Early Bronco vs. Defender/Series truck - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old August 25th, 2010, 10:12 PM
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Early Bronco vs. Defender/Series truck

Iíve been lurking around for a few months and decided to ask for some opinions.

Hereís my situation - Iíve been in the market for a while for an Early Bronco (Ď66-í77), but have always loved the look of Defenders and Series trucks. Iíve focused mostly on Broncos because my wife is pushing for an automatic so she can drive it and I donít want to drop 20-30k for a decent D90 auto. After a few months of looking, I might be more open to having a manual, get an older Defender or Series truck and just ask for forgiveness later.

Iíd like to spend no more than 15k, but wouldnít mind being around 10k with some extra fun money left over. The truck would spend most of its life tooling around town and goofing around in the Chicago snow every once and a while as I have a few other daily drivers and I donít do tons of trails.

As far as maintenance requirements, availability of parts and upkeep costs, Iím pretty sure the Bronco wins. Plus, for the same price, I can likely grab a nicer condition Bronco. However, I just canít get over the uniqueness of Defenders and Series trucks.

In view of my budget, intended use, etc., what do you guys think? Should I just be practical and get an automatic Early Bronco or suffer the consequences of an old Defender or Series truck?

Thanks in advance.
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  #2  
Old August 25th, 2010, 10:33 PM
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Suffer the consequences. The fact that you had to ask, should be all the answer you need. BTW, welcome to the board.
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  #3  
Old August 25th, 2010, 10:38 PM
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  #4  
Old August 25th, 2010, 10:52 PM
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First of all, welcome!

I have owned two different '69 Broncos in the past ten years but picked up my D90 earlier this year after selling my Bronco and don't know that I will ever look back!

I loved both of my Broncos but make sure you do your homework on them just like the Rovers. Like Rovers, they have their typical rust prone areas. mechanical quirks. and potential for overheating. You have probably already found that the most desirable Broncos are the 76-77, but like NAS trucks, they carry a premium. Parts for the Bronco are somewhat easier to come by as they are interchangeable with many older Fords (especially the engine) but you will find similar limitations to Rovers in the number of true specialized vendors and aftermarket products.

Out of the box I believe that a Rover will outperform a Bronco offroad any day and even the Series trucks have "creature comforts" that early Broncos never had (i.e. hydraulic clutch). I guess a proper disclaimer is that my Broncos (and my Rover) were not primary vehicles and meant purely for fun! Also, I haven't owned any autos so I cannot comment there.

Perhaps the biggest pro for a Rover is the community. It may sound corny but one of the biggest reasons I ended up making the jump to my D90 was this forum and the friends I have made from it. I was a part of several Bronco clubs and forums but none had the passion for the trucks like the Rover guys do!

Speaking of which, there are several members here that are in the Chicago area that I am sure would be willing to show you around their trucks and maybe even get some seat time. As with any decision like this, drive as many trucks as you can before committing to anything.

------ Follow up post added August 25th, 2010 10:54 PM ------

Quote:
Originally Posted by rijosho View Post
Get a Scout
A Scout!?! He said he wasn't trying to spend more than a Rover! He could look at FJ's too!
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  #5  
Old August 25th, 2010, 11:08 PM
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The better idea: buy the Bronco...

However...

from your post I'd bet you'll always envy the the D90 until you get one...
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  #6  
Old August 25th, 2010, 11:13 PM
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Buy a Defender and be over with it! We can assure you you won't regret it
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  #7  
Old August 25th, 2010, 11:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rijosho View Post
Get a Scout
Josh, my dad had one of these in the early 70s - swore it was the worst automobile he ever owned. He's the kind of guy who keeps cars forever, he kept the scout for 6 months.

Joe - I'm in Chicagoland- NW Burbs. Not sure what I can help with, but I'd be happy to.

Jerod
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  #8  
Old August 26th, 2010, 07:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by founD90 View Post
Josh, my dad had one of these in the early 70s - swore it was the worst automobile he ever owned. He's the kind of guy who keeps cars forever, he kept the scout for 6 months.

Joe - I'm in Chicagoland- NW Burbs. Not sure what I can help with, but I'd be happy to.

Jerod
Also didn't most Scouts have single circuit brakes? That would be the first thing I swapped out.
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  #9  
Old August 26th, 2010, 07:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by founD90

Josh, my dad had one of these in the early 70s - swore it was the worst automobile he ever owned. He's the kind of guy who keeps cars forever, he kept the scout for 6 months.

Joe - I'm in Chicagoland- NW Burbs. Not sure what I can help with, but I'd be happy to.

Jerod
Ha. Didn't know that. One of my college rugby teammates had one and I thought it was pretty fun. Plus, they're more "rare" than the Bronco.
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  #10  
Old August 26th, 2010, 07:58 AM
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I had a '68 Bronco in high school and have now had two Series trucks and an RRC. A guy at work has many older Broncos. He keeps several on hand to find better body parts b/c of rust. I spend as much less time worrying about that part and probably the same amount of time working on the mechanicals. I'll never buy another Bronco but will probably own more Land Rovers.

In this economy I would think you could get a fantastic Series truck for $10-15K. For tooling around town a Series is hard to beat.

Is there a reason why your wife won't/can't drive a stick? Is she not willing to learn?
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  #11  
Old August 26th, 2010, 10:23 AM
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Thanks for the comments and suggestions guys. I've done a decent amount of looking at the other options suggested - Scouts, FJs, etc., but my personal preference is between an Early Bronco, Defender or Series truck.

I am pretty familiar with the typical Bronco issues, but not as familiar with Defender and Series truck issues, though I have been picking things up over the past few months. Body rust you say? Fiberglass Bronco body solves that. Floor and frame rust - would need to be dealt with just like a Rover. These are important considerations as I live in the Chicago area and rust is my main enemy.

