Robert Fick’s 1995 Ford Bronco, on display at Autorama 2023, has been modified close to original specifications and is set to appear in 2024’s Autorama show.

Robert Fick’s 1995 Ford Bronco, on display at Autorama 2023, has been modified close to original specifications and is set to appear in 2024’s Autorama show.

Photo provided by Robert Fick

Former firefighter builds time capsule Bronco

By: Dean Vaglia | Macomb Chronicle | Published February 21, 2024


MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Building a car is always a challenge. From the monetary cost to the hours spent hammering out issues only to find a new one, the ability of seeing a project car through is an achievement of commitment to one’s vision. The vision changes from car owner to car owner, ranging from high-powered muscle builds to fabulous lowriders.

For Robert Fick of Macomb Township, his vision is a remastering of a 1990s classic. His Autorama-showcased ride is a 1995 Ford Bronco built to look like it rolled off a showroom floor.

It’s the second Bronco Fick has owned. The former Macomb Township firefighter originally owned one he bought in Florida but later sold it.

“I had a dream that someone wanted to buy it for $19,000, and the next day, some guy wanted to look at my Bronco,” Fick said. “But he didn’t have that much money.”

Fick was looking to get a new Bronco since selling the old one, and the opportunity arose after he was involved in a four-car pileup on Hall Road.

Bronco two was found in Wisconsin, where it ended up after traveling north from Florida. Since then, Fick has embarked on an eight-year journey bringing the SUV into its new condition.

“The motor was rebuilt to original spec,” Fick said. “Transmission was done. I had the rear quarter panel replaced because it was rusted. The windshield ended up cracking, so I had that replaced. I’ve done the brakes, the exhaust system. Lately, I’ve just been getting it ready for Autorama.”

Turning back the clock on the Bronco has not been easy. Even something as simple as getting a windshield fixed is a multistep ordeal.

“It’s been one step forward, three steps backwards sometimes with this vehicle,” Fick said. “Safelite was coming out to replace the windshield, and I had it in the garage all ready to go. They take some trim off and go, ‘Oh I can’t do it. It has some rust around there. I’m not supposed to do it.’ I’m like, ‘What?’ So I ended up breaking the windshield and fixing the rust myself and I called them back. The one guy goes, ‘Oh, this is a pretty old truck. I’ve never done this before, I don’t know how to do it’ … So he called another person from Safelite, and they put it in together and it was fine.”

Another moment where the Bronco’s age caused a headache for Fick came when the transmission was shifting poorly. What seemed at first to be a transmission issue — which led to Fick replacing the transmission — wound up being an issue with a sensor connected to the speedometer.

Fick’s vision for the Bronco has been showcased before; first, at 2023 Autorama. It is set to return to Huntington Place this March. The car itself will remain a staple of Fick’s garage, where it has since been joined by a modern Bronco in the same “electric red” paint.

“Everybody seems to like the old Bronco,” Fick said. “I get people, like last year’s Autorama (saying), ‘Oh, I love the old Bronco, but I hate the new one,’ and I’m like I’m not going to tell him I got the new one I saved up for. I’m, “Yeah, they’re cool. Yeah!’”

Autorama runs at Huntington Place in Detroit from March 1-3.