Explore The Ford Bronco Roadster [Irresistible Truck Design]

There’s something undeniably cool about the Ford Bronco U13 Roadster, or as some might call it, the “Bronco Roadster.” Its timeless design reminds us of an era of adventure.

Let’s go through the history of the iconic 1966 Ford Bronco U13 Roadster, exploring its unique features, restoration stories, and the lasting legacy of the Bronco Roadster.

Exploring The Ford Bronco Roadster

Key Takeaways

  • Explore the iconic 1966 Ford Bronco Roadster, a highly sought-after collectible with prices ranging from $8,500 to $1.87 million.
  • Restoration of U13 Roadsters can cost between $10K-$240K and enthusiasts are sourcing essential parts for successful restorations.
  • The new Ford Bronco is a modern revival that combines classic design elements with contemporary technology & performance features.

Uncovering the Ford Bronco U13 Roadster

The U13 Roadster is a rare variant of the 1966 Ford Bronco, produced between 1965 and 1968. Designed without doors and a roof, this off-road classic was manufactured in limited numbers, making it a highly sought-after collector’s item. Equipped with a Ford 289 cubic inch V8 engine, a 3-speed manual transmission, and a performance-oriented exhaust system, the U13 Roadster was a versatile and capable machine.

Historically, it was often used as a farm accessory truck or hunting rig, but some restored models look factory fresh. The rarity of the U13 Roadster makes it a prized possession for Bronco owners and those looking to stand out from the crowd.

Uncovering the Ford Bronco U13 Roadster

Ford Bronco Roadster Value

Restored Bronco Roadsters fetch high prices at auctions, with collectors paying top dollar. The valuation of a Bronco Roadster depends on factors such as:

  • condition
  • rarity
  • historical significance
  • market demand
  • modifications or upgrades

From 1987 to 1991, the average value of a Bronco Roadster ranged between $8,500 and $10,400. However, in recent years, the market value has seen a steady increase, with some first-generation Broncos fetching prices as high as $70,000 for those in original condition and some selling for as high as $400,000 that are almost like driving a brand new car. The highest price a Bronco has achieved at an auction is a staggering $1.87 million.

How many Bronco Roadsters were made?

Approximately 5,000 Bronco Roadsters were manufactured, with only around 200 boasting the distinctive “eyebrow” grille design. This unique feature, characterized by small rounded shelves above each grille opening, makes them a rare find since they left the assembly line.

The total production of first-generation Broncos, spanning from 1965 to 1977, was 225,585 units, with some models featuring wheel covers.

Is the Roadster a 4-wheel drive?

The Roadster came standard with a 4-wheel drive configuration catering to various driving preferences and terrains. The 4-wheel drive meant the Bronco provided superior off-road performance and traction, making it more suitable for challenging terrain.

Unique Features of the U13 Bronco Roadster

The Unique Features of the U13 Roadster

The U13 Roadster had distinct exterior and interior design elements that set it apart from other first-generation Broncos. Its exterior features included a unique grille and a fold-down windshield. The interior was minimalistic, with vinyl seats and a simple dashboard.

Restoration Stories: Bringing the U13 Roadster Back to Life

Enthusiasts have lovingly restored U13 Roadsters, preserving their history and showcasing their attention to detail. The restoration process can be a labor of love, requiring:

  • careful sourcing of original parts
  • tackling rust and corrosion
  • resolving mechanical issues
  • ensuring accurate alignment and fitment during the restoration process.

The cost of restoring a U13 Roadster can range from approximately $10,000 to $240,000 (big difference in price there, we know, but it’s true!), depending on the extent of the restoration and customization. To ensure a successful restoration, it’s advisable to consult experts or dedicated forums for guidance on finding tools and Early Bronco parts.

Restoration Stories: Bringing the U13 Roadster Back to Life

Suspension Upgrades in Early Broncos

Early Broncos, including the Roadster, can be upgraded with modern suspension systems for improved performance.

Suspension upgrades yield a multitude of benefits including elevated load capacity, enhanced lift, superior steering performance, a smoother ride, optimized vehicle control, expanded design flexibility, and a general enhancement in performance and handling. A popular choice for Early Broncos includes our TracTive suspension systems, and our kit consists of all wiring, a controller, a patented DDA valve, and a user-friendly touchscreen.

Comparing First Generation Broncos

Comparing the different first-generation Broncos reveals the unique characteristics of the Roadster, including its convertible-like design. While the first-generation Ford Broncos produced from 1966 to 1977 shared many features, the U13 Roadster stood out with its open-top configuration and doorless design, as opposed to the other models with fixed roofs.

Is the Bronco Roadster a convertible?

The Bronco Roadster featured:

  • The standard Bronco Roadster is an all-purpose vehicle without a roof or doors.
  • An optional removable top was available, providing a convertible-like experience
  • Interior latches on the windshield header bar to release the top

Although the original Roadster was an open-top, doorless model with no roof, all Ford Bronco Roadsters had the option of steel doors with or without glass and frame and a vinyl top with vinyl doors was also available.

