This DIY Ford Bronco Is Built on a 2004 F-150, and You Know What, It Works

Homebuilt Broncos don't always look great, but this one is surprisingly sharp. Better yet, it's for sale.
Dan Hickey

We’re all used to seeing new Ford Broncos on the road by now but don’t forget we spent a long 25 years waiting for the sixth-gen to reach production. That left a lot of people to their own devices, resulting in more than one custom job that imagined a new factory Bronco when such a thing didn’t exist. Every one of ’em that I’ve seen has been unlike the rest, and that’s certainly true of this homebrew Bronco built from a 2004 F-150.

It was crafted by a feller named Dan Hickey, who actually has the truck listed for $20,000. We first talked back in July before it went on Facebook Marketplace. That’s when he posted the custom off-roader in a Facebook group we’re both part of, and he later gave me the scoop on how the rig came to be.

“We decided to use this [truck] because I had bought a new F-150 and my old one was extremely well-maintained,” Hickey said. “It wasn’t really worth much because other F-150s of that age were priced very low. I decided to keep it around in case someone needed a truck and we used it for this.”

The 11th-gen F-150 isn’t the most popular pickup, but I have to say, it looks good when done up this way. It took a lot of work, of course, starting with stripping the bed, doors, electrical system, interior, and safety devices. Then Hickey cut two and a half feet from the frame to get the length right.

“We cut the frame where it needed to be cut, measuring several times,” Hickey continued. “Afterward, we welded in guides on the inside of the frame that also acted as a backer plate for strength. Once we had everything squared up, we welded the frame and then added gusset plates on the outside.

“We just started cutting away at the cab to find out what structure was inside the cab, what we could keep, and what we had to alter.”

A body lift had to be custom-fabricated so it’d clear the frame, and after that, they were in business. There’s also a roll hoop in the center of the truck for added rigidity. It was then time to close in the back half of the Bronco, which you can maybe tell is achieved with a Leer truck bed topper.

The roof isn’t removable, which Hickey laments. It would have cost too much and added much complexity to the build. It’s at least more weatherproof, in theory, and it still looks like a Bronco even though it’s not a convertible.

There are a few areas that could be better. Hickey admits that he’d like the carpeting to be more cleanly installed around the wheel wells, but he hired it out for cheap. The hope is to build another one someday using his knowledge from this first project.

“We started the project before the used truck market really shot up. It took almost 2 years to complete,” Hickey explained. “Now with used trucks being so expensive, I put the second one on hold. We have come up with so many easier ways to complete the next one along with alterations we would do for slightly different proportions. I hope to get back to it someday.”

The custom Bronco is powered by a remanufactured 5.4-liter V8 and the suspension is stock. Hickey says it rides like new with roughly 115,000 miles on the clock. The Raptor wheels tie it all together, as do the BF Goodrich all-terrains that are wrapped around them.

It’s a pretty slick build, and if you’re close to Wisconsin or would consider going there to pick it up, you could spend $20,000 in a lot worse ways.

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