Nostalgia is a funny thing. It suspends your logic. It rewrites history. And it creates intrinsic value.
It’s why the market has simply exploded on pre-revival Ford Broncos. Examples from the 1960s and ’70s have transformed into dream cars made of unobtainium, and even the later models are beginning to become coveted collector items.
Cue this 1993 Ford Bronco found on the AutoTrader marketplace, which has made its way into the inventory of the Summit Classic Car Collection – a collection curated by Scott Vickers, owner of Summit Ford in Toronto, Ont. – which usually features hyper-rare classic muscle cars from the ’60s and ’70s.
The Bronco in question lived the majority of its life in Oregon. Vickers bought the car online after recently selling a similar example. The classic Broncos, it seems, are once again becoming good business for a legacy Ford dealer. But Vickers didn’t exactly see the revival of the nameplate coming.
“I always liked them and drove the odd one as a demo, but never thought they would take off the way they have,” says Vickers. “I think Ford bringing back the brand has really helped boost the first- and second-generation Bronco.”
This ’93 Bronco is something of a departure from the Summit Classic collection in that it isn’t a hyper-rare show car – it is well-maintained, driveable nostalgia for regular Joe money.
That wonderfully ’90s crosshatch cloth interior. The plastic climate control switches. The analogue gauges with the old digital odometer that looks like the alarm clock from your childhood bedroom. The tried-and-true 5.0-litre Ford V8. If you don’t think you could ever be nostalgic for an engine, trust me, you can. Just listen to a cold start and run at idle. It will immediately occur to you that nothing on sale today has that same ting-y, lope-y, chop to it. It sounds just a little wrong, but oh, so very right.
Of course, there’s the steel body construction and classic, boxy silhouette that has no counterpart today, even with the new Bronco. But even the aftermarket Sony stereo deck makes me wish I’d never seen an iPhone or knew what Bluetooth was.
The included soft top (not pictured) conjures a fantastical mental image of some never truly achieved “perfect” summer day. Interesting fact about the soft top, though. It wasn’t a factory option in 1993 – it was an aftermarket accessory, so it’s not exactly clear how many period-correct examples are out there.
Still, it’s impossible not to view the fifth-gen Bronco as a throwback to a simpler time before our lives were consumed with screens, notifications, and electronic safety nannies.
Ironically, compared to its earlier iterations, the fifth-generation Bronco may have inspired some nostalgia of its own for the same reasons. For the 1992 model year, Ford wanted to address some safety concerns around the Bronco. It added three-point rear seat belts and a third rear brake light into the removable hardtop. It also integrated turn signals into the side mirrors – making it the first commuter vehicle to do so. Sure, that’s a standard feature by today’s standards, but it was pretty trick for the ’90s.
Those safety additions were all pretty benign, but the addition of the new brake light made the top more difficult to remove. The hardtop was the only factory option, and Ford went so far as to delete the guide on how to remove the top from the owner’s manual. The top was also held in place with torque screws, which, while certainly not impossible to remove, wasn’t exactly encouraging care-free adventure.
In many ways, the fifth-generation Bronco symbolized the beginning of the end of the original wave of campy, spirited, off-roading SUVs. Still, it’s impossible not to view this Bronco as a tempting escape to a time before AI or social media or whatever new music kids are into nowadays.
If you’re buying this Bronco to drive and enjoy it (please do that), this is a perfect specimen because you won’t have to worry whenever you put a little scratch in the clear coat. And if you’re looking for something to sit on and maybe restore a little and speculate if the market for this generation model will catch up to where the first and second generations are, then this is an easier way to get into the Bronco horse race (sorry).
Either way, I wouldn’t wait on this one because if nostalgia has the power to do anything, it’s drive demand.