The Built2Wander Bronco Ranger: A Modern-Day Bronco with Vintage Charm
The highly anticipated return of the Ford Bronco in 2021 was met with excitement from both new and vintage enthusiasts alike, and it didn't take long for the aftermarket industry to start offering a vast array of parts and upgrades for the 2-door and 4-door platforms. New Bronco owners were quick to modify their trusty steeds, with upgrades ranging from aftermarket wheels and oversized tires to more robust suspension systems, bumpers, winches, and lighting packages. Built2Wander, recognized areas for improvement in 2-door Bronco Badlands, and aimed to strike the perfect balance between enhancing capability and preserving the iconic heritage that has made the Bronco a timeless symbol of off-road prowess. The result? The awe-inspiring Built2Wander Bronco Ranger custom built by 3D Off-Road – a modern-day Bronco that seamlessly blends cutting-edge off-road capabilities with nearly half a century of distinct vintage charm.
Bronco Ranger Package
The Ranger Package quickly became a sought-after trim level among early Ford Bronco enthusiasts who wanted to elevate both the exterior aesthetics and off-road capability of their vehicles. Introduced in 1972, this package offered a range of enhancements, including an aggressive front bumper, reinforced skid plates, wider fender flares, rock rails, a unique graphics package, and a practical roof rack system. These modifications not only amplified the Bronco's off-road prowess and provided added protection but also bestowed upon it a rugged and personalized appearance. When planning the build of our new Bronco, we drew inspiration from the original Bronco Ranger, aiming to recreate its iconic look with a modern twist. Taking cues from the classic trim level, 3D Off-Road helped us modify several areas of the vehicle to capture the essence of the original while infusing it with contemporary design elements and industry-leading technology. The result is a truly unique Bronco that pays homage to its heritage while embodying the spirit of adventure in the modern age.
37” Nitto Ridge Grapplers and Fifteen52 Wheels
As our 2-Door Bronco serves both as a daily driver and weekend warrior, finding the perfect tire is paramount. We needed a tire that could deliver a comfortable on-road experience at highway speeds while possessing the aggression necessary to conquer demanding terrains found in locations like the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and the slick rock of Moab, Utah. After careful consideration, we decided on the 37" Ridge Grappler from Nitto Tire, which strikes a remarkable balance between a mud-terrain and an all-terrain tire. Engineered with a variable pitch tread pattern, the Ridge Grappler ensures a quiet and smooth highway ride, while its deep and aggressive tread blocks and sidewall lugs provide unrivaled tenacity off-road. It effortlessly handles the toughest trails with confidence. To complement our Nitto Ridge Grapplers, we selected a set of 17" Analog HD wheels from Fifteen52. These wheels not only showcase the timeless look of classic steel wheel but also benefit from the lightweight and durable construction of all-aluminum. The combination of Nitto Ridge Grapplers and Fifteen52 Analog HD wheels perfectly satisfies our needs, offering exceptional functionality without compromising on style.
Plush Bilstein Suspension
To accommodate the 37" Nittos mentioned earlier, lifting our Bronco became a necessity. We made the decision to replace the factory Sasquatch Package coilovers with a set of Bilstein B8 6100 Series Shocks. These Bilstein coilovers not only allow for adjustable lift height at all four corners, enabling us to fit larger tires, but they also feature a 60MM monotube design with specialized valving and a high-quality piston. Utilizing the factory Sasquatch springs, they deliver exceptional off-road performance, increased travel, and improved ride handling. Enhancing the suspension system further, we paired the Bilstein Shock Absorbers with billet front upper control arms and rear lower trailing arms from Camburg Racing. These arms utilize FK uniball bearings and heim joints at all pivot points, ensuring maximum wheel travel and articulation while maintaining proper caster and pinion angles. To reinforce areas prone to failure in the new Ford Bronco, we added a Yeti XD rear track bar and tie rod ends from Steer Smarts, providing additional strength and durability. As a result, our Bronco now delivers a more comfortable and plusher ride on-road, while also demonstrating improved performance and predictability in uneven and challenging off-road terrain.
