IS THERE a limit to engine-swapping classic off-roaders? If there is, Ford Performance’s restoration of Jay Leno’s 1969 Ford Bronco wagon is certainly pushing the envelope with the fitment of a 5.2-litre supercharged V8 engine from the new Ford Shelby Mustang GT500.
Despite its appearance, the restoration work on Leno’s Bronco is more than skin deep – much of what has been done and fitted to the classic wagon has been thoroughly re-engineered with newer components.
The new V8 engine is mated to a five-speed TREMEC Silver Sport transmission with a Quick Draw bellhousing and STX shifter assembly. Power is meted out through a heavy duty 4WD drivetrain equipped with an Advance Adapters Atlas II transfer case. While the engine features a host of new aftermarket componentry, it is uncertain what the engine’s final power outputs are.
Other off-road internals fitted include Fox 2.0 Factory Race Series coil-over shocks and steering stabilisers, Warn locking hubs, Eaton Detroit Truetrac differentials and gearing, and chunky BFGoodrich Rugged Trail T/A tyres.
In restoring the Bronco, Ford Performance engaged several renowned builders and Ford Bronco restorers: Bronco licensee Kincer Chassis, to rebuild the chassis and install the GT500 engine; Dennis Carpenter Ford Restoration Parts, to provide the body panels; SEMA Garage, to lend its technical expertise in CAD and 3D printing works; and LGE-CTS Motorsports, to install custom body mods and reassemble the wagon.
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According the Ford, Leno came into possession of the Bronco when fellow late-night TV host Craig Ferguson played a prank on him by leaving the Bronco in his parking lot on the eve of his last taping. Leno, who recognised the significance of the Bronco that was lost on the pranksters, happily kept the Bronco, unrestored in his garage for several years.
Jay Leno’s Ford Bronco is set to be showcased at SEMA 2019 and will become the feature of an upcoming episode of Jay Leno’s Garage on YouTube.