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Old 08/23/11, 11:58 PM   #1
Broncitis
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Found a SECOND playmate for the Ambulance Bronco (see post 170, pg. 12)

Back in February when Jim Duff called my dad and offered to sell him the Ambulance Balloon Chaser Bronco I started doing some research online to send some pics so my dad could show my mom what he was buying.

As I searched I ran across the 1977 F-100 stepside that was also prepared by Stroppe & Recreactional Vans Inc. and used as a chase vehicle along side the Ambulance.

This vehicle was last owned by Pete Brown, an Early Bronco enthusiast who lives out in ID.

Of course I thought it was super cool, but I really was not looking for ANOTHER project since I have several still to finish now!

However, I did realize that if I let it slip away I would probably always regret it, and thought it would certainly make for a great pair of historic old Fords for my dad and I to show together. So I finally contacted Pete again to see if he still had it and we later worked out a deal and made arrangements to get it shipped to PA.

After a few weeks of waiting on a semi, I was about ready to give up and drive out over Labor Day to pick it up myself. Last Wednesday I tried one more broker who was suggested though another thread here on CB and he was able to have it picked up on Thursday and it arrived in PA on Saturday!

The truck is very much original from what I can tell. It does have a few items that are missing such as the brush guard for the push bumper and the original roll bar which is different that what is in it now. I will likely have to fabricate these based on photos and the style of the custom brush guard they made for the Ambulance.

I have several original magazine articles I am studying for photos and details relating to these vehicles and will be contacting Willie Stroppe soon with some questions since he was involved in the chase and the preparation of these vehicles. I spoke with him out at Fab Fords Forever when we picked up the Ambulance and he had some info and stories about it and gave me his card to contact him, so I have been making a list of what to ask about these two vehicles.

In the photos I have seen, I have seen this truck with slots, turbine and what appears could be a Centerline modular wheel. I have a set of 5 slot mags that just got polished (these trucks had the slots polished and the backs and inside the holes were painted black as they are on the Ambulance) and a set of turbine style wheels.

I also have two 10-15LT Formula Desert Dog tires and a lead on three more. These were the official tire of the chase and were on all the vehicle. Although, some used the PVC (pickup, van, camper) version. I do have a pic of the F-100 with the standard Desert Dogs though, so they will be correct. I'm not sure which wheels those will go on since those will be more of a show only combo due to the age of the tires. I'm not sure what I will run for street cruising? Maybe some BFG AT or the MT's like Bill Stroppe later put on the Ambulance in 1988.

The original 351M was swapped out by someone previous to Pete for a 1970 Lincoln 460 and is backed up by a C6. It looks pretty clean and is likely a fairly fresh rebuild. There is an aluminum Weiand Stealth intake and Holley 4160 750CFM carb. There is also a Mallory coil and Hooker Headers flowing straight to the functional stacks with no mufflers. Yes, it wakes up the neighbors! Sounds like it may have a bit of a cam in it as well. I really have no interest in swapping a 351M back in and kind of like the idea of the big block better anyway (I've never had one before).

The 9" rear ratio is a 2.73 open diff. I'm thinking I will pull that axle assembly and stick it on the shelf to keep the original as it is and then install another one with 3.50 or 3.73 gears, limited slip and rear disc brakes for a bit of a subtle performance upgrade.

I really know nothing about old Ford pickups, so this is pretty much all new to me and will be a bit of a learning curve to see what all it out there, who makes the best stuff for them, where to get it, etc. I have ordered a few catalogs already and have started to get a feel for what I will be needing as this project progresses.

Unlike the Ambulance which was stored indoors most of its life while owned by Stroppe and Duff which has made it a great Survivor, this one has serious paint issues (although virtually no rust of any real concern that I have seen so far) so it will be a full body off resto, but my intention is to restore it to the same level as it was originally. By this I mean it will not have a mirror finish paint job. The entire fleet of these 10 chase vehicles were done in 7 days as I recall, so they were not aiming for nor did they end up near perfect.

The last pic shows the rolled inner front fenders (taken from inside the wheel well) that Stroppe did much like on the Baja Broncos. Instead of a horizontal flange, it is more of a hemmed edge to add some clearance for larger/wider tires. Notice the original black body color on the rolled edge that did not get the orange paint after it was rolled. The orange paint color change was actually done surprisingly complete and clean elsewhere under the hood and inside the cab. It took me a bit to figure it out that it was not originally all orange.
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Last edited by Broncitis; 05/26/14 at 09:12 PM..

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Old 08/24/11, 12:04 AM   #2
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That is one awesome pair of Fords!

