Auction Block: 1969 Ford Bronco ‘Big Oly’

Over the years, there has been no shortage of cars that have changed the history of motorsport because of their breathtaking design or innovative engineering. Far less common, however, are those that manage to make their mark, survive the effort, and live to tell the tale.

This 1969 Ford Bronco is one such car, and it’s one of the most well-known examples in the world. Dubbed ‘Big Oly’ in reference to its Olympia Brewing Company sponsorship, it was campaigned by Parnelli Jones and Bill Stroppe to multiple wins, including the 1971 Baja 1000, 1972 Baja 1000, as well as the 1973 Baja 500 and the 1973 Mint 400. And the best part is — it was based on a dare, with Stroppe insisting that Jones didn’t have the mettle for off-road racing. Nevertheless, when the pair decided to go for it, they resolved to do it right. As such, they took a stock 1969 Bronco and gave it a tubular chromoly space frame and some lightweight fiberglass bodywork — a combination that’s allowed it to weigh just 2,620lbs. Powered by a 390hp 351 Windsor V8 under the hood and riding on some extreme long-travel suspension, this is one old-school off-roader that holds up well even today. It heads to auction in May.

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