July 21, 2024

Didcot Gateway

Building Cars, People First

Ford Bronco legendary Baja 1000 winner ‘Big Oly’ headed to auction

Just before O.J., the most popular Ford Bronco was Parnelli Jones’ Baja a thousand winner. The truck was barely a Bronco, completely rebuilt with technological know-how by no means prior to been noticed on an off-street racer. However, it brought Jones and Ford renown for successful the demanding desert race twice consecutively. Now, this piece of motorsports history can be yours, mainly because it truly is headed to auction this spring.

The 1969 Ford Bronco was nicknamed Large Oly thanks to a sponsorship by Olympia Beer (which, sadly, was just discontinued before this calendar year right after 125 a long time) that also gave it legendary gold and white livery. The task reportedly started when co-driver and race truck builder Invoice Stroppe, who had been unsuccessful in recruiting 6-time Indy five hundred winner Jones as his driver, utilized a bit of psychology on the racing legend. As the story goes, Stroppe declared loudly amongst a team of buddies at a 1967 Xmas party that he imagined “Jones was not man sufficient for off-street racing.”

The next calendar year, the two have been behind the wheel of a generally stock Bronco at what was then referred to as the NORRA Mexican a thousand (later renamed the Baja a thousand). Jones practically drove its wheels off, and the duo resolved to develop a specialized rig to get the race.

Having a site from the world of open-wheel racers, the pair built Large Oly close to a chrome-moly space body. The physique was made of aluminum and fiberglass, and the full fat rang in at a feathery 2,620 kilos. It was run by a 351 Ford Windsor V8 excellent for 390 horsepower and boasted a twin-I-beam front suspension with a trailing arm style that allowed for a lot more pure deflection for the front wheels, when the rear utilized a four-link rear style with transverse Panhard rods and entirely floating rear axle. As a intelligent workaround of race guidelines, the roof doubled as a giant wing.

Right after logging a DNF because of to a Jones-induced damaged axle in 1970, Large Oly went on to get equally 1971 and 1972 runnings of the Baja a thousand. For the latter, there is certainly a story about working out of gasoline 14 miles from the finish line and how a serendipitous come upon with a tequila bottle saved he working day. The next calendar year, Jones and Stroppe received the 1973 Baja five hundred and Mint 400 with Large Oly as very well, cementing the truck in off-street racing history.

The Bronco will cross the auction block all through Mecum’s Indianapolis auction that will take place Might 14-22. It is a scarce prospect to individual one particular of history’s most popular American race vehicles. And with the new basic-impressed Ford Bronco just hitting the current market, if we ran Ford we would be earning a bid as very well.

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