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LORE Bronco restore


Well-known member
Nov 26, 2020
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Another forum to keep up with, I guess :D
So, back story.

My pops bought this 1968 Bronco from Bob Lewis of Lewis Off Road enterprises back in 1972.
He drove it for a while, and blew the engine in '78. It's been in a garage ever since.

Yes, this truck has not been running longer than I've been alive lol
So, finally I convinced my dad to let me put the dang thing back together again so he can enjoy it.

We'll be doing a full restore on this, and making it like it was parked in the garage in 1978 and you pulled it back out.
Anything that's original will try to be re-used or refurbished.
Anything that's getting replaced will hopefully be NOS or OEM
Should be a fun time

Here's a few pics of it back in the day.

Truck will be painted original Chrome Yellow.
Undecided if we'll be doing a metallic blue hood or yellow.
This was the first truck sponsored by KC HiLites- that's pretty cool!
I've contacted a few other sponsors for stickers and/or vectors for us to reproduce the livery

Galpin Ford has one of Bob's trucks as well

Last pic is when my dad got it when he was around 24? or so.



It showed up today from California.... Pushed it into the back storage for now, we're busier than hell at the shop (I own a BMW/RR shop in Houston)

I'll get to unpacking it maybe this weekend. Need to buy shelves for everything.

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Started unpacking everything.....

This new forum sucks, it cant even fkin resize pictures automatically?
Guess who's uploading from hosted pictures from "the other site"?
This guy :flipoff2:



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Well, I had some time on it- This was WAY entertaining with the cage in lololol

I'll have to reassemble slowly w/ the cage out.

Pulled the column out- was gonna just put a cover on where the shifter was, but I'd still have the eyesore in the engine bay..... can you get peices to remove that as well, or am I looking at a new/used column to convert it cleanly to floor shift?



ok so this hit me a little bit and I havent updated my shit here in a while.
Look, 2 kids in 380 days apart, 3 businesses and other stuff causes things to get back burner-ed. So as of recent that's been changed.

I bought a replacement cage from TBP, mainly because I didn't want to buy 2" dies for my bender, and spend the time building it.
Well, I should have. it didn't fit worth a shit. so, im going to give the original cage a good look over, probably doing some grindy grindy then weldy weldy to some of the joints and re use it.

the main hoop was over bent, you had to use a porta power to even attempt to get them to line up to the corners, the passenger mount was welded crooked... overall bullshit. They took care of me, so All is good. Yes, the bottom picture is upside down, I know





I moved on to the floor pan. I replaced the pan, because the passenger seat holes had been ripped out, there were lots of miscellaneous holes and mystery gashes all over it. Plus, my pop torched out the floor for the 3 speed conversion on the ground and it needed some help.

As expected the repop floors didn't fit really too spectacular. Hind sight would to have probably fixed rather than replace, but no biggie. shit's done now.

The passenger floor pan didnt want to line up. If i pushed it all the way back, the front seat holes lined up, but there was no overlap to the floor pan. If i moved it forward to intersect with the trans tunnel and overlap like the original, the holes were covered and the back had a 3/4" gap.




So I pondered over how I was going to fix this for a bit. I ended up using a rota broach to pop out plugs from the original floor pan, redrilled the holes for the seat bolts, and welded the plugs back into the holes that the floor pan came with.
The little delta that went up the trans tunnel didn't wanna fit the shape either. It didn't intersect correctly either, so i cut it off so I could extend it. During this I realized it fit better if I flipped it over :laughing:

so, I made a filler strip, filled the gap welded it in and Cleco'ed everything into place. While the floor was out, I wire wheeled the body support struts, acid etch primered, then undercoated them for protection.





As I'm replying Im realizing the pictures aren't uploading exactly the direction or orientation I want.
A lot of them won't upload directly from my computer and "the other forum" im having to copy/pasta url's over.
So get your shit together, Irate4x4.com:flipoff2:

More welding, more grinding, more fitting, more messing with stuff, more clecos more flap wheels and I eventually got the floor buttoned up. When the truck goes on Rotisserie, I need to finish up a few spots, grind down a few spots, and also attach the parking brake bracket.




I got to rebuilding the Dana 20. Really, rebuilding was a harsh word. Taking it apart, removing 40 year old gear oil and replacing all the gasket and seals is a better term. It was PERFECT inside.





All buttoned up, painted up, and installed the adapter ring.
Got the NV3550, transfercase, bellhousing and everything together.
Need to finish torquing the bolts and fill everyone up with fluids when I install it.

Slightly concerned over the NV3550 and its torque rating vs the 348 stroker I'm building for it- but that comes later. If I end up blowing the trans up, I'll change over to an NV4500, but don't want the truck shifting feeling. I want more of a sports car feel on the shifter. We'll see.




