“… we’ve done it again …”
The big news for 1985’s Ford Bronco SUV was the November 1984 introduction of an Eddie Bauer edition, which became the new top-of-the-line. Of course, the full-size Bronco was not the first Ford to be “Bauerized”—that was actually the 1984 Ford Bronco II compact SUV.
The Eddie Bauer Bronco went for $15,972—about $39,400 in today’s dollars or about what a 2021 Bronco Outer Banks will go for. Exterior features distinctive Eddie Bauer Bronco included a specific two-tone paint treatment, dual accent bodyside paint stripes, privacy glass for the quarter windows, and Deluxe argent styled steel wheels.
Interior equipment for Ford’s new special edition included air conditioning, speed control, a tilt steering wheel, Light Group, and an AM/FM stereo radio. Upholstery included reclining all-tan cloth front captains chairs with folding armrests and zippered pouches on the seatbacks, a matching rear bench seat, a floor console, and deep 16 oz color-keyed carpeting.
The Bronco’s powertrain story was not simple for 1985. All Bronco equipment levels (base, XLT, and Eddie Bauer) came standard with a 120 bhp 4.9 liter/300 ci inline six with a one-barrel carburetor. The year kicked off with two engine options, both versions of the Windsor 5.8 liter/351 ci V8. At $1,041 was a 150 bhp example with a two-barrel carburetor, while an H.O. version with a four-barrel carburetor put out 210 bhp and cost $1,418. Arriving at about the same time that the Eddie Bauer edition did was a Windsor 190 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, which set buyers back $1,202.
A four-speed manual was standard with the six and the smaller V8, while an automatic was the standard and only transmission with both of the 5.8 liter engines. The six could be ordered with a four-speed manual with overdrive while the 4.9 liter V8 could be had with an overdrive automatic.
Mileage ratings sharply separated the six from all the V8s. With the six and the four-speed manual, a Bronco owner could expect 16 city/21 highway. That dropped to 13/17 with the 5.0 liter V8 and was even worse with the two 5.8 liter engines. Thus, the Bronco’s range with its 25-gallon gas tank and a 10% fuel reserve could vary from a high of 415 miles to a low of 260 miles. Of course, the V8s were noticeably quicker—about two to four seconds faster to 60 mph.
Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on all Broncos included halogen headlights, tinted glass, a heavy-duty radiator, variable-ratio power steering, power front disc/rear drum brakes, and P235/75R15 tires (a size still readily available) on 15-inch wheels. Inside, dome lights, a locking glove box, and a rear flip/fold bench seat were included.
Options for the well-equipped Eddie Bauer Bronco included heavy-duty shocks and springs ($155), a Traction-Lok limited slip rear axle ($238), power windows ($239), and an AM/FM stereo radio with a cassette tape player ($235).
Bronco sales were up a little over 10% to 52,316 for the 1985 model year, easily outselling the competing Chevrolet Blazer and Dodge Ramcharger. Sales of the eighties Bronco would peak in 1989, with 66,730 moved.
Along with other eighties SUVS, Broncos are attracting significant collector interest. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1985 Eddie Bauer Bronco with the 5.8 liter H.O. V8 (the most prized engine) in #1/Concours condition is $28,400, with a far more normal #3/Good condition version going for $11,300. Broncos are often available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors. As I write this post, a Scarlet Red 1989 Eddie Bauer Bronco with a tan interior, a 5.8 liter V8, and 71,000 miles is for sale on Hemmings for $17,900.
Make mine Dark Canyon Red Metallic, please.