Big Oly Bronco flips on its lid in Baja

Big Oly Flip

The off-road racer known as Big Oly, built by Bill Stroppe and Parnelli Jones, won the Baja 1000 in 1970 and 1971 as well as the Mint 400 in 1973. It became the most valuable Ford Bronco in the world when it sold for $1.87 million last year. This year, Big Oly headed back to Baja for the Mexican 1000 where, early in the race week, it ended up on its beautiful, downforce-producing roof. We spotted the news on a Fishgistics Instagram post that noted that the driver and co-drover were both OK, as the roll cage and harnesses did their job. It was flipped over and back on its way in no time.


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A post shared by Fishgistics (@fishgistics)

NORRA’s Mexican 1000 runs from April 29 to May 6 this year. While the Baja 1000 is run non-stop, the Mexican 1000 is run in stages, which creates a different vibe for the race but also presents unique challenges. Another way the Mexican 1000 separates itself from other off-road endurance races is its classes which separate vehicles into “Technology Eras” so that ’60s, ’70, and ’80s vehicles each compete with other entrants equipped with similar shocks, tire sizes, etc. This allows race fans to build tribute trucks, buggies, and 4×4 to experience the race as it was 25 or even 50 years ago. Of course, it’s not just tribute vehicles that are in attendance, as sometimes actual race-winning vehicles can be seen at speed in the desert, as was the case this year with the Big Oly Bronco.

1969 Ford Bronco Big Oly Mecum Parnelli Jones engine

The post from Fisgistics noted that “the driver suffered from a talent reservoir leak and it ran dry.” We can relate; many of us here have been in similar situations where we left the paddock without having near enough to begin with. Kidding aside, this is an off-road race truck, and while it is a shame to see a vehicle that’s survived so well thus far get dinged up, desert running is exactly what it was built to do. Show cars look great in museums, but Big Oly was meant to be pushed in the desert. The roof can certainly be rebuilt, and off-road race fans were clearly excited to see it racing in this Mexican 1000 just as Bill Stroppe and Parnelli Jones intended.

Get well soon, Big Oly!

1969 Ford Bronco Big Oly Mecum Parnelli Jones interior


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