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Automotive Foster Child: The Fate of a Texas Bronco

Mark Stevenson's Former 1995 Ford Bronco, Image: © 2011 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

It was 2011. I’d just lost my job working in the lower 48 while on a TN visa. Uncle Sam has some strict rules when it comes to trying to find another job when you’ve lost your sponsored “NAFTA” ride, so I needed to get out of Texas in a hurry and back to my homeland with all my possessions.

There was just one big problem: I had too many vehicles, and needed to decide which part of my motorized fleet to cull before the journey.

As many of you already know, I owned a ’95 Ford Bronco for a brief glimmer of time while I lived in Texas. It was both the best and worst vehicle purchase of my life. The body was straight as an arrow, and its paint free from the corrosion that ails many vehicles of similar vintage north of the Mason-Dixon line. But it was also a mechanical basketcase. A trip to a local Ford-specific shop revealed a fault list printed out on a full ream of paper.

Still, I loved that truck, even if our encounter was ever-so brief.

Fast forward to November 2011. Sitting in my garage was the above Bronco on one side and two motorcycles — a 2009 Yamaha R6 Raven and 2003 Buell XB9S Lightning — on the other. I could either sell the motorcycles and tow the Bronco behind a moving truck, or sell the Bronco and load up the motorcycles on a trailer behind the moving truck. However, one thing was certain: I couldn’t take all the vehicles. And there was one very important (to me) reason to pick the motorcycles over the Bronco.

Sentimental Value
Before my move to Texas, a co-worker of mine found himself separated and without a place to live. This particular co-worker got me into motorcycles just months earlier. He was there when I bought my R6, the very first vehicle I ever bought new, and always egged me on to go for a ride. The Buell XB9S in my possession was his first motorcycle.

My friend and I moved house; he met a new girl. By this time, he’d moved up to a Buell 1125R purchased during the firesale following the brand’s discontinuation. The XB9S had earlier been given to his ex-wife. Later, my friend would move in with another buddy of his, then shortly thereafter sell his 1125R to buy an engagement ring for his new love.

Within days of the engagement, I received the phone call to end all phone calls.

“Mark, you might want to sit down.”

In short order, my friend’s ex-wife would sell to me my friend’s first-ever motorcycle, and I promised her I would never let it go.

Decisions
Two years later, my garage is filled with toys, and my brain is measuring it up like a balancing scale with the Bronco on the left and my bikes on the right. I had to pick a side. I picked the bikes. The Bronco had to go.

I first posted it to Craigslist, where it didn’t fetch the attention it deserved. So, days before the move, I left the Bronco with a friend and posted the truck on eBay.

After the auction ended, the buyer and I sorted out the details and the Bronco was shipped to Ohio.

“I’ll probably paint it black,” said the buyer.

“Please don’t,” I pleaded.

Absence makes the heart and the market grow fonder
I’ve been craving another Bronco ever since my OJ facsimile went to Ohio, but Jack’s recent search for an Oldsmobubble got me thinking. Maybe our jack-of-all-trades Bozi Tatarevic could find my Bronco? After all, he did figure out the fate of Jack’s crushed dreams. Hopefully my Bronco was still out there, still in its ’90s white glory, giving convertible SUV joy to a new generation of enthusiasts.

But if it existed, I was prepared to buy it back. With the reintroduction of the Bronco in 2020, I wanted to make sure I got my hands on her before valuations go stratospheric. Prices for ’90s-era Broncos are already getting up there. A semi-clean example can easily fetch $8,000 or more.

Mark Stevenson
Wanna work your magic on my old Bronco?
Just saw what you did for Jack.
Now I’m curious.

Bozi Tatarevic
Got a VIN?
Or recent-ish plate?

Mark Stevenson
934 DBB Texas Truck plate.
Won’t have my name on it.

Bozi Tatarevic
Ok cool.
95?

Mark Stevenson
Yessir.
I think it went to Ohio.
Sold it on eBay.

Bozi Tatarevic
When did you own it?

Mark Stevenson
2011.

Bozi Tatarevic
What city?

Mark Stevenson
Houston.

Bozi Tatarevic
Cool.

Mark Stevenson
Any luck?

Bozi Tatarevic
It was in Ohio.
Sold to someone in Oklahoma in July of 2014.

Mark Stevenson
If it’s still on the road …

Bozi Tatarevic
Has 225k now.
Got an oil change 5 weeks ago.

Mark Stevenson
HOLY FUCKING SHIT.
ARE YOU SERIOUS RIGHT NOW?

God, did we really just find my Bronco? Not only that, was it really still on the road? Man, I was high on the thought of seeing my ol’ girl again, top off, wind in my hair. Maybe we’d be reunited for a trip west and a slow drive down the 405.

But Bozi would shatter those dreams by the posting of one screenshot:

Bozi Tatarevic

Bronco Sale Record

Mark Stevenson
UGH.
HE FUCKING DID IT.
I told him the paint was very good for an old truck.
He said he was going to Rhino Line the fucking thing.
I bet that’s what he did.
Now I’m happysad.

Bozi Tatarevic
Well, you should get a cigarette

Mark Stevenson
What? Why?

Bozi Tatarevic
Mark's Bronco Post-Molestation

Yeah, that was my old Bronco, now painted black from top to bottom and given garish lighting treatments fore and aft. My dream was crushed, just like Jack’s Oldsmobubble. But, unlike Jack’s car, this automotive sin continues to roll on in Oklahoma City.

It’s probably for the best that my ’95 has met such a fate. If it was still in the same condition in which I sold it, I’d probably be on a one-way flight to Oklahoma right now to offer cash I don’t have for a vehicle I don’t need. Still, it’s a sad end to what could have been a glorious piece of historical rolling stock.

Goodbye.

[Image: © 2011 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars]

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