Classic Ford Convertible Bronco (Hard Tops vs. Soft Tops)

A Vintage Ford Convertible Bronco is one of the most iconic vehicles created by Ford. From their sleek exterior to their durable build, these classic Broncos are a true masterpiece. 

Built between the years 1966-1977, classic Broncos have won over the hearts of many classic car collectors, celebrities, and off-roaders over the years.

In this blog post, we’ll address some of the frequently asked questions about Classic Ford Convertible Broncos.

Classic Ford Convertible Bronco Hard Top Vs Soft Top

Photo Credit : Vintage Broncos

Do Classic Ford Broncos have convertible tops?

Yes. All Classic Broncos built from 1966-1977 came with either a removable hard top or no top at all with an optional vinyl convertible top.

The 1966 Lineup: Different Tops for Different Tastes 

1966 was a defining year for the Bronco, introducing models that catered to varied preferences. The Sports Utility Bronco, with its lightweight 70 lb removable short steel roof, gave drivers a taste of freedom.

 On the other hand, the Wagon, with its full-length steel top, offered a more traditional SUV feel, yet its top could be unbolted for those open-air drives.

1966 Ford Bronco Roadster Convertible Bronco with Vinyl Top Option

The Iconic 1966 Bronco Roadster Convertible Bronco: 

While the Sports Utility and Wagon had their unique features, the 1966 Bronco Roadster stood out. 

Designed as an all-purpose vehicle without a roof or doors, it resonated with the free-spirited. Yet, Ford ensured customization with optional steel doors and a foldable windshield for a raw adventure feel. 

You could also order your Classic Ford Bronco Roadster with a full-length, folding vinyl convertible top and vinyl doors with plastic windows.

Durability of the Bronco Soft Convertible Top

With proper care, a Bronco soft top can last for years, offering a blend of functionality and aesthetic appeal and most importantly, easy access to that top-down feeling that you’ll love!

But how long will a Bronco soft top last? The answer to that question depends on a few factors, such as how well it’s cared for, how much it’s exposed to the elements, and the quality of the materials used. 

Generally, a well-maintained soft top can last for several years before it needs to be replaced. If you want to extend its life, keep it clean and dry, store it in a cool, dry place when not in use, and follow any manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance.

1966 Classic Ford Convertible Bronco with optional vinyl convertible top

Did Ford make a hard-top Vintage Bronco?

Yes. From 1966-1977 the Ford Bronco came with a hard-top version. In earlier models, the Sports Utility version of the Bronco came with a 70lb removable half cab cover while the wagon came with a steel top that covered the length of the Bronco. Both metal Bronco tops were bolt-on and could be removed. 

There are after-market tops now if you need to replace your Bronco top. Check out this Complete Bronco Hardtop Kit for 1966-77 Ford Broncos from Dennis Carpenter which includes:

  • Hardtop Roof Assembly – with Drip Rails and 4 Inner Bows Pre-Installed
  • Left Window Side Panel
  • Right Window Side Panel
  • Side Panel Stakes and Supports
  • Liftgate w/Hinges

How much did the Early Bronco top weigh?

The weight of the early Ford Bronco tops varied depending on the specific model and materials. For the first-generation Broncos (1966-1977) with steel tops:

  • The steel half-cab (often referred to as the “pickup” or “sport utility” top) for the Bronco weighed around 70 lbs.
  • The full-length steel top for the wagon version was considerably heavier, we’ve had people say theirs weighed in the range of 170-200 lbs, but those exact numbers can vary.

When removing and reinstalling these original Bronco tops you’ve got to be careful, and have the help of another person, given their weight and bulkiness. 

Over time, aftermarket fiberglass tops also became available, which were generally lighter than their steel counterparts, but the exact weight would depend on the manufacturer and design.

Vintage Ford Bronco with a removable soft top

Did the hard tops rust?

Yes, the early Ford Bronco’s hard tops were susceptible to rust, especially if they were exposed to moisture and not properly maintained. 

Rust issues were common in vehicles produced in the 1960s and 1970s due to the type of steel used and the protective coatings available at the time.

Over the years, the hard tops, especially around the rain gutters, drip rails, interior shelf area just inside the drip rails, rear corners, and bottom edges, could develop rust if water and moisture were trapped.
Additionally, if the seal between the top and body was compromised, it could lead to moisture intrusion and rusting. Rust is no fun! Check out our list of 10 things to look for when buying a vintage Bronco.

Many Bronco restorers often had to address rust issues when restoring or maintaining their vintage Broncos. Modern restoration techniques and products can help mitigate and repair rust damage, making your labor of love last a lot longer!

Is the hard-top Bronco quieter than the soft top? 

The answer is yes, but it’s not a huge difference since Broncos are known for being a bit noisy no matter what. That said, a hard top will provide more insulation from sound and heat, making it a better choice if noise and temperature control are a concern.

FAQs

What Year Broncos have a Removable Top?

All early model Ford Broncos, from their introduction in 1966 until 1977, came with removable tops and could be considered convertible Ford Broncos. It was one of the unique selling points for the vehicle, allowing for an open-air experience. 

However, starting with the introduction of the larger Bronco in 1978, the design was changed, and the top became integrated with the body, making it non-removable.

When Ford reintroduced the Bronco in 2020 for the 2021 model year, they returned to the removable top design, offering both two-door and four-door models with tops that can be taken off for that classic open-air feel.

Did the Early Bronco come with a fiberglass top?

No. The Early Ford Bronco did not come with a factory fiberglass top.

Ford began offering factory fiberglass tops for the Bronco starting with the larger, second-generation Bronco in 1978. 

Before this, the first-generation Broncos (1966-1977) came with steel tops. The switch to fiberglass for the second generation allowed for a reduction in weight and eliminated issues of rust that were common with the earlier steel tops. However, while fiberglass didn’t rust, it had its own set of maintenance concerns, including the potential for fading, cracking, or leaking if not properly cared for.

Aftermarket fiberglass tops were available for the Classic Broncos but they often had the same problems as the later options from Ford.

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