prepared to buy it back. With the reintroduction of the Bronco in 2020, I wanted to make sure I got my hands on her before valuations go stratospheric. Prices for ’90s-era Broncos are already getting up there. A semi-clean example can easily fetch $8,000 or more.

Mark Stevenson
Wanna work your magic on my old Bronco?
Just saw what you did for Jack.
Now I’m curious.

Bozi Tatarevic
Got a VIN?
Or recent-ish plate?

Mark Stevenson
934 DBB Texas Truck plate.
Won’t have my name on it.

Bozi Tatarevic
Ok cool.
95?

Mark Stevenson
Yessir.
I think it went to Ohio.
Sold it on eBay.

Bozi Tatarevic
When did you own it?

Mark Stevenson
2011.

Bozi Tatarevic
What city?

Mark Stevenson
Houston.

Bozi Tatarevic
Cool.

Mark Stevenson
Any luck?

Bozi Tatarevic
It was in Ohio.
Sold to someone in Oklahoma in July of 2014.

Mark Stevenson
If it’s still on the road …

Bozi Tatarevic
Has 225k now.
Got an oil change 5 weeks ago.

Mark Stevenson
HOLY FUCKING SHIT.
ARE YOU SERIOUS RIGHT NOW?

God, did we really just find my Bronco? Not only that, was it really still on the road? Man, I was high on the thought of seeing my ol’ girl again, top off, wind in my hair. Maybe we’d be reunited for a trip west and a slow drive down the 405.

But Bozi would shatter those dreams by the posting of one screenshot:

Bozi Tatarevic

Bronco Sale Record

Mark Stevenson
UGH.
HE FUCKING DID IT.
I told him the paint was very good for an old truck.
He said he was going to Rhino Line the fucking thing.
I bet that’s what he did.
Now I’m happysad.

Bozi Tatarevic
Well, you should get a cigarette

Mark Stevenson
What? Why?

Bozi Tatarevic
Mark's Bronco Post-Molestation

Yeah, that was my old Bronco, now painted black from top to bottom and given garish lighting treatments fore and aft. My dream was crushed, just like Jack’s Oldsmobubble. But, unlike Jack’s car, this automotive sin continues to roll on in Oklahoma City.

It’s probably for the best that my ’95 has met such a fate. If it was still in the same condition in which I sold it, I’d probably be on a one-way flight to Oklahoma right now to offer cash I don’t have for a vehicle I don’t need. Still, it’s a sad end to what could have been a glorious piece of historical rolling stock.

Goodbye.

[Image: © 2011 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars]

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45 Comments on “Automotive Foster Child: The Fate of a Texas Bronco...”


  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    Look, it’s all going to be okay. Just get a current model Explorer instead.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s basically the same thing.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “a 2009 Yamaha R6 Raven and 2003 Buell XB9S Lightning”

        Interesting collection of bikes. I never cared for the Buell’s. I had the chance to ride multiple of them once at a Demo ride. The weather was crappy and very few people showed up so they let me ride all day long. The fit and finish was horrendous. Each bike felt slightly different in relation to power, brakes, and suspension.

        I’d love to have my ’96 Yamaha YZF1000 back but I don’t feel that way about the trucks I’ve owned. I do love the older Bronco’s. I think that I could go for a ’79 model. Don’t worry, I hate black ;)

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      LOL

  • avatar
    threeer

    You can’t always go back…and sometimes you really shouldn’t!

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    That’s easy to take off with MEK.

    Don’t be such a p*ssy.

  • avatar
    brenschluss

    You have weird timing.

    bringatrailer.com/listing/1993-ford-bronco/

    • 0 avatar

      I saw that today. Wrong engine or transmission. Either go 5.8L + auto ot 5.0L + manual. Also, Alcoa Wheels > than those ones.

      Bozi and I think it’ll fetch between $15,000 to $20,000.

      • 0 avatar
        Adam Tonge

        Alcoa Wheels are a must for this vintage Bronco/F150.

        • 0 avatar
          dukeisduke

          Oh yes, I loved them on my F-150. I remember that any time I had the center caps off, I made sure to tap in the little black vinyl “nuts” (they were really just a spacer pushed into a hole) that the three screws went into, to hold the caps on. I never lost a cap, but I did worry about them getting stolen (I had McGard locks on the wheels).

          Sears scratched one of the Alcoas one time, while mounting a tire. I made them pay to replace it – $400.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I agree, but someone with too much money could drop in a 5.8 to the otherwise clean Bronco. Regular auction I say 12ish *tops* (and that’s if sick people are bidding on it), but on the internet all kinds of dumb money can see it and yes it might do 15-20.

        I also think “Not OJ” is absolutely hilarious.

        Additional: Seems the 5.0 is the redheaded stepchild.

