A factory that takes vintage Ford Bronco bodies and rebuilds the engine and other features using more-reliable parts is located in the Route 66 town of Hamel, Illinois.
It’s Gateway Bronco, which rebuilds Broncos from 1966 to 1977. It’s located less than a mile west of old Route 66 in the village.
They’re not cheap — they range from $150,000 to $300,000. But they come with modern-day bells and whistles, along with a bumper-to-bumper warranty of up to seven years. The company also is officially licensed by Ford.
The Detroit Free Press, in an article reprinted by Autobody News, reported that company founder Seth Burgett’s idea came when he bought a 1973 Bronco in St. Louis and took it on a cross-country trip with his daughter. It was fun, but the Bronco kept breaking down and caused other headaches.
Burgett, an engineer and inventor, tried to find another company to do modern restorations on classic vehicles but was dissatisfied with the results and turnaround time. So he started his own company.
Buyers have submitted about 130 orders since he opened his business in 2016. He has delivered about 65 vehicles so far to clients in the U.S., Canada and Spain. Orders have come in from New York, Florida, Texas, Michigan, Arizona, Colorado and California. […]
“What we do is modernize the 1966 to 1977 Ford Broncos with a modern powertrain and bring everything up to modern standards for reliability and safety,” he said. “We installed a power-retractable step, so when you open the door the step drops down and you can climb in easier. There’s a backup camera; a 10-speed automatic instead of just a three-speed automatic; heated and cooled seats, and a Bluetooth sound system. We have power disc brakes and things to make it all safer, like collapsible steering columns, three-point seat belts, brakes that really do work.” […]
This collection of vintage Broncos is reengineered and redesigned to accommodate modern standards and expectations. So, for example, the old-fashioned manual window cranks are there for display only. Windows are electric. Yet the cars retain their original Vehicle Identification Numbers. Burgett has 40 or so patents pending or granted.
Here are two videos about how the old-new Broncos are built at the factory. You can more easily see where the money goes:
You can take a tour of the factory by filling out this online form here at the bottom of the page.
(Screen-capture image from a video of the Gateway Bronco factory in Hamel, Illinois)