[Text & photos by Matt Grob]
I purchased the Bronco-II new in 1989 and used it as my college car. Purchasing that car was a big deal for me at the time and I used it to travel west from Peoria, IL to school at Stanford ( I had never been west of the Mississippi before that). The Bronco served me well for many, many years with very few problems. I also used it its reasonable off-road capability a great many times on many camping trips to the deserts and elsewhere.
As the years passed I stuck with the Bronco even after it really started to show wear and tear. In fact, well after the original paint had started to flake off. Driving it to work each day became more and more a source of amusement and jokes amongst my friend and co-workers, but since it always ran well, I wasnt about to part with it.
But then we had new arrivals to the family (twins). To make a long story short, it was agreed they could not ride in the Bronco as there were no shoulder harnesses in the back seats, and therefore less safe for childseats and kids. At that point the Bronco had to go or did it? Actually it was my wife Dawn who suggested we have the Bronco restored. Eventually thats we decided to do... but with a twist.
The idea was to keep the project a secret from everyone friends, family, etc. And sure enough that made the whole thing a lot more fun. After I finally bought a new car in April 2004, everyone was really amazed the The Bronco was gone. Even many months later people still made jokes about the Bronco, but little did they know it was being fully restored and upgraded at HR&CS .
The crew at HR&CS did an excellent job throughout and made the whole process a lot of fun too. In particular Randy, Sean, Mike and Rich always made me feel welcome during each visit and there was always good progress each time as well. During the process a very nice custom rollbar was added and now there are shoulder harnesses in the back seats. Various other upgrades were also made, including power mirrors, electronics, and suspension upgrades in addition to a complete interior restoration and drive train replacement.
One item of interest was the paint job, sinceI would no longer be using the Bronco for commuting, but mostly for camping trips to the desert with the kids. For years I had always taken the Bronco out to the desert when conditions were good for watching meteors, comets, or other astronomical events. It was with that use in mind that I gave the following instructions:
*Make the paint color reminiscent of the original color
*Make the paint scheme reflect the usage of the vehicle: watching starry nights, comets, meteors, etc.
*Make it totally unique no other paint job like it must exist
I think all of these goals were achieved.
Eventually the months of restoration passed the project was finished. So the day came when I drove it to work and called my coworkers to come see it. There was a lot of surprise and laughter that day. Now I drive it to work on some Fridays, and look forward to taking the Bronco and the kids on camping trips for a long time come.