Barn Find Hunter Finds Cool Collection of Old Broncos in Alaska

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There’s more in Alaska than just moose and bears. There are a lot of old Broncos, particularly in the city of Delta Junction.

According to the state of Alaska’s official website, “The Last Frontier” contains 586,000 square miles of land. That means Alaska is one-fifth the size of all of the lower 48 states. That also means there’s plenty of room for people who love to collect vehicles. Tom Cotter of The Barn Find Hunter recently met up with a fellow in the city of Delta Junction who has a thing for old Ford Broncos.

Adam McNabb is a mechanic with a big soft spot for first-generation Broncos and enough land to indulge his hobby of collecting them. His assortment of them is spread out over two different properties. Many of them are in various states of patina or disrepair, waiting to be either parted out or restored one day. Collection of Ford Broncos in Alaska

There are at least two drivers among them, though. McNabb gets around in a blue 1972 model that’s withstood the test of time. It was once used by a school district to transport students across a creek when the water was high. He tells Cotter, “It’s been a great little rig. … It sat for I think about 15 years. I threw a battery in it and filled up the float bowl with gas and it started just like that. I’ve been driving it ever since.” Collection of Ford Broncos in Alaska

McNabb left the paint as it was: original. As far as he knows, with the exception of a Holley carburetor, the 302 under the hood is original, too. Collection of Ford Broncos in Alaska

Another one of McNabb’s runners, a ’66 with a 289-CID V8 and three-speed transmission, needed work up front, but it was worth the investment. He says, “I found this one in the woods, behind a guy’s place. He said he had some old two-door, four-wheel-drive rig. Told me he just wanted somebody to haul it away so that’s what I did. And it didn’t have any axles under it.”


‘It’s been a great little rig. … It sat for about 15 years. I threw a battery in it and filled up the float bowl with gas and it started just like that. I’ve been driving it ever since.’


The good news is the engine and gearbox were still in it. McNabb had no problem installing new hardware. Since then, McNabb and his family have used his some-assembly-required Bronco to take a road trip through parts of California, Moab, Colorado, and Wyoming. Collection of Ford Broncos in Alaska

One particular banged-up 1972 Bronco with a 302 V8 and three-speed gearbox has a special destiny. Eventually, McNabb and his son Nathaniel will get it up and running so it can be Nathaniel’s first vehicle. It’s going to be difficult at times for the younger man, but it will be worth the frustration and struggle because he’ll end up with a drivable classic Bronco, an increasingly rare species. As Nathaniel’s father puts it, “They’re becoming more and more difficult to find. And they’re becoming more and more popular.”

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Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his JK Forum profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK Forum and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Derek also contributes to other outlets. He started There Will Be Cars on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube to get even more automotive content out to fellow enthusiasts.

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