The Bronco is so cool we had to put it on our list of cool old Ford trucks twice. These years fall into the first generation of Broncos, which were fairly small but oh so cool. The Baja was a special edition that was created by off-road racing legend Bill Stroppe and the Ford design team.
This Bronco came with a part-time four-wheel drive system and a V-8 under the hood. You could choose from a 5.8L 351M and the 6.6L 400. A C6 automatic transmission came standard or you could pick the optional 4-speed manual. This is the last generation of the Bronco to have a solid front axle, making it great for off-roading.
Beyond having Chrysler underpinnings that will be serviced by Volkswagen certified mechanics, you get a rebadge that is even worse than the original. The nicest thing that can be said about the Town & Country is that it offers Stow ‘n Go seating and great seating versatility. VW somehow managed to keep the system, but eliminate the versatility.
A big block has higher weight and density in the block, as well as larger valve bores, a longer stroke, and a generally larger exterior size. A big block can have the same displacement as a small block, but only the most extreme small blocks encroach on this territory.
Ford’s Special Vehicles Team (SVT) went to work on the 5.8-liter small block V-8 and managed to squeeze 240 horsepower out of it. A lowered suspension, new shocks, anti-roll bars and 17-inch tires put that power to the road and made the Lighting a great handling truck in addition to being a speed demon. The Lightning cranked up to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds and blazed through the quarter mile in 15.6 seconds. The biggest complaint about the Lightning was that it gulped down gasoline.
Right in line with body armor are more Jeep mods to make sure that the underside is protected. All it takes is one hard drop at the wrong time to snap off an essential part of your vehicle. Skid plates run from simple front and rear protection up to complete chassis coverings. The gas tank and oil pan, as well as the differential and transfer case, are all rather vulnerable spots on the underside. They may be able to take a little abuse but how much are you willing to risk?
It’s not that we’re going in cost order here, the LS9 crate engine ranks near the top because of its insane rarity. According to GM they aren’t building any new ones, they’re just selling the leftovers from the 2009-2013 Corvette ZR1. You know, the first Corvette to ever exceed 200 miles per hour. The one that lapped the Nurburgring four seconds faster than a Nissan GT-R way back in 2009. Nevermind that this happened nearly a decade ago the 6.2-liter LS9 is still insane today.
This isn’t the 350 that your neighbor pulled out of a C10 truck and slapped a hot cam into. No, this is a 110-octane-only race crate engine built exclusively to win races at the local 1320. GM advises that the LSX454R comes with no warranty and is “not for road use”.
At 9.37 liters, the ZZ572 is the mac daddy of all big block engines. It’s nearly a 1-liter EcoBoost larger than any engine ever fitted to a production vehicle (the 8.4-liter V10 in the dearly departed Dodge Viper). Naturally, that means it’s got loads of power 727 horsepower and 680 torques but those aren’t the most impressive specs.
With the Town & Country, Chrysler did not go far enough to eliminate the noise and ride quality issues found in the Grand Caravan. To further exacerbate these issues, the Town & Country is a fairly expensive used minivan. The most recent versions of the Town & Country are powered by the same 3.6L V6 that you will find in the Grand Caravan. The engine offers the same 283 ponies and 260 lb-ft of torque. Chrysler didn’t even bother to tweak the fuel economy.
On paper, the Toyota Sienna seems to offer everything. It is roomy and has plenty of cargo space. Unfortunately, what looks good on paper isn’t always good in real life.
This is why you should be equipped with recovery gear. Tow and/or ratchet straps can come in handy in countless ways and you should always have a full size spare. These also stow away easily so they don’t take up much space or make a mess of your interior. When it comes to changing that spare, you may also have to look at a jack that can overcome your increased ride height.
This is one of the best old Ford trucks as far as we are concerned, but they can be hard to come by. Restored versions tend to be pricey but it’s a great choice if you can get ahold of one.