The Ford Bronco driven by legendary off-road racer Rod Hall is still kicking. It’s now being driven in various off-road events by racer Amy Lerner, who recently brought it to Jay Leno’s Garage.
Lerner was trained in off-road driving by Hall, who died in 2019 at age 82, and he produced a documentary called “One More Win” chronicling Hall’s life and career. Hall competed in 50 consecutive Baja 1000s, starting in 1967, the first year of the legendary off-road race, which was then know as the NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally. He started his 50th and final Baja 1000 just days before his 80th birthday.
Rod Hall’s Ford Bronco Baja 1000 racer on Jay Leno’s Garage
Hall won the 1969 Baja 1000 in this Bronco, which remains the only production 4×4 vehicle to ever take an overall victory in the race, according to Lerner. He continued racing Broncos for several years before switching to Dodge, and eventually Hummer.
Most racing vehicles have a short shelf life, but this Bronco was recommissioned in 2014 for vintage off-road racing at the request of Hall’s granddaughter, Shelby Hall. Its first outing was a vintage rally covering the Baja 1000 route; Lerner and Shelby Hall have since scored a podium at the Mint 400 as well.
Because it’s still a working racer, the Bronco isn’t all-original. It got a modern Ford V-8 crate engine as part of its 2014 recommissioning and now puts out about 350 hp. That’s a big improvement over the original engine, which only produced about 100 hp, and it propelled the Bronco to 100 mph on the flatter sections of the Mint 400, Lerner noted. Power is sent to all four wheels through a 4-speed manual transmission.
An off-road racer is definitely out of its element in Los Angeles-area traffic but, as Leno pointed out, it’s not as fragile as some of the supercars featured on his show. If you want to see this Bronco doing what it was built to do, check out the documentary One More Win, which is streaming on Amazon Prime and iTunes.