This week is the Mexican 1000 on-road/off-road rally on the Baja Peninsula – not to be confused with the “Baja 1000” run every November, which is largely the same race, but with much more money and consumerism involved. The Mexican 1000 is reserved for vintage and alternative fuel racing craft, and on the list of especially memorable entrants is this: a vintage Ford Bronco Baja racing ute.
Of course, every Ford Bronco is cool, but as Jalopnik‘s “Truck Yeah” blog explains, this particular example is sub-zero. It was raced way back in the earliest years of the Baja rally by none other than legendary rally racing driver Rod Hall.
Among Rod’s (and this Ford Bronco’s) list of accomplishments: winning the Mexican 1000 at Baja in 1969, just two years after the inaugural running of the race.
Since then, both with and without his original Ford Bronco, Rod Hall went on to win 14 major class points championships, and over 150 major events – including winning the Baja rally a record 17 times. The Bronco was treated less favorably by the years after it lost its pluck, being dumped in a junkyard to rot for decades in the middle of the desert.
But as fate would have it, an unidentified soul happened upon the historic Ford Bronco at some point or another, rescuing it from its hot, dry grave and donating it to the NORRA (National Off-Road Racing Association) Museum. Since then, reports Jalopnik, it’s been restored to race once more.
To aid in the resurrection of the old, trusty Ford Bronco, Ford Performance donated a 347 cubic-inch racing crate motor, while the list of other parts donors includes Currie Enterprises, Summit Racing Equipment, Tifco, American Racing, KC HiLiTES, Wild Horses 4×4, Fox Racing, and Mastercraft Safety. At the helm at this year’s NORRA Mexican 1000 at Baja? Why, it’s our old friend Rod Hall, now 78.
Says Hall: “I’m 78 years old and I might not have to many races left in me. The guys are doing a great job on the restoration and it’s going to be fun to drive my old Bronco in Baja again.”
Godspeed, Mr. Hall. Godspeed.