Next up was the core support. I yanked the fenders and grill off so I could get a better look





I'm increasingly getting annoyed with the stupid pictures being sideways.
I'm replacing the core support due to my pops hitting a tree or something when he was driving it. It was booger welded/coat hanger brazed back together and well- it needed some love. I hacked it all out and shaped the panels back as best I could.





More fitting, more measuring, and then noticing the right front body mount must've been schwacked by something too. I beat/bent that back into shape and then decided it was stupid of me to even attempt this without new body mounts. So, I put new poly mounts and 1" lift on the body to clear the trans without hacking the cross member up from underneath.



I bought a Ron Davis aluminum radiator for this, since I'll have a high performance engine and wanted the best. I'm kinda ticked the upper and lower 1/4" square bar that's welded to the radiator for the support brackets to clamp to are fking crooked. I mean, you buy the best radiator you can find, pay the premium money- i'd expect the shit to not be welded by stevie wonder.

Anyways. Measured for the lower mounts, upper mounts, and welded those in as well. Little more welding to do on them once the body is off and I can access the close one near the frame.

also mounted the power steering box onto the frame.
Another thing that kinda ticked me off is having to do some burr grinding on one of the bolt holes that was modified on the box to make the bolt go through. I found another power steering manufacturer that has new housings that looked nice vs this saginaw box- but I thought that's what I was buying in the first place. :/





So then I got to the rear fender flares and pulled those off. Passenger side was no problem, piece of cake. Driver side flare was pushed in and distorted. like something had been leaning against the fiberglass for however long.... but when I pulled it off I think it was the panel tweaking it. Looks like the driver flare had been ripped off no less than 2 times lol. I spent time welding the holes up and giving the ole' college try to straighten the panel up- but i know I wasn't going to be pleased with it.Attachments





A torched hole was for the buggy whip on the back corner. made a little patch panel and fixed that guy up.

Looks like the front shock mount is bent. IDK need to inspect better once the body is off.





these pictures are pissing me off :laughing:

spent some time drilling out some spot welds and doing some clean up




so you probably are going to see some crooked pictures and wonder wtf- The repop panel didnt have enough curve to it. so the door and tail light pocket sat proud in the middle. I had to do something about it.
So I pulled out my sheetmetal shrinker and worked the edge a little. It made a world of difference.
Secondly the gap in the back goes a little wild going up to the top of the tail light. I think I have a way to address that when I weld it up.
This panel suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucked getting off, prepping, fitting and getting ready to weld in.





I mean, come on Irate, your website is showing its n00bness. it cant even properly make pictures post. Stupid. Ruins the thread.

Anyways. bought steel to make frame rails with all thread for the body, and some steel to make a frame to support the body when I take it off. I'm *blown away* how floppy these bodies are. I mean, im not- but you know what I mean. sheesh.



So, this is where I am now- The quarter is fitted, drilled and I should have this thing welded in hopefully by the end of the week. Iv'e decided to weld the quarter in from the inside, and flap wheel them afterwards. I can't get my stinger up inside the fender and be able to see anything.


Got the windshield frame yanked off. got the holes drilled and mounted it back up. windshield and window frames seem to align pretty good. now working on windshield support doohickies to keep the windshield frame from flopping around.





got the cage booger welds ground out and re-welded all the joints up, and put some B pillar mounts tied into the frame. I'll finish welding them on the frame when I get the body off. I put some washers on the top of the bottom plate to space it away from the bottom of the sheet metal. Why? Well, I want to have some ability to shim the body. If it needs to be at the same level, I put a sheet metal plate in the thickness of the washers. If I need the body to go down, I have a little room- or higher- I have options. It looks like I'll be shimming the body mounts as well to get panel alignment better since the body is so fkin floppy.





Found the skid plate
I'll have to do some clean up on it for the mounts.

One thing I need help on is how these Dick Cepek gas tank holders secure the tank to the bracket. I can't find a definative bracket picture to make them. A few fuzzy pics I've seen looks like a J hook that is bent and a wing nut. Anyone seen these before?




So the glovebox- to get it to go around the cage I had a few options. Leave it, and let it hit the cage. Suck. Cut the hinges and you pop it open, then slide it towards you- but that may chip the paint if your not careful. Tuffy makes a box replacement but it doesn't look original. So I went with the 4th option- make it hinge side to side vs up and down.
I used some 1/4" nylon bushings, collar screws and stainless rod. Initially I drilled a hole through the glovebox to use it as the pivot but wasn't happy with it- so I welded the collars to the box- and am currently waiting for a few more so I can capture both sides of the welded ones to eliminate it going up and down. I also cut a piece of plate, drilled a hole as close to the angle the rod was going to be, and made the mounting holes big where the original hinge bolted on the dash. that way I could control pitch/yaw/roll slightly on the door to make it align better. Its a little more work in progress but I'm happy with the results.





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