Aggressive Hefty Fabworks Bumpers
Although the factory bumpers on our Bronco Badlands looked great, they lacked the functionality we desired, especially when it came to recovery and lighting capabilities. To address this, we turned to the experts at Hefty Fabworks and opted for their front and rear bumper package, specifically designed to complement the all-new Bronco. The Hefty Fabworks front bumper features a Warn VR EVO10-S winch for assistance in the event of a recovery, complemented by a Factor 55 Fairlead and Ultrahook for added reliability and strength. To enhance visibility during late-night adventures and dusty trail conditions, we equipped the front bumper with a set of Baja Designs Squadron Sport amber fog lights and S2 ditch lights, providing ample additional lighting. We also opted for the radiator skid plate, which not only offers protection against rocks but also accommodates the front radar sensor. Moving to the rear, the aftermarket Hefty Fabworks rear bumper offers integrated recovery points, convenient mounting provisions for our factory back-up sensors, and even allowed us to install a set of Baja Designs S2 reverse lights. The combination of the Hefty Fabworks front and rear bumpers not only elevates the overall aesthetic of our Bronco but also instills in us the confidence to conquer even the most challenging trails, thanks to the added functionality and rugged durability they provide.
Advanced Fiberglass Fenders and Hood
While the early Bronco featured fenders with a subtle integrated flare, the 5th Generation Ford Bronco had to comply with modern tire coverage laws, resulting in the addition of separate fenders and flares. We felt that this departure from the Bronco's heritage and classic aesthetics took away from its overall appeal. Fortunately, Advanced Fiberglass Concepts shared our sentiment and took the initiative to provide a solution. We opted to replace our factory fenders and flares with Advanced Fiberglass Concepts' 2" flare kit, which includes front fenders and rear quarter panels. These aftermarket components closely resemble the iconic look of the early Bronco, while also offering an additional 1" of clearance in the wheel wells, perfectly accommodating our 37" Nitto Ridge Grapplers. Alongside the fiberglass fenders, we also decided to upgrade our factory hood with Advanced Fiberglass Concept's Bronco Ram Air Hood. Not only does this hood enhance the Bronco's aggressive appearance, but it also delivers the functionality of directing fresh air into the engine bay, promoting optimal performance. With these modifications, our Bronco has regained its classic charm and heritage, all while providing the necessary clearance for larger tires and boasting a more commanding presence on and off the road.
Rock Slide Engineering Step Sliders
Rock Slide Engineering's Step Sliders prove to be a valuable addition to our Bronco, particularly when it comes to safeguarding the rocker panels during off-road adventures. These Step Sliders serve a dual purpose, acting as both sturdy rock sliders and convenient steps for easy vehicle access. This feature becomes especially beneficial considering the increased ride height resulting from our Bilstein Suspension System and the use of 37" Nitto Tires. With the rugged and durable construction of Rock Slide Engineering's Step Sliders, we gain the peace of mind knowing that our Bronco's rocker panels are well-protected against potential damage from large rocks and other obstacles encountered off-road. Additionally, the integrated steps offer a practical and convenient solution for getting in and out of the vehicle, ensuring easy access even with the raised height.
The iconic Bronco Ranger Trim Package of the early '70s was renowned for its distinctive side stripes in white and orange. The use of Advanced Fiberglass Concepts front fenders and rear quarter panels helped us recreate this vintage appeal. With the clean body lines that closely resembled the early Bronco, we were able to add these classic stripes to our Bronco, just as Ford did decades ago. The seamless integration of the Ranger Stripe Package onto our Bronco not only pays homage to its rich heritage but also creates a striking blend of vintage and modern aesthetics. These stripes serve as a visual reminder of the Bronco's iconic past, while still maintaining a fresh and contemporary appearance. By blending the timeless appeal of the Bronco Ranger Trim Package with the clean lines of Advanced Fiberglass Concepts' body panels, our custom-built Bronco stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of the Ford Bronco.