The Legacy of the Bronco Roadster

The Bronco Roadster continues to embody Ford’s off-road legacy and remains a coveted item among collectors. Its design and performance contributed to shaping Ford’s off-road heritage and laid the groundwork for future generations of the Bronco. The rarity of the U13 Roadster, with only a limited number remaining, has increased its desirability among collectors.

The U13 Roadster’s influence can also be seen in contemporary off-road vehicle design, inspiring rugged and capable design cues in vehicles like the 2021 Ford Bronco. Its off-road capabilities and iconic design have been admired by generations of fans, thereby influencing the design of other off-road vehicles.

1966 Ford Bronco Roadster
Courtesy of Ford Archives

Advice for Prospective Buyers of the Ford Bronco U13 Roadster from Kincer Chassis

We understand the nuances and intricacies of owning Classic Ford Broncos and the U13 Bronco Roadster. Here’s our expert advice for those considering the purchase of this iconic vehicle:

  1. Thorough Historical Research: It’s essential to understand the unique history of the U13 Roadster. We recommend verifying the vehicle’s authenticity and production specifics. A detailed history check can reveal important aspects about the vehicle’s past, including any significant restoration work it may have undergone.
  2. Assessing Rarity and Value: You have to recognize that the U13 Roadster’s rarity significantly influences its value. We advise buyers to be aware of the investment required, taking into account not only the purchase price of the Bronco but also the potential costs of upkeep and restoration.
  3. Comprehensive Vehicle Inspection: We particularly focus on areas prone to rust and wear when we do Bronco inspections. If you’re not well-versed in classic car mechanics, consider having a professional, preferably with Bronco expertise, inspect the vehicle.
  4. Understanding Modifications: We appreciate well-done modifications that enhance a Bronco’s performance and aesthetics. However, it’s important to understand how these modifications impact the vehicle’s originality and value.
  5. Budgeting for Restoration: If the Roadster requires restoration, it’s crucial to budget for this. We advise getting detailed estimates for any required work. As experts, we can provide insights into what restoration might entail, both in terms of cost and the time commitment required.
  6. Leveraging Enthusiast Communities: Engaging with Bronco communities can provide invaluable advice, especially regarding maintenance and parts sourcing. We often see the benefits of these communities in helping owners connect with others who share their passion and can offer practical advice.
  7. Valuing for Enjoyment Over Investment: While a U13 Roadster can be a good investment, we advise purchasing one primarily for enjoyment. The classic car market can be unpredictable, with lots of ups and downs. The true value of a Bronco Roadster lies in the joy of owning and driving a piece of automotive history and enjoying all those thumbs up and stares you’ll get at red lights and gas stations.
  8. Test Drive Experience: We recommend test-driving the Roadster to understand its condition and performance. This step is crucial in assessing whether the vehicle meets your expectations in terms of handling and driving experience.
  9. Setting Realistic Expectations: As Bronco enthusiasts and experts, we understand the challenges and rewards of owning a classic vehicle. s important to be prepared for the demands of maintaining and enjoying a vintage Bronco – but trust us, it’s worth it.

By following this advice you can make a well-informed decision that aligns with your passion for classic Broncos and ensures a rewarding ownership experience. Now get out there and have some fun!

Modern Revival: The New Bronco Inspired by the Past

Drawing inspiration from its predecessors, including the U13 Roadster, the new Ford Bronco seamlessly blends classic design elements with contemporary technology. The new Bronco features an Oxford White-painted roof, grille, and signature Oxford White accents, boasting a boxy and muscular shape that makes a bold visual statement.

Incorporating modern technology, the new Ford Bronco is equipped with:

  • Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ technology, including Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go and Lane-Centering
  • Evasive Steering Assist
  • SYNC 4 connected vehicle technology
  • Standard Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ smartphone integration

The new Bronco pays homage to the iconic U13 Roadster and the early Bronco while offering a range of modern performance features for today’s off-road enthusiasts.


The Ford Bronco U13 Roadster holds a special place in the hearts of Bronco lovers and those who appreciate classic car design. Its distinctive design, rarity, and unique features make it a true icon of Ford’s off-road heritage. As we’ve explored the U13 Roadster’s history, unique features, restoration stories, and influence on modern off-road vehicles, it’s clear that this nostalgic ride through history is a testament to the enduring appeal of the Ford Bronco and how the Roadster stands out against the halfcab Bronco and the Bronco wagon.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many Bronco Roadsters were made?

An estimated 5,000 Bronco Roadsters were built between 1965 and 1968, a very low number compared to total Bronco production.

Which Bronco is the convertible?

Every early version of the Ford Bronco, produced between 1966 and 1977, featured detachable tops, making them essentially convertible models of the Ford Bronco.

What is the rarest Bronco?

The Ford Bronco U13 Roadster is the rarest Bronco, with only 212 sold in total in its 1968 model year. Now a highly collectible vehicle, they are among the rarest of the world of early Broncos.

What is a U13 Ford Bronco?

The Ford Bronco U13 Roadster was produced from 1965 to 1968. Just 212 were built in 1968, making it a highly sought-after model. It had an internal designation of “U13,” giving it the sound of a formidable attack submarine. With an estimated 5,000 roadsters produced before being retired in 1968, the U13 is a rare classic.

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