New Life for Old Broncos

An Illinois company, using a license from the Ford, provides the look of the automaker’s classic SUV with a modern feel.

Intersecting at automotive buyer trends that yearn for old-school looks and the latest sport-utility vehicle offerings, Hamel, Ill.-based Gateway Bronco offers customers the look of legacy off-road vehicles with the feel of modern SUVs. 

The company uses a license from Ford to either restore or custom-build the iconic off-road vehicles. Although the company will build new Broncos from the ground up, including fabricating a new frame and body, most builds start with restoring a first-generation vehicle that stems from model years 1966 to 1977. 

From there, they work with the customer in delivering one of three vehicle styles – the Fuelie, the Coyote or the Modern Day Warrior. Founded by engineer Seth Burgett, the company uses modern painting and rust-proofing methods to bring the vehicles back to life.  Other key improvements include suspension and chassis upgrades, any necessary mechanical improvements and a high-end interior package. 

These vehicles range in cost from $120,000 to $180,000, with each model offering an escalating number of creature comforts and driving features. This includes engine specifications that range from the 400-horsepower Stoker 347 to the 460-horsepower, 5.0-liter Coyote engine. Transmission options can vary from four-speed automatics to five-speed manuals to the Ford Raptor 6-speed. 

Additional options include cut or original fenders and the choice between a full hard top or the soft bikini version. 

The company operates out of a 60,000 square-foot manufacturing facility and outsources nothing. According to their website, Gateway even bought a powder coating company so vehicles wouldn’t have to leave their facility during production. 

According to the company, this allows these new Broncos to be built the way Henry Ford envisioned – on a production line using KanBan, 5S and Lean production processes. The vehicles also carry warranties with two to five years of coverage. 

However, if you don’t want to shell out the extra cash and wait two to four months for your vehicle to be delivered, the new Broncos from Ford will be unveiled in January at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. 

They cost significantly less, starting at $30,000 for a base model, but won’t be rolling off Ford assembly lines until 2020.

— by Jeff Reinke

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