With Ford unveiling its modern Bronco, an original exudes loads of street cred, especially if it’s been fitted with a V8 like the one on the latest episode of “Jay Leno’s Garage.”
This 1968 Ford Bronco is part of Leno’s own collection. The funny man was gifted the SUV on the eve of his last taping of the “Tonight Show” back in 2014 from fellow television host Craig Ferguson. Ferguson previously owned the Bronco and drove it quite a bit in its original condition.
After it sat at the back of Leno’s famous garage in Burbank, California, for almost five years, Leno finally got around to restoring it. Oh, it also received an engine swap from the 760-horsepower Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 as part of the restoration.
First shown at the 2019 SEMA show in Las Vegas, the restored Bronco was a collaborative effort split between Ford, Dennis Carpenter Ford Restorations, LGE-CTS Motorsports, and noted Bronco licensee Kincer Chassis. LGE-CTS Motorsports handled most of the restoration, including reviving the body with new sheet metal, custom body mods, paint, and final assembly.
The restoration work started with Kincer Chassis rebuilding the chassis and installing the Shelby GT500’s 5.2-liter supercharged V8, which in this application is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission and a heavy-duty four-wheel-drive system. The V8 was also enhanced with numerous custom items including its airbox, radiator and supercharger coolers, and exhaust system. You’ll also notice the supercharger housing now sports Ford’s bucking bronco logo instead of Shelby’s cobra snake.
For the chassis, there are Kincer Chassis Adventure Series coil-overs, Fox 2.0 factory race series shocks, Wilwood disc brakes, Carolina Driveline driveshafts, and Dutchman Motorsports axle shafts. The wheels are 18-inch steel pieces from Detroit Steel Wheels, wrapped in off-road tires from BFGoodrich.
For the parts you can see, the team decided to keep things looking original, mostly. The biggest tweak to the exterior is the 3D-printed grille insert up front, while inside you’ll find Dakota Digital gauges, delicious Eagle Ottawa genuine leather trim, and a Sony audio system.
“The Bronco was bought to use on the farm or to take your date to the prom and was comfortable in any of these environments,” Leno said at last year’s reveal. “The idea of having a classic Bronco upgraded with modern handling, performance and braking really makes it the best of both worlds.”
Given his praise of the Bronco, don’t be surprised if Ford’s modern Bronco ends up Leno’s famous garage in the not too distant future.
This article was originally published by Motor Authority, an editorial partner of ClassicCars.com.