Hooniverse Weekend V.I.S.I.T. Edition – Gettin' the Led Out

No OJ jokes, please.
Drive around Colorado long enough, and you’ll eventually run into one of those old-timey towns whose main street has been preserved to look as it did in the 1800s. The words “historical” and “heritage” are thrown around with alarming frequency, mostly used to describe antiques stores, steakhouses, and art galleries, whose wooden storefronts and hand-painted signs are scientifically designed for maximum financial extraction. They’re the sort of places you thought didn’t exist outside of postcards or Norman Rockwell paintings. If these towns had mottos, they’d be “you betcha!” Leadville, CO, is one of these towns. Walking down its quaint, folksy main street, you half-expect a musical to break out, or a shootout.
Welcome to America.
Yet Leadville is a town that’s full of meth labs a little rougher around the edges; a town that holds onto its gritty mining heritage more successfully than, say, Manitou Springs or Georgetown. After all, the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum is down the street, next to a Safeway and a Denny’s. (No respectable “historical town” would have a Denny’s.) It’s also the last place you’d expect to see a bright purple De Tomaso Pantera.
"More out of place than…a 70s Italian supercar in a Colorado mining town"
Unfortunately, the lucky bastard of an owner pulled away with a wail before I could stalk it further.  But hey, here’s a Ford Bronco! Before SUVs ballooned to a size that necessitated rearview cameras, parking sensors, side mirrors the size of Jersey barriers, and a team of Sherpas to guide you into your Starbucks drive-thru, there was a hotly-contested market of small trucks. The Jeep CJ series certainly counted. As did the International Scout, which still thrives in abundant numbers out West. And the new-for-1966 Bronco, on its 92-inch wheelbase, In many ways it was the Mustang of off-roaders: it wasn’t as well-known as the former, but it sold well, it had a dizzying options list, and it was cheap as hell. But unlike the Mustang it didn’t share a platform with anything, much less the Falcon. No wimpy car-based unibodies here! Speaking of options, this one gets the 289 Windsor V8. Enterprising sportsmen could go for the 302 in later years, in order to compete with bigger and more powerful Chevy products. Like the one seen below: later Broncos would evolve into similarly-sized behemoths.

Variations on a theme.
But for now, we can look at this honest, salt-of-the-earth Bronco and appreciate it for fitting into an equally honest, salty town. No matter how damn cool that Pantera is.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here