Dawn Rowe's 1972 BroncoClick here for the full gallery of project photos!
Dawn and this awesome '72 trail rig are both very special to Early Bronco enthusiasts and patriots throughout Southern California and across the USA, and we're honored to have the opportunity to work on it here at WCB. Dawn's late husband, USMC Major Alan Rowe, lost his life fighting for our country in Iraq in 2004. Off-roading in his Bronco was Alan's passion, and Dawn has kept that enthusiasm alive in herself and her two young children by continuing to upgrade and enjoy the '72 in the deserts and mountains of Southern California.
Dawn first brought the '72 to West Coast Broncos to address some reliability and drivability issues. The carburator needed a rebuild, brakes needed some upgrades, the steering was a mess, and the faulty wiring was causing problems throughout the electrical system. So in our first phase we addressed most of these issues. Old worn out stock motor mounts were replaced with WCB's Extreme Duty Motor Mounts. The weak stock starter was replaced with a new Denso high torque starter. A new 136-amp G3 alternator was installed and the entire battery cable, solenoid and charging system were replaced with new high quality components. A WCB Rockcrawler power steering gear was installed, along with a heim joint steering system. The truck got a complete brake job and new wheel bearings front and rear.
With the reliability and drivability issues solved, it was time to address some off-road performance issues. Dawn wanted to upgrade from 33" to 35" tires to get her over the rocky terrain of the Southern California deserts. To make room for this we would need to do some trimming. But the front fenders on both sides were already pretty hammered from life in the canyons so we decided to kill two birds with one stone and replace them with WCB's fiberglass pre-runner fenders. An added benefit to this was that the white gelcoat of the fenders already matched the rest of Dawn's Bronco without the need to paint them. The rear flares were removed and the wheel openings trimmed to match the front. Next, we wanted to replace the old-school diamond plate rocker covers with some bona-fide heavy duty rocker panel protection, so we fitted the Bronco with our brakeformed, 3/16" thick plate steel Rocker Rails. These provide the ultimate combination of great looks and protection from rocks on the trail. They protrude from the Bronco's body approximately 2" to keep the terrain from customizing doors and fenders. The ends of the Rocker Rails were mitered to match the wheel openings, then capped with plate steel and ground smooth. Rattle-can black paint would finish them off while enabling easy future touch-ups.
Next we moved to the interior, safety and comfort items. Dawn wanted to keep the existing cage since Alan had bought and installed it himself, but we were happy to take a few steps to bolt it in more securely. While we were working on the reliability issues, we knew we would have to completely re-wire the entire truck. We waited until this phase to do it though, so we could integrate that work with a whole new custom dash and gauges. A WCB dash overlay provided the blank canvas for Dawn's new simple yet functional and stylish dash layout. Autometer Pro-Comp gauges and K-Four waterproof switches and indicator lights were used throughout. We also included speaker holes at either end of the dash and a 12V power supply. The custom dash panel was powdercoated in metallic silver. The new dash and gauges were installed along with a new Centech wiring harness for the whole Bronco. We added a few more goodies such as dome lights and auxiliary lighting. The stock steering column was replaced by a new Flaming River stainless steel tilt column, and finished off with a Nick's Trix billet aluminum column bezel. New PRP competition style suspension seats in the front and a PRP suspension bench seat in the rear, along with DJ Safety 2" harnesses provide comfort and safety on the trail. The new 5-speaker stereo system features a woofer in the rear, speakers in the dash and in custom interior rear quarter covers, and a head unit installed into the Tuffy locking center console. XM satellite radio provides tunes even in the most remote locations.
With a strong 351 Windsor and venerable NP435 transmission, Dawn's rig is capable of some of the tougher trails in the deserts near her home. And it does indeed get used there. Dawn is active in So Cal Broncos and also in the organizing committe of the annual Morongo Basin Search & Rescue Poker Run. We at West Coast Broncos are honored that Dawn has trusted us with the upgrades to this truly special Bronco, and we look forward to the next round of upgrades. In addition to the '72, Dawn also has a beautiful black '79 Bronco XLT which was a feature vehicle at in the Bronco 40th Anniversary display at the 2006 Fabulous Fords Forever show.
© 2008 WEST COAST BRONCOS, INC.