What a beast! Just about any Early Bronco is going to be cool, but Maxlider Brothers Customs just outside Chicago specializes in them.
“Our uncle bought one in 1966, our cousin Rick had several of ‘em over the years, too, and we just always thought they were cool,” said Erik Barnlund, who owns Maxlider Brothers Customs with brother Kris.
He called us from the road, where they were in the process of hauling the Bronco from Chicago to Las Vegas for the SEMA show. He said they’ve been buying and selling cars most of their adult lives – they’re 43 and 41 now, respectively – then five years ago they stated focusing on building and restoring Broncos. A year and a half ago they started this project.
“We wanted this Bronco to stand out as one of the most exotic and modern Bronco builds to date,” said Erik. “Last year at SEMA I saw some incredible Broncos, but we knew we could build something different that the world had never seen before. We also wanted tip our hat to Ford Motor Company on their own anticipated launch of the 2020 Bronco and show them what a throw-back design could look like with 4 doors.”
Looks good from several angles
They started with a 1966 Bronco, and when sharing their plans for the stretched chassis with metalfabricating specialists MJR Industries of Worden, Mont., one of the guys there said, “I could fabricate that.” Worden fabricates everything from those huge metal tubes that run up and down grain silos, to Trophy Trucks for racing in Baja. So they sent the chassis to MJR. The Montana crew promptly cut it in half – that’s the only way to add wheelbase, really – and then added 26 inches to the middle. The chassis was then welded and reinforced to make it even stronger than the original.
The Bros then teamed with Roush Performance to stuff a supercharged Coyote 5.0-liter V8 under the hood which they say is “capable of putting out 600 horsepower.” Advance Adapters Atlas II Transfer Case and Currie Industries provided new and more durable axles while Yukon Gear & Axle provided the driveshafts, locking hubs and differentials. On the dash is a Powertrain Control Solutions gear selector and the steering wheel is attached to EPAS electric power steering unit.
Underneath, MJR made a custom suspension with Fox Racing Shox, BFGoodrich 37×12.5/20 mud-terrain tires wrapped around 20×12.5-inch Fuel Nutz black wheels and AMP Research added power assist side steps. To stop this big bruiser, Wilwood crafted Superlite 4R Big Brake four-wheel disc brakes for what is promised to be “maximum stopping power.”
Obviously, when you tear everything out of the inside of a vehicle you have to put something back in. Hence, the interior is customized with Maxlider Bros throwback seats wrapped in water-resistant baseball glove brown marine performance vinyl, meant for rugged off-roading. Custom designed inserts hug the rear wheel well arches where Maxlider installed two of the six state-of-the-art Wetsounds Bluetooth sound bars and subwoofers.
The Maxlider Bronco Roush Coyote 5.0 makes 600 hp
Does it actually drive?
“It’s fantastic,” said Erik.
There’s even legroom.
“It’s not like a conversion van, but you have room for your knees in all three rows,” Erik said.
If you’re thinking you would like to buy this particular Bronco, you’re too late. It is already sold. And it wasn’t cheap – the buyer paid about “…a quarter million” for it.
“We coulda sold it three times already,” said Erik.
So are your three-row Bronco dreams dashed? No. Maxlider Bros is going to make more, incorporating things they’ve picked up in this build. They’ll add suicide doors and eliminate the middle pillar, for instance. And while all their builds are custom jobs, expect pricing to start on a four-door Bronco at $250,000.
Now hang on. That’s for something like this, which is pretty involved. Maxlider Bros sells all kinds of Broncos, between 75 and 100 a year. You could get a solid-bodied Bronco with a good, functional powertrain for between $35,000 and $50,000. And who doesn’t have that laying around?