Gale Pike's 1973 Race Bronco

galepike

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This past year has been quite a boot for me watching all these high buck Bronco ( 67-75) restorations driving up and down the Coast Highway. The last time I saw anything like what is going on today was in Victorville, Ca. 2006. That year folks that do those things, got together some dozen ex Bronco racer drivers to celebrate forty years of off-road racing and the Bronco that was it’s spotlight vehicle. In 1968, the first ‘Baja 1000’ race,( which had its beginnings in 1967 with a 68 car and bike rally, 31 finishers) had Larry Minor, Rod Hall, in a 1968 Stroppe built Bronco win 1st over all, beating all the other 243 cars and bikes that began the race. Some four hundred and fifty Broncos and their owners showed up at the county park. All the Broncos were lookin good. Sharp, clean, modest restorations. But not like what I see today, these $50,000 plus jobs. God bless all those Bronco owners, sure makes this old heart pump a little faster to see his past revisited. Even Hollywood thinks the Bronco is cool, look at all the Movies and TV. commercials that showcase them.


My 1973 Ford Bronco was the last race Bronco Stroppe built. I think the best stock production four-wheel drive, off road race car ever built. Before I go on talking about the racing I’ve seen and been involved in, especially where the Bronco is concerned, the wins and finishes are not about me but rather about what a great race car Stroppe built. That truck won big races not given credit for, I’ll tell you about later on. He built one great machine, me and my sons just drove it. We raced that Bronco from 1973 to 1988, this Bronco finished first in class in 1975, Baja 1000, in 1988, Jean 250, Quite a run wouldn’t you say? And several more in between. (given credit or not) But don’t get me wrong, my Bronco wasn’t the only great Bronco race car Stroppe built. Remember, 1968. 1st. Baja 1000, Minor, Hall, Bronco, first over all. How about the Big Oly, for Parnelli, the Pony for Minor, who can forget Rods’, ‘Halls Ass’. Winner, Winner, Winner. All those cars and drivers got more than their share of wins.


Gale Pike and His 1973 Stroppe Race Bronco


- Gale Pike
 

galepike

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Glad you enjoyed my blog. I know where the Bronco is. I had a long relationship with him building my Ram. I made him the best offer I could afford. No answer yet. Pics. Lost my stuff when my house burnt in 93. Will post more bits and pieces soon. Gale Pike
 

galepike

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This is incredible! Do you still have the Bronco? I would love to see photos of it. Possibly write a feature for RDZ.
jammminjay, I know where the Bronco is know who has it, Made offer to get it back . No response yet. More bits and pieces to follow on blog. Beach Bum.
 

Antique Mercury

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This past year has been quite a boot for me watching all these high buck Bronco ( 67-75) restorations driving up and down the Coast Highway. The last time I saw anything like what is going on today was in Victorville, Ca. 2006. That year folks that do those things, got together some dozen ex Bronco racer drivers to celebrate forty years of off-road racing and the Bronco that was it’s spotlight vehicle. In 1968, the first ‘Baja 1000’ race,( which had its beginnings in 1967 with a 68 car and bike rally, 31 finishers) had Larry Minor, Rod Hall, in a 1968 Stroppe built Bronco win 1st over all, beating all the other 243 cars and bikes that began the race. Some four hundred and fifty Broncos and their owners showed up at the county park. All the Broncos were lookin good. Sharp, clean, modest restorations. But not like what I see today, these $50,000 plus jobs. God bless all those Bronco owners, sure makes this old heart pump a little faster to see his past revisited. Even Hollywood thinks the Bronco is cool, look at all the Movies and TV. commercials that showcase them.


My 1973 Ford Bronco was the last race Bronco Stroppe built. I think the best stock production four-wheel drive, off road race car ever built. Before I go on talking about the racing I’ve seen and been involved in, especially where the Bronco is concerned, the wins and finishes are not about me but rather about what a great race car Stroppe built. That truck won big races not given credit for, I’ll tell you about later on. He built one great machine, me and my sons just drove it. We raced that Bronco from 1973 to 1988, this Bronco finished first in class in 1975, Baja 1000, in 1988, Jean 250, Quite a run wouldn’t you say? And several more in between. (given credit or not) But don’t get me wrong, my Bronco wasn’t the only great Bronco race car Stroppe built. Remember, 1968. 1st. Baja 1000, Minor, Hall, Bronco, first over all. How about the Big Oly, for Parnelli, the Pony for Minor, who can forget Rods’, ‘Halls Ass’. Winner, Winner, Winner. All those cars and drivers got more than their share of wins.


Gale Pike and His 1973 Stroppe Race Bronco


- Gale Pike
I towed this car to its very first race. What a blast that was. Got to see a lot of the oringal race cars and drivers that started this who industry off.
 

toddz

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Loved your blog, Gale! Glad you have such good memories of our little party in Victorville in '06 - we were honored to have you there!

