Though they were once fairly affordable, vintage Ford Bronco examples have massively spiked in value over the last decade or two. And while all classic Bronco specimens are now highly-valuable, highly-sought-after vehicles, there are a handful of seldom-seen variants that are even more coveted, such as the ultra-rare Bronco U13 Roadster — one of which will soon be heading to auction.
One of three versions of the Bronco originally offered upon its debut in ’65 — alongside the Wagon and Half-Cab models — the Bronco Roadster was designed as a more utilitarian, stripped-down off-roader that came straight from the factory without a roof or doors. As a result of poor sales numbers — at least compared to the other two versions of the 4×4 — Ford opted to pull the plug on the Roadster at the end of the 1968 model year. This ultimately resulted in the Roadster being by far the rarest original Bronco variant that year, plus the fact that most examples were used as workhorses, exceedingly few surviving specimens remain in circulation — making an already seldom-seen vehicle that much rarer.
Originally built on January 13, 1968, this particular U13 was sold new at Boyer Ford in Oak Harbor, Washington. Under the hood, the Bronco Roadster packs a 289ci V8 engine mated to a three-speed manual transmission with a floor shifter. Sporting a Raven Black livery over a Parchment white interior, this particular specimen also stands as one of only 212 examples sold in 1968, and, even more importantly, it now stands as one of only 26 known surviving Bronco Roadsters. More recently, this ’68 specimen was also treated to a comprehensive ground-up restoration under the direction of Andrew Norton of Baja Broncos Unlimited, a world-renowned Northern California-based Bill Stroppe and Baja Bronco authentication and restoration expert.
Winner of a prestigious Bill Stroppe Award at the 2016 Fabulous Fords Forever Car Show, this 1968 Ford Bronco U13 Roadster (VIN# U13NLC71655) will be going under the hammer at Mecum’s upcoming Monterey 2023 sale starting August 17, where it’s expected to fetch between $115,000 and $135,000.