First things first. Even though this is a 1996 Ford Bronco, we know there will be readers diving into the comments with OJ Simpson jokes from his infamous 1994 police chase. So let’s just get it out of the way so we can focus on what really matters here. How much juice is loose from this Bronco after 25 years and 212,000 miles? There, we said it so let’s move on.
1996 was the last year for the big Bronco, and while it’s technically the Bronco’s fifth generation, all those but the first were tied directly to the full-size Ford F-Series trucks. As such, there’s a big frame underneath with a choice of big engines up front. In this case, that engine is Ford’s 5.8-liter pushrod V8 and according to the video from Late Model Restoration, it’s completely stock through and through.
It looks fantastic, but apparently it hasn’t been a garage queen. Over the course of 25 years it’s racked up 212,000 miles, though we’ll assume it’s been reasonably maintained during that time. The old-school V8 sends power through a four-speed automatic transmission, and since it has available four-wheel drive, a transfer case is part of the horsepower journey from engine to ground. According to the video, there’s an expected driveline loss of around 18 percent between the crankshaft and the wheels. The old slushbox and transfer case really zap the power.
In stock trim, the 5.8-liter Bronco was rated at 205 horsepower (153 kilowatts) and 328 pound-feet (445 Newton-meters) of torque. Yes, it sounds pretty soft by modern standards, especially when a new Bronco puts out nearly 100 more ponies from a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder. But hey, that’s a quarter-century of technological advancement for you. In context for its time, the V8 in the old rig was just fine.
But this isn’t 1996. This is 2021 and 212,000 miles isn’t anything to sneeze at. With a single pull on the chassis dyno, the classic SUV returned 165 hp (123 kW) and 260 lb-ft (353 Newton-meters) of torque. With an ever-so-slightly higher driveline loss of 19 percent, power at the wheels lines up with the original power ratings at the crankshaft. Not too shabby for a well-used off-roader from the 1990s. Not shabby at all.