The First Bronco

The First Bronco
The First Bronco.

The First Bronco was built as a teal green, 6-cylinder half-cab at the Ford Michigan pilot production plant in 1966. This truck would later receive a V8 transplant and red paint scheme while passing through the hands of Carroll Shelby. The Bronco was under Shelby’s ownership as part of Hi-Performance Motors and the Christmas Mountains Land & Cattle Co. in Texas. The timeline below provides insight into this truck’s unique and historic life.


August 1966: The First Bronco Pilot production begins on the Prototype Bronco at the Michigan pre-production plant in Allen Park. The ‘S’ in the VIN stands for this facility. All assembly jigs and fixtures were tested here prior to full production at the Ford Michigan Truck Plant.

July 1967: Shelby American truck driver Bob Parker delivers the Prototype Bronco from Dearborn, Mich. to the Shelby American Los Angeles facility. While at the facility, the 1966 Bronco receives fresh paint with a red and white color scheme and a 289 V8. Following a time registered in California by Hi-Performance Motors, the truck makes its way to Christmas Mountains Land & Cattle Co.’s ranch near Terlingua, Texas.


November 1978: Harold Wynn, a ranch hand known for frequently servicing the historic truck, negotiates its sale to local Ford dealership owner Vincent ‘Vinnie’ Yakubanski for $100 minus tires and wheels. The back of the original check Vinnie used is endorsed by Carroll Shelby’s business partner in the ranch, Dave Witts. Vinnie repaints the Prototype Bronco two-tone blue and grey, and it becomes the Yakubanski family vehicle. Vinnie and family create fond memories of frequent trips to the mountains in Wyoming, cooking hot dogs wrapped in foil on the intake during the drive.


October 2016: Gateway Bronco takes over the stewardship of this unique and historic vehicle.