Stroppe, a native of Long Beach, California, began his long association with the Ford family in 1947, when he drove his Ford-powered home-built speedboat, “The Miss Art Hall,” to victory in the Henry Ford Memorial Regatta on Michigan’s Detroit River. In the early 1950s his hot rod Lincolns stormed the grueling Carrera Panamericana road race in Mexico, winning the Touring class in 1952 and 1953. For years afterward, his Red, White and Blue Mercurys were top contenders in NASCAR, and in the ‘60s the success of his partnership with Parnelli Jones extended to victories in such varied venues as Pikes Peak and the Indianapolis 500. When Ford officially pulled out of racing in 1969, Stroppe turned to the increasingly popular sport of off-road racing and prepared a Ford Bronco for Jones, who took his first victory in the Baja 500 in 1970.
On January 28, 1971, Ford announced the release of the Baja Bronco, a "limited production duplicate" of Stroppe's team cars. Each Baja Bronco began life on the assembly line equipped with the Sport Bronco Package, essentially an exterior and interior chrome trim package with additional vinyl interior trim and floor mats. In addition to the extra cooling package, reduced-noise exhaust and heavy-duty suspension, the Baja Broncos all received a special factory-applied tri-color paint scheme combining Acapulco Blue, Wimbledon White and Poppy Red (with either a Semi-Gloss or Flat Black hood), matching that of the Stroppe-built off-road racers.
Ford then sent the Broncos to Stroppe’s Long Beach facility, where he completed the conversion before returning them to Ford for delivery to the ordering dealer. Stroppe installed rear fender flares and trimmed the front fenders to make room for rock-climbing Gates Commando XT tires on the customer’s choice of 8.5-15 painted steel wheels or slotted aluminum wheels. Also included in the Baja Bronco conversion were dual shocks at each wheel, a padded roll bar, rubberized steering wheel, front bumper braces, trailer hitch, unique Baja Bronco tire cover and fender decals.
In 1971 only, Baja-version Broncos were available with this example’s power steering and C4 3-speed automatic transmission with fluid cooler, which are combined here with a 4.11:1 Traction-Lok rear axle and 4-wheel drive with free-running front hubs. It is also equipped with 850-pound front and 1,250-pound rear springs, a rear bench seat and an auxiliary fuel tank with protective skid plate, and is documented with a Deluxe Marti Report and reproduction window sticker.