        MY93 Ford Bronco 5.0 4WD Custom

        04/12/16 Manheim North Carolina Regular $500 198,611 Avg Green 8G A No
        04/12/16 Manheim Baltimore-Washington Regular $1,600 198,598 Avg Green 8G A No

        MY93 Ford Bronco 5.0 4WD XLT

        12/22/16 Manheim Jacksonville Regular $650 235,520 Avg White 8G A No
        07/06/16 Manheim California Regular $1,900 246,167 Avg Red 8G A No
        04/06/16 Manheim Tucson Regular $800 199,391 Avg White 8G A No

        MY93 Ford Bronco 5.8 4WD Base

        09/30/16 Manheim Pennsylvania Regular $13,800 19,620 Avg Black 8G A No
        05/26/16 Manheim Caribbean Lease $400 171,815 Avg Green 8G O No
        04/06/16 Manheim New Orleans Regular $2,400 202,718 Avg Black 8G A No

        MY93 Ford Bronco 5.8 4WD Eddie Bauer

        02/14/17 Manheim Nashville Lease $1,000 222,891 Avg Blue 8G A No

        MY93 Ford Bronco 5.8 4WD XLT

        07/26/16 Manheim Baltimore-Washington Regular $1,325 1 Avg Green 8G A No
        03/23/16 Manheim California Regular $11,250 133,422 Avg 8G A No
        10/12/16 Manheim New Jersey Regular $4,900 144,191 Avg White 8G A No
        07/19/16 Manheim Baltimore-Washington Regular $800 167,224 Avg Green 8G O No
        08/04/16 Manheim Southern California Regular $3,700 191,934 Avg White 8G A No

        Eleven fracking two? Damn, must have been gorgeous.

      • 0 avatar
        pnwguyy

        Wow. I have a stock 94′ 5.0 with 118k in white and I could potentially be worth that. I mean I get it its probably less but still that’s surprising.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        $14,850

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      My God.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I remember seeing my old Civic Wagon in some small town north of Ithaca years some years after I sold it in 2007. Unmistakably my old car, now with more rust, and more ricerish accouterments, and missing the Si alloys I had put on it. Likewise I saw my HS buddie’s old ’95 Corolla that he kept in immaculate shape in a Wal-Mart parking lot, likewise with rocker rust, a door seal caught in the jamb, and driven by someone who was obviously just running it into the ground (which I suppose is what older Corollas are made for). In both cases it’s good to see that the cars are still on the road, but I also felt an urge to beat some sense into the current owners.

  • avatar
    DougD

    Interesting for sure, but I gotta say Mark, I disagree with you on just about everything here:
    Going back to Canada, and the choice is a rust free older vehicle and some sportbikes? Take the old truck, lotsa sportbikes available in Canada.
    Must keep the first motorcycle of a friend, who moved on to another motorcycle, and it’s his ex-wife’s, and it’s a Buell??? Kind of reminds me of that scene in Spaceballs:
    Dark Helmet: I am your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate.
    Lone Star: So what does that make us?
    Dark Helmet: Absolutely nothing.
    And finally, the truck is still on the road, be happy. It hasn’t been crashed, stolen, or crushed so that’s pretty cool. Yup it’s got black paint and some goofy mods, but paint is just paint and mods can be undone. Go get it and make it right.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Agree with Doug, That Bronco is looking and being used exactly the way a Bronco of that vintage should.

      And if you had brought it back to Canada, it’s condition would probably be worse.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    This whole “find my old car” thing needs to be a regular feature on TTAC. It’s right up there with the junkyard finds. I have a few I’d like to know the fates of, particularly my ’70 Charger.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I put out an APB for it on Facebook. I’m sure someone I know here in OKC has seen it. I’ll let you know if someone finds it…haha.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    My attitude toward the vehicles I’ve sold is simple: once I sell it, it’s not mine anymore, so I have no claim or concern for what happens to it. If I care enough to ask the buyer, “Don’t do X”, then I shouldn’t sell it. If circumstances require me to sell it anyway, then sometimes $h!t happens and that’s that.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Man, that sucks. It’s like looking up an old girlfriend and finding out she is now deeply into meth.

  • avatar
    Dingleberrypiez_Returns

    Unless I’m missing something, all this info on formerly owned cars is available via a simple Carfax search. I’m frankly a little surprised that this is news to so many on this site. Then again, maybe I’m missing something; I have no idea where the photo would have come from.

    The matte black paint and light bar aren’t so bad.

  • avatar
    r129

    At one time in my life, I leased a 2007 Saturn Ion Quad Coupe. It was an uplevel model, bright red with the 2.4L Ecotec and manual transmission. As much as everyone loves to hate the Ion, I have fond memories of that car. One day, a couple of years ago, I decided to search for a similar used Ion, just for the heck of it. I came across one exactly like mine, somewhere in the Midwest. I reviewed the Carfax report. It had been rear-ended and repaired at about the same time mine had. No, it couldn’t be… I found an old insurance document, compared the VIN, and sure enough, this was my old car! Part of me wanted to buy it, even though I wasn’t really in the market for an Ion.