As for the manual, I have suggested to the wife that I teach her, but part of me likes the fact that she can't drive my other two cars (M3 and an Ariel Atom). To keep things balanced, I was trying to go with an auto that she could drive and have fun in while still protecting my other cars from her "feminine touch." Plus, add in the fact that I do actually like idea of a right hand drive truck and that would add way too much complication for her to really be comfortable trying to drive a manual on the wrong side of the truck. I could teach her to drive a manual, left hand drive, but she won't be as happy as she would be with an auto. I know what I should go with (an EB with an auto), but would still be a little disappointed I didn't get a Defender or Series truck.

Overall, I'm looking for a toy, not a hard core trail buggy. I'd also like to try to minimize maintenance and down time as I have 3 other cars to also take care of. Not to mention that I take the train to work so I only put about 5000 miles a year on all of my cars combined.

By the way, anything I should steer clear of?
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  #12  
Old August 26th, 2010, 11:05 AM
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I could not be married to a woman who can not drive a stick...

If I had an Atom, I would have to set the alarm very early in the morning to beat my wife to it...

I think it is time that you teach her.
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  #13  
Old August 26th, 2010, 11:42 AM
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I now picture you looking somewhat like this in your Atom.
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  #14  
Old August 26th, 2010, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rijosho View Post
I now picture you looking somewhat like this in your Atom.
Not quite. Much shorter with less flappy skin and less hair.

The Atom is spectacular on the track and I need something at the polar opposite end of the spectrum...
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  #15  
Old August 26th, 2010, 01:28 PM
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It's a really tough call between the two, I've also owned both and have split loyalties here. My eventual plan is to keep the D-90 and add another Bronco to the stable. I'm really not 100% concerned with the year of the bronco as long as it had a factory 302 and Dana 44 front end. Anything else is easy enough to swap around between the years. Oh, and factory electric wipers are mandatory, the vacuum wipers are total trash and aren't easy to change over (or at least they weren't 15 years ago when I had to swap the windshield frame to do it)

They were both made to be work trucks, so both lack creature comforts to some degree, but the the Rover's definitely come out on top when it comes to the options you'll likely find already installed.

Broncos come out ahead in drivetrain strength from the factory, as long as it has the Dana 44 front end and a V8.... plus Broncos have a real emergency brake. Defenders can be built up to be strong, but a 9" and Dana 44 are a much better starting point. Speaking of brakes, NAS defenders have very good 4-wheel disk brakes, most Bronco's out there are un-boosted 4-wheel drum brakes. Front disks and power brakes are out there, but most likely you'll be swapping that in if you get a pre-75 truck.

Suspension goes to the Defender no question about it, followed by the Bronco, with the Series leafs in last place. Defenders were among the first off-road trucks with full coil suspensions, about a decade ahead of Jeep.

However, the single biggest issue with early broncos is going to be rust rust rust. Defenders have some areas to look out for, but Broncos are much older and have much more sheet steel on them. You've really got to know where to look in a Bronco, and be prepared to pass on a number of them due to rust issues. The worst spot is invariably the door posts, front and rear, which need to be checked both inside and outside the body. If this area is bad, keep on walking or start saving for fiberglass. They aren't as bad as Scouts or Jeeps, but Broncos can really be rust monsters.

The only way you can go wrong in this argument to be honest, they are both great trucks.
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  #16  
Old August 26th, 2010, 03:33 PM
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For the money you are talking about spending you can get a killer Bronco or a below average Defender. I have owned both vehicles and both have their pros and cons. I love the classic American steel, but the Defender is my choice hands down.
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  #17  
Old August 26th, 2010, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLUE94 View Post
For the money you are talking about spending you can get a killer Bronco or a below average Defender.
This is one of the key debates for me.
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  #18  
Old August 26th, 2010, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatentShark View Post
This is one of the key debates for me.
Not sure what you have found but as the early Broncos become more and more rare they are also increasing in price (obviously). If you are looking for a rust free truck with some good options (D44 front and front disc brakes) you are going to be in the low teens easily depending on whether the truck is cut and how many miles. I think that the cost of a good condition EB will be comparable to a ROW Defender. Of course, the ROW truck will probably be right hand drive and almost certainly not auto...that being said, there are deals to be found on NAS trucks. While not common, they can be found in the low-mid teens in reasonable condition.

For what it's worth, the '69 I sold earlier this year went for $8K and while mechanically it was great, the body needed a lot of work including replacing DS door post & striker post, replacing passenger quarter panel and some general dent repair. This was after I had already replaced the PS door post, floor pans and floor pan supports. This truck had a D30 front that I swapped in a set of disc brakes.
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  #19  
Old August 26th, 2010, 05:10 PM
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cognitive = Bronco (although I too prefer the Scout)
emotional = Defender
at 6'-3" and a horrible back, it is still hard to leave the arena even with lack of ergonomics. Gotta love 'em, but beware the terminal nature. It was easier giving up Porsches after many years of racing, and running after 30 years d/t a total knee....
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  #20  
Old August 27th, 2010, 07:55 AM
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You'd be surprised how much Bronco currently you can get for under 15k. Pretty much gorgeous, near frame off restores. Not necessarily original everything, but pretty much new or restored everything. I walked away from a great looking 74 that was a frame off that was 95% done for 9k. Just needed a wonky wiring harness completed or replaced and swap out the vacuum windshield frame. At the time, I was being impatient and didn't want to spend the time to finish it up - instead I went racing.

rovertrader - you are right. My brain is saying get an EB, but desire for unique toys says get the Defender.

You guys on the coasts are pretty lucky as I've seen lots of trucks out there, not so much here in the midwest.
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