Let’s talk about the Rock Hunter Bronco and how this crazy build came about…
When I sold my house in 2013 and moved in with the Love of my Life, I had long been watching episodes of Top Truck Challenge, and I always wanted to be one of the few females that got to participate in it (obviously I didn’t get that opportunity). I also became very interested in the King of the Hammers, watching the variety of amazing rigs that were either garage/shop built, or professionally built, and the camaraderie between everyone that was involved. I’d sit cheering at the TV, and dreaming of being right in the thick of things! I would watch YouTube videos of the Rock Bouncer community, and get a rush of adrenaline! I saw huge horse power, massive tube beasts climbing up impossible hills, and women in the sport! Shannon Fox (may she RIP) was a huge influence on my dreams. Lastly, and more recently, I’ve been watching Mountain Havoc, and again, I watch with envy, dilated pupils, a racing heart, and love for the sport!
The idea of the build was rock bouncer, rock climber, sand rail, and ultra 4 vehicle combined into one. I wanted it to be low and wide, be able to go where I want to go, but have enough speed to keep up with the others.
I came up with the idea, and as I was describing the idea to Scott, I think he thought I was just “talking” and that this was going to fade away. HA HA HA!!! Scott laughed, thinking I was NUTS! He told me you can’t do all of that in one vehicle! I said, “Really? Let’s try!” At the very least, we were on our way to building something super unique and a nightmare in the Bronco purist’s mind!
No sooner did I mention this idea, then suddenly I had a Bronco in my possession. For those of you who remember, I had acquired Tom Hoy’s beaten and battered Bronco frame and tub. In it’s day, it was an amazing rig, but it just couldn’t be salvaged. There was not a straight part on it, and it was barely recognizable as a Bronco anymore. So, I found a local guy selling a tub that he just didn’t have time to finish. The hamsters in my brain started spinning the wheel at smoking speeds! By the next week, I had searched Craig’s List, and I found a pair of Rockwell axles for a decent price in Riley, OR. Now, if you don’t know where Riley, OR is, it’s somewhere near the middle of nowhere and BFE! Next thing I know, we’re on our way to Riley, OR in the middle of winter. It took us 6 hours in snow, ice, and boredom to get there, 2 hours in the freezing temps and a wind chill of -30 to get them dug out of the guy’s property, and the absolute WORST 6 hour drive back because we tried to use common sense and distribute the weight of the axles toward the front of the flatbed trailer for snow traction. (By the way, they had plowed the snow by the time we got back to the pass). For anyone who has ridden in a vehicle with too much tongue weight, you understand that it’s the bumpiest, most nauseating ride ever! Needless to say, we made it home, nerves shot, lots of giggles and delirium, and two axles later. “Let’s get Rockwells”, she said, “It’ll be fun”, she said. 😀
Next came the ORI’s. At the time, these were the newest and hottest things in shock technology, and dammit, I was going to have them! I did some shopping and got 4-16″ purple ORI’s from Wahoo Fab. I had them shipped to my work, and I was carrying one around like a newborn baby when they arrived!
We went to a swap meet in Puyallup, WA, and got more parts. I spoke to Jon and Rhonda Barricklow from JB Fabrication, and got one of the most beautiful shifter kits ever made!
I started joining the Bronco pages on Facebook and searching for deals. It’s extremely hard to find parts for an “unconventional” Bronco!!!
In 2013, our good friends Andrew and Kathren invited us to come to the “Unevent”. Huh? What the hell is an “unevent”??? He explained it was a camping/gathering of some of the most awesome Bronco owners EVER! This was a “no brainer”. If there were Broncos, I was going. So we went. This was one of the most welcoming, knowledgeable, and friendly groups on the planet! Granted, not everyone was enthused with my build, and lots of people found out that the crazy redhead lady was a “hugger”, but I walked around and introduced myself to anyone who looked my way. I hugged a thousand people, and I barged my way into the Bronco Community, and now they’re stuck with me (until they 86 me!). I think I cried when the week was over because I had such a great time and met such great people! We have gone to this event (now referred to as the Northwest Bronco Roundup) almost every year since, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world! Over the years, people have come to know the crazy redhead, Bronco obsessed Julie, and I have become part of a family. I truly love my Bronco brothers and sisters far and near. I have learned so much from them, and they span the entire world!
When we returned home after the our first “unevent”, we were inspired! There were no two Broncos alike, and mine certainly was like nothing anyone had seen before! So Scott and I started building, or in this case tearing down the iconic Hoy Bronco, and started this build from bare frame. We set a goal of 5 years, and as you all are aware, we’ve surpassed that goal and we continue to work toward the “finished” product. A Bronco is never finished, so I’ll be happy when I can finally float along side my Bronco brothers and sisters on the sand with a giant grin on my face!
As for the current state of the build, we have the following:
A Bronco frame (1972), a Bronco tub (1971), a 1995 Ford 460 EFI, a C-6 Transmission, a 205 Transfer Case, 1950 Timken (Rockwell) axles, ORI struts, 46×19.50×20 Mickey Thompson Baja Claw tires, One off Stazworks Double Bead Lock Wheels, JB Fabrication twin stick shifter, and a myriad of custom metal fabrication by Scott Amsbaugh “Master Fabricator”.
I love what this Bronco is becoming, and I want to thank you all for your support and help with the build.
Please check out the links below to see some of the best products we’ve used so far!