Is this the one that was on JBG's website?

'76 Bronco Explorer - Part of the family since 1993, mine since 2008.
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Old 08/24/11, 12:08 AM   #3
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Very nice, Drew! Glad to see that it finally made it home safely to PA.

Todd Z.

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Old 08/24/11, 12:09 AM   #4
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Thats pretty cool! Are all of the Ambulance / Chase Broncos accounted for? When I was in school a friend of mine had a Bronco that his dad picked up in New Mexico or maybe Arizona.e I'm about 75% sure it was painted like those were when he got it. It was rough looking and ended up painted black but I always wondered if it was one of the originals. Probably not but who knows.
I really like that Truck.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.
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Old 08/24/11, 12:19 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGbronc View Post
That is one awesome pair of Fords!

Is this the one that was on JBG's website?
Thanks!, we think so too! I'm really pretty excited about the F-100. I have wanted to do something different than a Bronco for some time, but was not sure what. I thought of doing a muscle car but to go rare or high end on those is crazy money. I wanted to stick to FoMoCo and am not really all that nuts over most Mustangs, so this seems like it may be perfect project to expand my automotive comfort zone just a bit .

Yes, it was posted there and also here on CB.

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Old 08/24/11, 12:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by casadejohnson View Post
Thats pretty cool! Are all of the Ambulance / Chase Broncos accounted for? When I was in school a friend of mine had a Bronco that his dad picked up in New Mexico or maybe Arizona.e I'm about 75% sure it was painted like those were when he got it. It was rough looking and ended up painted black but I always wondered if it was one of the originals. Probably not but who knows.
I really like that Truck.

I'd have to refresh my knowledge on this, but I recall seeing some pics of one that was supposed to have been in AZ or NM that looked a bit weathered.

Andrew Norton wrote a 5 page article in Bronco Driver about the Balloon Chase Broncos. I forget the issue number though. At the time, he had accounted for 5 of them, but only one was known to be one that actually was on the chase (the Ambulance). There were others that were produced after the event by RVI.

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Old 08/24/11, 02:50 AM   #7
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Congrats on the find, glad it found a good home and will be around for many years to come.

72 74 79 93 so far
2008 sorta just a week early
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2011 BYOB &Fall Cruise
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Old 08/24/11, 02:57 AM   #8
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Very nice addition to the stable Drew-
The body on the pickup looks great-I have a new respect for that after working on swiss cheese again last weekend!!!! Remember, if you decide to make the 460 more of a rumbler, let me know-Papaw still wants a bigblock build Oh yea, the garage is still cleanish to.......

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Old 08/24/11, 03:05 AM   #9
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Great history, and fine looking set of Rigs. Congrats to you sir.

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Old 08/24/11, 03:57 AM   #10
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VERY cool!

~v~ 302, C4, 4.11's, 35" Kevlar's, 3 1/2" WH Rockcrawler coils, 3 1/2" CAGE Leafs, 1" BL, Broncitis steering TRO, WH TB riser, Rear mini-spool, Front ARB, Duff's long tube headers, Tom's steering wheel, Logans winch bumper, Warn, Cougar XR7 efi swap complete . . .
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Old 08/24/11, 05:11 AM   #11
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Thats awesome. Looking forward to following the storys and build.
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Old 08/24/11, 05:15 AM   #12
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Drew THAT IS AWESOME! keep me in the loop if you're looking for anything on this one as well. CONGRATS!!

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Old 08/24/11, 05:58 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Broncitis View Post
I'd have to refresh my knowledge on this, but I recall seeing some pics of one that was supposed to have been in AZ or NM that looked a bit weathered.

Andrew Norton wrote a 5 page article in Bronco Driver about the Balloon Chase Broncos. I forget the issue number though. At the time, he had accounted for 5 of them, but only one was known to be one that actually was on the chase (the Ambulance). There were others that were produced after the event by RVI.
BD article is Issue 10. I dug mine out when you told me your dad was buying the ambulance so I could read up on it.

Very cool Drew, glad you finally got it to your place. Maybe you should increase the insurance coverage on the shop?
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Old 08/24/11, 06:11 AM   #14
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Drew, glad to see you got it home safe and sound. I'm sure you will have a blast working on that truck. As far as the comfort zone, don't sweat it. I've seen the work you and your dad do....I'm sure yall will do a good job on the truck as well.

JDJ
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Old 08/24/11, 06:14 AM   #15
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Drew, I am happy it made it out to you in one piece. It is great to see the two trucks together again and in the right hands. Keep us posted on the rebuild. Good Luck, Pete
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