Before O.J., the most popular Ford Bronco was Parnelli Jones’ Baja one thousand winner. The truck was barely a Bronco, completely rebuilt with technologies never right before been observed on an off-road racer. Yet, it introduced Jones and Ford renown for profitable the demanding desert race twice consecutively. Now, this piece of motorsports history can be yours, because it truly is headed to auction this spring.
The 1969 Ford Bronco was nicknamed Large Oly many thanks to a sponsorship by Olympia Beer (which, regrettably, was just discontinued before this calendar year following 125 years) that also gave it legendary gold and white livery. The job reportedly begun when co-driver and race truck builder Monthly bill Stroppe, who experienced been unsuccessful in recruiting six-time Indy five hundred winner Jones as his driver, utilised a bit of psychology on the racing legend. As the story goes, Stroppe declared loudly between a group of mates at a 1967 Christmas occasion that he assumed “Jones was not male sufficient for off-road racing.”
The following calendar year, the two were driving the wheel of a generally stock Bronco at what was then named the NORRA Mexican one thousand (afterwards renamed the Baja one thousand). Jones virtually drove its wheels off, and the duo made the decision to make a specialised rig to earn the race.
Taking a webpage from the world of open-wheel racers, the pair crafted Large Oly close to a chrome-moly room body. The system was designed of aluminum and fiberglass, and the whole body weight rang in at a feathery two,620 kilos. It was run by a 351 Ford Windsor V8 fantastic for 390 horsepower and boasted a twin-I-beam entrance suspension with a trailing arm style that permitted for additional natural deflection for the entrance wheels, although the rear utilised a 4-website link rear style with transverse Panhard rods and thoroughly floating rear axle. As a clever workaround of race policies, the roof doubled as a giant wing.
Immediately after logging a DNF due to a Jones-induced damaged axle in 1970, Large Oly went on to earn both of those 1971 and 1972 runnings of the Baja one thousand. For the latter, there is a story about jogging out of gas 14 miles from the complete line and how a serendipitous experience with a tequila bottle saved he working day. The following calendar year, Jones and Stroppe received the 1973 Baja five hundred and Mint four hundred with Large Oly as well, cementing the truck in off-road racing history.
The Bronco will cross the auction block throughout Mecum’s Indianapolis auction that takes spot May well 14-22. It is a exceptional possibility to individual one particular of history’s most popular American race vehicles. And with the new common-motivated Ford Bronco just hitting the sector, if we ran Ford we might be earning a bid as well.