The love letter left on the windshield of his 1973 Ford Bronco was a first for Marty Glassman. Since he purchased the truck in 2011, he’s noticed that just seeing it brings forth a certain emotion—delight with a pinch of envy—in everyone.
“Early Broncos are so rare,” says the 50-year-old DJ, who had dreamed of owning one since college. “Go online and you’ll find people announcing ‘I saw one today on the freeway.’ They’re so cool.” He loves the overall simplicity of the compact look, and the removable top. Plus, he says with a wink, “it turns on a dime and it will climb a tree.”
All that and a good investment too: Like other vintage SUVs, early Broncos have jumped in value in the past five years, something Glassman predicted—in his heart—decades ago while college friends fantasized about Italian or British sports cars.
Thinking practically when he married and started a family, Glassman bought an Explorer. “It was time to grow up and get a new, reliable, responsible vehicle for the next chapter in our lives.” But in the quiet comfort of his Explorer he kept thinking about the Bronco. “I really like the blocky, Spartan, utilitarian styling of its lines,” he explains.
The day the purchase finally happened, he’d told everyone he was merely taking a look. A California car always, it had no rust; the interior was in good condition; the body was straight; and it ran great. The previous owners, a race engine builder and his wife, had bought it from the US Forest Service in 1978. Approaching their mid-seventies, they felt it was time to let go.
“I’m not a motorhead guy,” says Glassman, who drove the Bronco home to Ventura that day. With a neighbor’s help, he handled all the minor mechanical issues. He added larger tires, bright orange paint and a personalized plate: 70s Cool. Now that it’s officially the car he always wanted, it’s a daily attraction as he runs errands and shuttles his 195-pound mastiff and teenage daughters (they both love the Bronco but not always the related attention).
“This is such a bitchin’ car,” he says proudly, deliberately using old-school lingo. TV, film and advertising industries agree, casting it in two music videos and a number of print ads. And the gushing letter? That was also a request to purchase. Understandably, Glassman will never sell.