Choosing between restoration and preservation can be difficult, especially if the project candidate is rock-solid and in sound mechanical health. That is the decision awaiting the new owner of this 1981 Ford Bronco Ranger XLT.
It is a dry-climate survivor that runs and drives well. Its primary needs are cosmetic, but they could be addressed when (or if) the buyer feels the time is appropriate.
The original owner ordered this Bronco in the combination of Raven Black and Wimbledon White. Both shades had served Ford well for decades, with the company retiring the former in 1984 and the latter in 1971. This Bronco carries the hallmarks of a vehicle that has suffered at the hands of harsh UV rays.
The paint is baked and is wearing through in some areas. Surface corrosion is appearing, but it is the dry type long associated with the region. There is no visible penetrating rust, and the underside seems rock-solid. The panels are straight, and the chrome looks acceptable for a driver-grade vehicle.
There are no glass problems, but the wheels are heavily discolored and would benefit from a refresh. This Ranger needs cosmetic TLC, but the winning bidder can tackle the work at their leisure while leaving the welder and grinder in the cupboard.
The seller confirms the Brtonco runs and drives well, and the transmission shifts smoothly. This gem is ready to hit the road with a new owner behind the wheel.
This 1981 Bronco Ranger XLT leaves me torn. It is undoubtedly a prime candidate for restoration, and returning it to its former glory may prove irresistible to some. However, there are good reasons to preserve it as a survivor.
The natural home of these vehicles is bashing through rugged terrain, taking mud and other obstacles in their stride. Tackling these areas will inevitably leave scratches and further potential damage, which could prove heartbreaking for an owner who recently completed a restoration.
Leaving the Bronco in its current state removes those issues from the equation, allowing for a more relaxed motoring experience. Do you agree, or would you give it a birthday?