Gateway Bronco takes the road less traveled to the top of the restomod 4×4 market

Gateway Bronco

There are Bronco restomods, and there are Gateway Bronco restomods. That’s a notable difference for enthusiasts of first-generation Ford Broncos who refuse to settle for anything less than the very best in style, comfort, safety, and performance. And the difference maker is Seth Burgett.

Burgett, who started Gateway Bronco in southern Illinois in 2017, grew up with grease on his hands, cars on the brain, and a desire to create something to improve people’s quality of life. It was an honorable goal that kept him focused on the health industry—instead of the auto industry—for years and resulted in the engineer’s invention of a medical robot to navigate wires into the brain and heart. Burgett later invented Yurbuds sports headphones, which quickly grew to account for 40 percent of the market, then decided to sell the company to JBL.

Seth Burgett. Gateway Bronco

It was then—during a self-imposed year off in 2016 to decide what to do next—when Burgett decided to return to his automotive roots, and it was the women in his family who unknowingly helped steer him towards creating the best restomod Broncos on the road.

The road to Gateway

The son of school teachers, Burgett says he spent every summer of his youth devoted to a building project of some sort, and by age 12 he was running a small-engine repair business out of his parents’ wood shed. That eventually led to ar repair and restoration.

“I had a huge passion,” Burgett says, “for turning something that looked gnarly into something beautiful.”

Gateway Bronco

Burgett often started with barn-find cars and had a particular fondness for Broncos, which decades later led to a fateful spring road trip in a vintage Bronco, with his wife riding shotgun, to attend a 50th anniversary gathering of Broncos. Later that summer his daughter expressed interest in a coast-to-coast Bronco trip, and the two “learned that Bronco inside and out.” It became clear that when it came to driving enjoyment—beyond the coolness of doing it in a classic automobile—first-generation Broncos left something to be desired in overall comfort, safety, and performance. Burgett decided to do something about it, and Gateway Bronco was born soon after.

Burgett says his goal was “to create the world’s greatest vintage Ford Bronco in terms of driving performance, safety, and pure enjoyment.” To make it happen, he invested heavily in market research, engineering, and production, and the innovative results are astonishing. Proof of that: Although they aren’t cheap, a steady stream of Gateway Broncos continue to roll out of the company’s 60,000-square-foot facility in Hamel, Illinois, located 35 miles northeast of St. Louis and not far from old Route 66.

What sets a Gateway Bronco apart?

Much like Ford’s iconic Mustang, which famously boasted “a steed for every need,” Gateway Bronco’s lineup of revitalized Ford Broncos aims to cater to a diverse range of preferences and lifestyles.

The original 1966–77 Bronco was celebrated for its versatility as a Sport Utility Vehicle that could be adapted for various outdoor adventures and inner-city tasks. Buyers of that era could select from Roadster, Wagon, and Sports Utility pickup configurations, with Ford later introducing a Sport model and a Ranger package that added comfort and convenience features.

Gateway Bronco

Decades later, the first-gen Bronco has been resurrected and reimagined by the skilled craftsmen at Gateway Bronco, breathing new life into this American legend.

The Gateway lineup includes three distinct, customizable two-door Broncos: the Fuelie Edition™, which uses an original factory chassis and suspension and includes a three-year warranty, starts at $180,000; the Coyote Edition™, which uses a more modern four-link suspension front and rear and comes with a five-year warranty, starts at $250,000; and the new LUXE-GT Edition™, which has a proprietary frame developed in Australia by Premcar Ltd. and offers a seven-year warranty, starts at $400,000. An all-electric LUXE-GT™ starts at $565,000.

For those who are looking for something completely different, there’s even a custom four-door Bronco option starting at $325,000.

Each model comes equipped with a new Ford Coyote 5.0-liter engine that provides 460 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The LUXE-GT™ offers 0–60 mph acceleration in 5.3 seconds.

All Gateway Broncos can be tailored to individual preferences with personalized features, colors, and accessories, making them accessible to a wide range of budgets and use. Deciding what you want—using Gateway’s 3-D configurator—is part of the fun.

Gateway starts with new, Ford-licensed reproduction Bronco bodies and uses all-new parts throughout. The seams are welded to reinforce the structure before those seams are coated in sealant and the entire underside is sprayed in polyurethane. The TIG-welding process takes weeks and results in a more rigid body, helping keep the door and tailgate gaps tight and uniform.

For the LUXE-GT™, Premcar started with the newest body-on-frame architecture available, and it created proprietary crossmembers to get a narrower chassis to fit the classic Bronco body. The tall, boxed frame rails help increase the chassis stiffness, which is up 70 percent compared to the stock reproduction piece used in the Coyote Edition™. The chassis also includes crush structures front and rear to absorb crash damage. Although it was engineered in Australia, the new chassis is assembled at an ISO 9000 facility by Michigan’s RLE International, which previously has lent its engineering expertise to companies like Fisker and Rivian.

The LUXE-GT’s™ suspension, while looking like a modern chassis at first glance, features unique control arms and geometry. Premcar was also tasked with developing an antilock braking system that integrates with traction control and stability control systems to truly set the LUXE-GT™ apart from the rest of the high-end restomod 4×4 competition. Even with all-terrain tires, the braking system affords the LUXE-GT™ an impressive stopping time; Gateway recorded the halt from 60 to 0 mph at 143 feet, putting it in spitting distance of a new Land Rover Defender 90. That kind of performance, along with the ability to keep the vehicle pointed where the driver wants, even under panic braking situations, is an important selling point.

And, since every aspect of the build is handled in-house using Gateway’s assembly line process in which employees focus on specialized roles, the production time from deposit to delivery is only about 12 months.

Gateway is on schedule to deliver 75 Broncos in 2024.

Gateway Bronco

How does it drive?

With all of that attention to detail, Gateway Broncos provide a smooth, comfortable ride. The LUXE-GT™, in particular, delivers on Ford’s original promise to make the Bronco a 4×4 sports car, this time with much more modern expectations.

Henry Catchpole, host of The Driver’s Seat, tested Gateway’s “Big Sur Love” LUXE-GT™ and came away thoroughly impressed with both the Bronco’s look and its performance.

Gateway Bronco

“Wherever you park it, it looks like it’s been art-directed into place, and wherever you drive it, people smile and want to know more,” he says. Catchpole later adds, “It’s quicker than it has any right to be … And the gearbox, provided you leave it in its sportier setting, means you’ve got decent response from the engine. Wow!”

While other companies offer high-quality Broncos, Gateway has set itself apart by providing the exact vehicle that Burgett envisioned before taking the plunge six years ago: a reliable, safe, fun, rugged, luxurious driving machine. In other words, the world’s greatest vintage Ford Bronco.

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    I generally have a good idea of what will make a good collectable. But the early Bronco was one I never anticipated.

    I grew up around these things and even drove one regularly. Most were rust our heaps and really just a bad CJ5. The one I drove was like new and it just was not comfortable.

    But again being that odd one out and different has paid off for these to be popular.

    Add to that a good recent supply of repo parts.

    My heart is still with the 1972 Blazer Cheyenne my neighbor had. That was a great truck and with the roof off a lot of fun. But the Bronco is getting the attentions now.

    Sorry. I can’t imagine spending a 1/4 million on a basically rebuilt Bronco. You could buy a nice restored Bronco & make a few changes & have just as capable vehicle that you wouldn’t worry so much about getting it dirty or scratched up for a whole lot less money

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