More than just a badass ’91 Ford Bronco, this adventure rig has a story to tell. Beyond the sculpted metal and fiberglass or horsepower and muscle, this Bronco is a rolling tribute to a modern-day American hero. This is Chief Adam Brown’s Bronco and its story is one of sacrifice, honor, and pulling together to overcome and persevere.
Before we get to the Bronco, let us get to know the man behind it. Chief Brown was a fun-loving country boy from Arkansas whose dream was to play on the high school football team and wear his jersey with pride. While some would call him an undersized daredevil, he skirted with danger just as any young boy would do by jumping off bridges into the lake or leaping off a roof into a tree. As he got older, his taste for risk grew and he eventually found himself in jail.
Turning his life around, Adam joined the United States Navy and eventually became a Navy SEAL Chief. According to his family and friends, “Adam was a man of extremes, whose determination was fueled by faith, family, and the love and support of his wife. He was a man who waged a war against his own worst impulses and persevered to reach the top-tier of the U.S. military. Always the first to volunteer for the most dangerous assignments, Adam’s final act of bravery led to the ultimate sacrifice.”
Chief Brown was killed in action in Komar Province, Afghanistan on March 17, 2010. His Special Ops Assault Team was assaulting an enemy compound when they came under heavy fire and got pinned down. In an effort to protect his men, Chief Brown charged the enemy from a better vantage point and drew fire away from his team. While the enemy compound was captured and all the enemy combatants were killed in action, he was killed after being struck by enemy fire. His actions saved the life of his fellow brothers in arms. The 12-year US Navy veteran was awarded the Silver Star Medal for his heroism.
One of the things that Chief Brown treasured most was his ’91 Ford Bronco that his wife had bought him. When he wasn’t overseas, he loved to drive it around and had dreams of one day passing it on to his son. When the team at RK Motors and the RKM Performance Center in Charlotte got wind of Chief Brown’s plan to pass the Bronco down to his children, they knew they had to get involved.
While the project may have started as a simple restoration, it quickly grew into something much bigger to honor this fallen American hero. RKM Performance Center wanted to create something that was truly a fitting tribute to Chief Brown. Some light body work, a simple repaint, and crate motor wasn’t going to be good enough for this Bronco.
They started with the engine and swapped out the original V8 with a 5.0L Coyote engine that puts out over 400hp. Combine that with a Transzilla T56 six-speed, Centerforce dual friction clutch, and a 241 GM transfer case with slip yoke eliminator and you have the recipe for some serious go power. The rear end of the Bronco was replaced with a Ford 8.8 using a Yukon 31-spline and the front got a Detroit Locker spotting 4:56 gears. The suspension on the Bronco features a full BDS lift system along with WARN locking hubs and Power Slot brakes.
The RKM Performance Center team wanted the exterior of the Bronco to reflect the truck’s awesome capabilities with some military design influence. The body received a new “Desert Tan” finish along with some other modifications. The Bronco has a one-piece fiberglass hood, fiberglass wheel flares, custom-made bumpers, a beefy Warn M12000 winch, and “ammo storage” boxes on rails in the rear. Custom Superbright LED lighting and Rigid LEDs were added throughout. Both the traditional side trim and Bronco emblems were removed to give the truck a more modern look and feel. The Bronco now rolls on some 38″ Nitto Mud Grapplers wrapped around some Fuel Off-Road wheels.
The team didn’t stop with the exterior either. The interior was fully removed and customized to match the outside look and feel of this Bronco. They wanted to give it more of a cockpit look so they fabricated a custom dash, panels, and instrument clusters. LED lighting and custom Classic Instruments aviation style gauges were added as well to go with a Vintage Air climate control system and Kenwood stereo system. Military hardware was used when possible and details like the custom glove box were an awesome touch.
The finished truck is nothing less than spectacular. Between RK Motors, the RKM Performance Center, and the numerous companies that donated time, materials, and labor, they really have created a fitting tribute to an incredible person. While Chief Brown may no longer be with us, his memory and his legacy will live on forever.
If you’re in the Charlotte area this weekend, you can check out the Bronco in person at the Charlotte International Auto Show. Also, you can head over to MyClassicGarage.com to read more about the entire Operation Fearless project. If you have a few minutes, we highly recommend watching the video that was made about the truck …