1972 Baja Bronco

4-speed Baja Restoration, Page 3

About the time of my last update, I got a call from Brian in North Carolina. He mentioned he had a rollbar I'd probably want for the 4-speed Baja. He then told me the story of how he bought it from a Bronco shop in San Diego who had been parting out a Baja ....THIS Baja! So we struck a deal and now the original rollbar for this very Baja is back in the same garage with the truck. How cool. Thanks Brian, your Tuffy LockBox is on it's way now that the holidays are over!

Since the frame needed some repairs, I took it down til there was nothing left bolted on. I had it sandblasted and brought it to work at my day job, B&B Collision Repair(www.bbsaab.com). There my friend Vince fixed the frame horns, straightened the left front body mount, extracted a few rusted bolts, and cut off the old exhaust hangers. From there it was off to the powdercoaters!

One more trip through the sandblaster and it was into the oven for a double coat of 60 percent gloss black. The frame had spent too many years on salty Baja beaches and on the San Diego coast for it to make sense painting the frame. This Baja will be driven regularly when done, so long-term durability was the goal and reason for the choice of powdercoat over paint. And the sheen is still awfully close to stock for a Bronco frame.

While that was happening, my trusty Toyota pickup was totting around the drivetrain for rebuilds. The transmission went over to my longtime friend Rod Creger at Mustang Ranch in Santa Clara (www.mustangranch.biz). He tore into it, complained about how it stunk up the whole shop, put in all new bearings and synchros and then smiled and called it good. Gears and case looked used, but not abused. Note the factory Ford markings "11" and some other paint marks. I may try to duplicate them, but in any case photos have been taken for the scrapbook...and you're viewing pleasure.

The big orange steering box went down to Straight Line Steering in San Jose. There we got the bad news that the case was toast. Too much rust in the sealing area. Buildable, but it'll leak. Hmmm. Okay, well...what to do. Good news was that Straight Line has been around forever and had a spare case on the shelf. The friendly owner/manager informed me the box is a hybrid, and the guts are fairly uncommon but the case is around if you know where to look. Perfect "I'll take one!" Now the whole unit is back together and ready for some fresh Poppy Red paint.

Bags, bags, and more bags. I have several file boxes full of parts assemblys and hardware that need painting, plating, or repacement. My advice to anyone doing what I"m doing - spend the extra time to label and save all your hardware. I think thats the key to getting something like this actually finished; it takes out lots of guess-work and keeps things rolling. All these baggies will keep me busy during the rainy season..thats for sure! Check it out: an update! Page Four