Simply based on the popularity of the Ford Bronco, it is hard to imagine that it took the Blue Oval 26 years to decide to resurrect the nameplate. It is less surprising however that Ford took a significant amount of influence from the first-gen SUV when developing the 2021 model. First-gen Broncos have become some of the most valuable classic American vehicles on the road today, regularly trading for six-figures. Now though, a particular 1969 Ford Bronco may be poised to become the first seven-figure SUV ever sold at auction. And while that may seem outrageous, this isn’t just a typical 4×4. We are talking about Big Oly, undeniably the most famous first-gen Ford Bronco of all time.
The Big Oly Ford Bronco is not your typical street-going SUV. In fact, it isn’t really much of a first-gen Bronco anymore. That is of course because this SUV is a purpose built off-road racer. Bill Stroppe was behind the build of this truck, which features a tube-frame chassis, fiberglass bodywork, a 390 horsepower 351 cubic-inch V8, and an unmistakable spoiler-turned-roof. The suspension is crazy too, with a spool rear end, motorsports-grade shock absorbers, and disc brakes at all four corners. It’s a serious machine that was perfectly matched to the talents of none other than Parnelli Jones.
While the team’s debut running of the Mexican 1000 in 1970 ended with a broken rear axle, Big Oly wasn’t done yet. The team came back in 1971, where they captured the overall victory while breaking the course record by an hour and 18 minutes. In 1972, the two men and the Big Oly Ford Bronco won it all over again. Still not satisfied, the Olympia Beer sponsored SUV would go on to take the overall win at both the Mexican 500 and Mint 400 events in 1973. The SUV is an absolute legend among Ford Bronco and off-road racing enthusiasts for this very reason.
The one and only Big Oly Ford Bronco is slated to be offered for sale by Mecum Auctions during their Indy 2021 event from May 14-22. When you combine the fact that this is a first-gen Bronco, a motorsports legend, and the overall condition of the vehicle, there is no doubt that some heavy hitting collectors are going to be fighting for this thing. For that reason alone, it’s quite possible that this will become the first, if not the only, $1,000,000 SUV ever sold. Besides, who wouldn’t want a racer that’s designed to look like a freshly-poured pint? It’s just an awesome vehicle no matter how you shake it, and we can’t wait to see how this unfolds.