The new 2021 Ford Bronco is already shaping up to take the off-road market by storm. Of course this is not only a result of the capabilities of the new SUV, but also from the reputation that the nameplate has garnered since it first popped on the scene in the 1960s. Out of all of the first-generation Broncos however, none were more important to building the credibility of the Ford Bronco than Big Oly. This off-road racer was built by Bill Stroppe and wheeled by Parnelli Jones, and is quite simply one of the most iconic American SUVs ever. Big Oly crossed the auction block at Mecum’s Indy 2021 auction this past weekend, where it sold for an incredible $1.87 million.
Big Oly Bronco Sells For Nearly $2 Million
Before the Indy 2021 auction even took place, automotive enthusiasts had high expectations for the Big Oly Ford Bronco sale. In fact, it was thought that the truck would become the first $1 million SUV ever sold at auction. Well that prediction was indeed correct, if not a bit understated. Then again, a vehicle with this sort of originality and racing pedigree is always something that will draw huge cash from collectors. Considering how hot the Ford Bronco is right now, it seems like this was the perfect time for the sale to happen.
Big Oly may look a bit like a first-gen Ford Bronco, but underneath the skin things are quite different. The off-roader rides on a purpose-built tube frame chassis, which is supported by a spool rear end, motorsports-grade shock absorbers, and disc brakes at all four corners. Under the hood sits a 351 cubic-inch Ford V8, which produces a healthy 390 horsepower. The most iconic feature of the SUV however has to be the giant spoiler, which does its best to roleplay as a roof panel. Combine all of that with the Olympia Beer livery found on the fiberglass bodywork, and the SUV screams with character.
Of course this SUV isn’t just a looker. The pair of Stroppe and Jones were quite successful in the truck, taking home overall victories at the Mexican 1000 in both 1971 and 1972. The custom Ford Bronco racer also managed to take a first place finish at both the Mexican 500 and Mint 400 events in 1973. Big Oly would remain in Jones’ collection for its entire life after its racing career, which only added to the provenance of the off-road SUV.
Big Oly is an icon of the off-road world, and we’re glad to see the truck get the respect that it deserves at auction. While the new owner surely had to spend a pretty penny to get the racer, we’d still call it a well-bought SUV. If circuit race cars are able to fetch millions of dollars, an off-roader with this sort of success deserves the same sort of money.