1966 Ford Bronco 1

Classic Ford Bronco Versus S&P: Can This 4×4 Out Climb The Markets?

  • A FordPartsOnSale.com study examines how the classic Ford Bronco measures against the S&P.
  • The original MSRP of Broncos from 1966 to 1976 were examined along with recent auction data. 
  • While a classic Ford Bronco might be fun to take to a car show, it may not be the best investment.

The rumor mills are on fire right now – with the real deal, no foolin’ Ford is making a modern version of the Bronco next year – providing the kindling. Any why not? From Ford’s perspective, it seems like a lead pipe cinch. SUVs in any shape or size are the hot commodity right now. Add to that the public’s appetite for nostalgia, and remaking the Bronco seems like a license to print money for FoMoCo. But would it be a good investment for you? And in particular, would a classic Ford Bronco be a good investment in the long run?

Setting The Stage

Here’s the deal. Every so often, some bright young sparks with access to past financial data do an investment comparison on the “What would make you more money?” question. It always goes like this: If you were to invest $1,000 in sugar beets or gold in 1944, which would make more money by today? Take out “sugar beets or gold” and replace it with “Apple stock or gold” or “Jackson Pollock paintings or gold” or “classic cars or the stock market.” The car end of this equation comes up every so often and we’ve covered it more than a few times here at Automoblog.

It turns out, purely coincidentally, that someone decided to examine the investment return of the original Ford Bronco. This, near as I can tell, has absolutely nothing to do with the Bronco’s return to the market. Regardless, the team at FordPartsOnSale.com (guess what business they’re in, go ahead, guess) recently crunched the numbers on just how much you would have made or lost if you bought a classic Ford Bronco new versus investing that money in the Standard & Poor’s stock index.

1966 Ford Bronco
1966 Ford Bronco. Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Related: Porsche versus the S&P: Can this classic sports car top the stock market?

Going For Broke

Yes, there were the interim Broncos. You know, the ones painted white and driven by former football stars. We, and FordPartsOnSale.com aren’t talking about those. We’re talking about the original, smaller Broncos like the ones Parnelli Jones raced in the Baja 1000. This happy coincidence of timing might actually be practical too. Think about it. When the new Bronco comes out, what do you think is going to happen to the value of the older versions? Especially if the new Bronco is more retro looking?

The originals that were made from 1966 to 1977 should (emphasis on should) see a spike in value.

FordPartsOnSale.com looked at the original MSRP and current value (based on Barrett-Jackson auction sales from January) of four Ford Broncos from the first and second generations. They tallied up like this: The highest sale price was for a 1973 model at $60,500. The lowest auction sale of the four was for a 1967 model that went for $31,900. The average S&P return bought during the same time frame was calculated to be around $225,000.

1974 Ford Bronco
1974 Ford Bronco. Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Related: Stock market or cars? Where to invest and what does the data say?

Stock Market Wins

Take the original MSRP of the 1967 Bronco ($2,480) and instead of buying it new in 1967, you would have invested that amount into the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. You would have nearly $185,000 today. So in other words, “investing” in a classic Ford Bronco is not as profitable as putting your money into the stock market.

“We’ve heard rumblings from Bronco fans about how re-sale on classics is through the roof and climbing higher,” said Don Heelon, Parts Manager at FordPartsOnSale.com. “It’s true, there was a Bronco that sold recently for upwards of $100,000.”

Which is pretty durn stupefying. $100K?! Dude, that’s used Ferrari money.

“But as big as that number is, it’s still not better than stocks,” Heelon concluded, referring to the recent ballooning auction prices. “Everyone knows that playing the stock market has its ups and downs. Turns out, investing in classic cars is not always predictable either, but it is way more fun than stocks.”

Classic Ford Bronco Infographic

And you know, we here at 1 Automoblog Towers in beautiful downtown Detroit are not going to argue with that sentiment one little bit. Here’s a handy chart that FordPartsOnSale.com cooked up to show you how to invest your money.

Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle formatFollow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz

ford bronco investment