John Mitchell, a retired septic-tank distributor from Kingman, Arizona, decided to extend his off-road exploration needs by building a '69 Ford Bronco Sport 200 SVD. John and his wife, Vivian, have always been the outdoors-recreational types with all of the essential toys: motorcycles, Artic Cat 4x4 quads, a sand rail, and a Sandpiper trailer to haul them all in. Oh yeah, we can't forget the 37-foot Rinker performance boat for those glassy sunrise and sunset occasions. John can, literally, roll out of his driveway onto the beautiful wide-open Arizona desert terrain-where we photographed John's Bronco-every day.

The Ford Bronco was introduced to the world in August 1965, to compete against Jeep's CJ5 and International Harvester's Scout during the infant age of 4x4 recreational off-roading. The first generation Broncos came with only a saddle and reigns, without power steering or an automatic transmission. Under the hood was a 170ci Falcon inline six-cylinder that produced 105 hp. A three-speed manual transmission with a long-throw steering-column mounted shift lever was the only selector of choice. It's short 92-inch wheelbase made this buckin' Bronco a kick to drive.

On John's Bronco, the factory frame was reinforced and boxed for added rigidity and strength. A Dana 60 differential provides power to the front wheels, while a narrowed and modified F-150 rear end with a Detroit Locker delivers power to the rear wheels. Rancho coil springs and Rancho RS5000 shocks control the bounce up front, while the factory power steering resists bump steer with a Rancho steering dampener. A pair of heavy-duty Atlas leaf springs and Rancho RS5000 shock absorbers support the modified Ford F-150 rearend. A set of four Nitto Mud Grappler Extreme Terrain 35x12R18 tires encase the 18x10-inch Panther EMR 440 polished aluminum wheels. To achieve increased ground and tire clearance, a 4-inch body lift kit was installed. A polished billet gas filler door leads to a custom 12-gallon aluminum fuel cell.

The Ford 351ci Windsor V-8 produces a tame 350 hp. John had the engine block and cylinder heads de-burred, ported, polished, and assembled at Shurway Machine, located in Arizona. The Windsor crankshaft bearing bores were align bored, block cylinders were line bored and honed, and then fitted with a set of 9.1 forged J&E Pistons. A mild Comp Cams camshaft was carefully inserted, along with a set of Comp Cams hydraulic lifters and pushrods. Clevite bearings were used throughout the engine. A K&N air filter was mounted atop an Edelbrock 650cfm carburetor that delivers a constant fuel and air mixture into the Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold. An MSD electronic ignition system includes: coil, distributor, and ignition wires. The dominating whine of a Jackson gear drive can be heard over the engine's idle. The entire engine was assembled using ARP Fasteners. The burnt gasses are exhausted by a pair of Hooker shorty headers that flow into a Flow-Tech 3-1/2-inch custom exhaust and mufflers.