The famed “Big Oly” Ford Bronco that Parnelli Jones and Bill Stroppe took to famous victories in off-road races on Baja California Peninsula is going back to Baja for the 2022 Mexican 1000. But rather than risk the historic vehicle that sold for $1.87 million a year ago at a Mecum Auction, it will participate in the Slow Baja Safari that coincides with the competitive event scheduled for April 29 to May 6.
The truck’s entry is being arranged in behalf of the vehicle’s owner by Meyers Manx LLC, which acquired the historic dune buggy producer from its founder, Bruce Meyers, in 2020.
“The Big Oly Bronco is one of the most iconic race vehicles ever built,” NORRA, the National OffRoad Racing Association said in announcing Big Oly’s participation. “Driven by the legendary racer Parnelli Jones, it brought attention to the burgeoning sport of off-road racing. The sight of the golden Bronco flying across the desert left an indelible mark on the racing landscape in the 1970s.”
Jones drove Big Oly to victory in the Mexican 1000 n 1971 — taking an hour off the record finishing time — and won the event again in 1972. And then added Baja 500 and Mint 400 trophies in 1973.
“Parnelli Jones raced everything from NASCAR to Trans Am and Pikes Peak in amazing machines, but Big Oly had such a place in his heart he kept the truck and left it in original condition for over 50 years,” the news release noted.
NORRA said Big Oly will be the first “Grand Car Marshal” of the Mexican 1000, calling it “a privilege for the race fans and fellow competitors to witness Big Oly back in the dirt.”