    My next form of basic transportation was a 2008 Suzuki SX4 Sport, also with a manual. This one was actually pretty fun to drive for the class, but I never really formed an attachment to it. I had it until 2014, when I sold it in a parking lot to a Turkish couple with an envelope full of cash. As part of the negotiation, they threw in a home cooked Turkish dinner at their home, but I never took them up on the offer. One day, for the heck of it, I decided to Google the VIN. I found photos of it at a salvage business. It had been badly rear ended and totaled. Something about that made me very sad.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Hey Mark, at least it doesn’t have an LED light bar on it (yet). Sometimes I miss my ’95 F-150 (XLTSuperCab 4×2 short bed, 302, 4R70W, Super Engine Cooling package, Oxford White with Opal Grey interior, power driver’s seat, Alcoa alloys like your bronco, TrueTrac LSD added), but it needed stuff, too. The clearcoat was shedding in places, it had a recurring hard start/no start problem (bad PCM or distributor?), coolant leak from the front cover, and a evap code 565 which I worked around by disconnecting and plugging the evap hose going to the throttle body (which was probably also PCM-caused). Anyway, at 214,000 miles I traded it for my ’13 Tacoma, and got $1800 for it. Oh, and the gears in the passenger side window motor were starting to fail (I’d replaced the driver’s side motor and regulator a couple years before).

    Whenever I have to pay for a Carfax membership, I run a Carfax on it to see if it’s still out there. Which reminds me – I got a membership last month when we bought our daughter a 5-speed Forte Koup, so I should run another one before the subscription expires.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Well Mark I would put this down to a learning curve.

    Find another Bronco, but first ascertain (realistically) how much you are prepared to invest in it. This is time, effort and money.

    Then go for it. Look to the future and learn from past mistakes not dwell.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    My 1st truck was an ’84 Ranger Reg cab 4×4. One guy who wanted to buy it changed his mind at the last second and bought a lifted Chevy. I met the guy a few weeks later in a bar. He was blind drunk telling me he had gone out wheeling and wrecked it. That made me happy that he didn’t buy it.

    I ended up selling it to an 18 year old kid from a town 2 hours away from mine. The guy shows up with a buddy and bought the truck. He was very sheepish and told me that he spent all of his money on the truck, now they didn’t have gas money for the return trip. I spotted them $100 dollars expecting to never see them or the money again. A few weeks later I got a letter and a $100 dollar cheque in the mail. The kid’s mom wrote me thanking me for trusting his son.
    I saw that truck for the next 5 years or so every time I passed through that town. He took immaculate care of it. That was a fitting fate since I pounded the crap out of it off road.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Only once have I felt sour as to the fate of one of my old cars:

    1992 Volvo 240 sedan, the water hoses, pump, everything but the radiator was fresh IPD stuff. When the new owner got the car the temp guage would read too hot. His mechanic decided that rather than replace the simple stuff he’d redo everything…ended up just being the “compensate chip” known to act up on Volvos and give false temp readings. Cant say I liked good parts being wasted.

    Otherwise what people do with my cars isnt a concern, I just hope they get use out of them.

  • avatar
    azmtbkr81

    I recently sold my ’96 XL, 5.0, 5 speed, no rust Bronco to an eccentric collector for a hair under $10k. I’m guessing it’ll be detailed and mumified, spending the rest of its days in an air conditioned garage never again to see the rocks and dust of the trail. Is that a better fate than being rhino lined and beat up by an Oklahoma redneck? Im not sure.

    It was a good truck and I do miss it at times but the 2016 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon that replaced it is a much better vehicle in almost all respects; it really is the only vehicle on the market today that is even remotely comparable to the Bronco. I know the Wrangler is considered primitive, but 20 years of automotive progress are very apparent.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Thanks for posting this. I have been kicking around what my next project was going to be and looking for something I could drop a 3.5 ecoboost in. A modern F150 driveline will make one of these a perfect daily driver. I prefer the 84ish front end though.

  • avatar
    John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

    I’m not familiar with bikes, but are those big cruiser models or little sport bikes? If they were smaller, why couldnt they be put inside the Bronco?

    I once hauled a Honda Trail 70 in a 1995 Accord for 3,000 miles.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N
      2009 Yamaha R6 “Raven” – at the time, it was a excellent sport bike. Very light, nimble and fast. “Raven” was more of a colour scheme.
      2003 Buell XB9S Lightning – that is more of a “street-fighter” bike as opposed to a sport bike. In my opinion rather gutless. It was basically a downsized 1200 Harley Sportster engine which isn’t known for setting the world on fire.

  • avatar
    ToeShotGPS

    My dad had a company car in the early 80s that he liked, I think it was a grey Grand Le Mans with black trim, bench seats. A year or two later, they replaced it with a baby blue version, the seats puffy sky blue bucket seats. The car was too girly for him, he always complained about it. When he was forced into retirement, he was out of a job, and soon enough, the original grey Grand Le Mans was back in the driveway. He’d tracked it down on some big car leasing firm’s parking lot and bought it from them.

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