First Drive: Despite Improved Handling, This Restomod Bronco Is Better at Turning Heads
For all their rustic charm, classic 4x4s can be adventurous in ways you didn’t sign up for. Aiming for old-school style without the dodgy reliability, Velocity Modern Classics remixes American icons into tidily finished trucks that don’t leak oil and can be driven comfortably every day.
As with most boutique restomods, Velocity’s reimagined Broncos start life as donor vehicles that have seen better days. A 14-week build process involves a complete reworking and restoration of the chassis, the installation of a modern power train and suspension, and an arduous recovery, repair, and rebuilding process that rights many of the original truck’s ill-fitting, poorly executed wrongs.
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My drive of Velocity’s latest build came on a typically sunny SoCal day, the kind that begs for an open-air jaunt into the nearby mountains. Equipped with a color-matched safari top, my tester wore lustrous Anvil Grey paint and 17-inch Mickey Thompsons cushioned by meaty 33-inch BF Goodrich all-terrain tires. The wheels and bumper are a tad shinier than some might like, but the customizability of each build means chrome can be ditched for more matte or satin finishes if desired.
Under the hood is a 430 hp Ford Performance Coyote engine, the same bass-heavy V-8 you’ll find in grunty Mustangs and brawny F-150s. In this application, the 5.0-liter power plant uses custom headers and exhaust to produce even throatier notes. Power moves through a four-speed automatic transmission operated via a steering-column shifter. An Atlas II transfer case drives Dana front and Ford rear axles.
We tackled the winding corners of the Angeles Crest Highway aboard Velocity’s restomod Bronco, experiencing the 1960s-style truck with rather ‘60s-style dynamics. Though not nearly as squishy, sloppy, or ill-equipped for cornering as its antecedents, the vehicle is also not quite a Mustang on stilts, either. The interior experience offers a predominantly retro feel, with a painted metal dashboard that features mostly period-correct knobs with the exception of an Alpine audio unit. The modern stereo stands out against the otherwise clean expanse of dashboard, while a gauge cluster by Dakota Digital discreetly embeds a TFT window amidst an otherwise analog array of instruments. A six-point roll cage offsets the wood-rimmed steering wheel and billet aluminum components with a bit of simple utility.
This Bronco’s ride feels comfy from the diamond-quilted seats by Procar, though handling around some of the tighter bends gets a bit clumsy. The four-speed automatic also seems primitive compared to the sophisticated, torquey Ford power plant, making this Bronco feel better suited to city or highway cruising as opposed to more technically challenging routes.
Parked on a placid lookout point in the Angeles National Forest, the Velocity Bronco certainly looks the part, combining a ready-for-anything appearance with enough modern underpinnings to ensure more refinement and comfort than a classic could offer. Driving down the mountain reveals reassuring stopping power from the Wilwood Hydraboost brakes, but the true testimony to this truck’s character comes from the approving nods received when rolling through the suburbs of Los Angeles. Nitpick the driving experience as you may, there’s no faking the slick style of a properly executed restomod.
The Velocity Modern Classics’ take on the Bronco is more a classic muscle car trapped in the body of an off-roader, rather than a truck masquerading as a jacked-up sports car. While Angeles Crest Highway is a fairly challenging road, we suspect most Velocity customers will be more interested in driving models like this $292,000 custom under more sedate urban conditions. If Broncos aren’t your thing, Velocity also makes modern drivers out of Ford F-250s, International Scouts, and a variety of other retro rides.
Click here for more photos of the restomod Bronco from Velocity Modern Classics.
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