Todd Z.
 

galepike

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re: Ray Harvic, At2006 gettogether, talked with Ray for couple hours, said Kevin was his grandson. Both from Bakersfield.
 

galepike

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my new book of eight short stories is on amazon books titled, Life at Halfway Junction , should have a couple excerts from 2 books, give a look
 

galepike

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Link to Purchase Short Stories



CHRISTMAS AND THE GANG

It’s Christmas Eve I’ve just turned off the cafés outside lights. one by one my crew coming the
door, all slicked up. The tree is in corner the corner next to the jukebox, all covered with tinsel
and lights. I close the place once a year, beginning at 10 PM Christmas Eve, and open for
another year-December 26 at 6 AM. Folks that are used to us being open 24-7, are out of luck
this night. As granddad used to say, “If you got to use Christmas to make a buck, time to give
it up.” Although not a church going guy, he told me that Christmas was His birthday and should
be so honored.” So, I’m here to carry on that tradition. Hello, here come the ladies, Opal, Jewel,
Ruby, and Pearl, waitress crew each look quite pretty all gussied up. They live in the cabins
next to the café. Each one of these ladies was hired by my grandfather about 10 years ago, just
after the war, and although he passed away a couple years ago, there still here doing their thing
as if Pops (what I call my granddad), was still here. How they arrived at the junction is another
story. As I turned off the outside lights, the crew was coming through the side door there’s this
banging on one of the front doors. As I headed for the door to tell the person we were closed,
Opal, ever curious, joined me. The man banging was hollering, “let me in I need to see your boss,
it’s important.” Just as I was about to tell the fellow, “sorry were closed”, Opal nudges me, “Let
him in.” I asked, “Why?” She says, “Just let him in, smile on her face, it’s okay.” Once inside, this
fellow, a little taller than me, well dressed, fairly good looking, reddish hair, (I like to catalog people
by looks and manner, helps you to remember them, customers like that.) Introduced himself as
Carl. Opal, still by my side, seemed a little giddy. “It’s important I see your Boss, I need to speak
to him.” I tell Carl, “I’m the boss”, he disagrees. “Not you,” he says, “I mean the older gentleman
that owns the place, I need to talk to him.” “I think you’re referring to my granddad,” I explained, he
passed a couple years ago, what’s so important? Carl turned a little pale, almost teary, he began,
“I had so much to tell your grandfather, I am sorry, I waited too long to see him again. He saved
my life.” “Really” I say, only half interested, (you get used to this type of story, people always
wanting a favor or something.) Carl, Seven years ago to this day, Christmas Eve, In the middle
of the afternoon I stumbled in here, half drunk, without a dime to my name, looking for a handout,
just something to eat, trying to get sober enough to hitch another ride to LA. A trucker had just
dumped me out of his cab I guess, I’d been babbling how lousy the world was treating me and I
know I must’ve stunk of booze and sweat. Your granddad behind the counter, eyes me, puts a cup
of hot coffee in front of me, then in a couple of minutes, a plate of scrambled eggs and pancakes.
I threw down the plate of food and two more coffees before your granddad asked, could I use a
couple of bucks? He needed a dishwasher, could I fill the job? Still a little foggy 1 sure 1 said what
else could I say to someone who had just fed me?

3 PM, he was headed on the road west. 8 PM, sun just going down, Pops model ‘A’ came to a
stop at a wide spot in the road. Old Betsy had just thrown a rod clear through the engine block.
Hot, dry, still a little hung over, he wasn’t going anywhere soon, good old Betsy had given up the
ghost for good. Might as well pitch camp. Still 105°, hot, the tent was halfway up when another
‘A’ came chugging to a stop next to Pops. “Hi there,” this older guy, dripping from top to bottom,
hollers, “Where can a guy buy some gas?” “Back about 70 miles at grant or 100 miles up the road
to Vegas.” “Got any gas” sweaty asks? “Yep”, answers Pops. “Sell me some?” Pops ponders, I’m
stuck here, might as well. “Yep”, he answers’. “How much?” Let’s see, granddad again thinking
to himself. I paid fifteen cents a gallon, hauled it clear out here, “How about a buck?” “Are you
kidding?,” sweaty hollers back, “no way.” “Okay, says pops, forget about it”. “Forget about it,
sweaty starts to whine, what am I going to do?” “Not my problem”, is the answer. “Here’s five
bucks, give me the gas.” “Five gallons, and that’s all?” “That’s right, here’s the dough.” Thinking,
this guy figures I’m lying about Las Vegas being 100 from here, he’s going to spend a long night
listening to the coyotes.
6 AM, sun just up, already 105, another ‘A’ pulls up. “My water pumps going out, how far to the
next town, asks another sweaty?” “Grants 70 miles”, pops tells him. “Never make it, says sweaty
number two, what are you doing way out Here?” “I’m stuck, broke down, Old Betsy just died on
me.” “Too bad, says sweaty number two, might consider getting rid of your water pump? That is if
you got no more use for it.” “Okay, let you have it, but it’ll cost you thirty bucks.” “Thirty bucks, how
about twenty?” “Nope, thirty or no deal.” “You’ll put it on for me?” “Five more, I will.” “Deal, sweaty
number two agrees. You got any gas you want to get rid of?” “Sure, a buck a gallon.” It’s 9 AM
and I’ve made fifty bucks in less than a day. What’s going on here?
 

toddz

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Great write-up Gale! I didn't know that Jaime shifted gears for you or that Stroppe shifted for PJ! Willie is doing well - I'll send him a link to your writeup.

Todd Z.
 
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