Photos by Hyundai Motor America
Photos by Luke Munnell for Super Street Magazine
We are thrilled to announce that WD-40 Co. is teaming up with Aaron Vaccar and The Vaccar Co. on a resto-mod project that blends old a new; the iconic 1966 Ford Bronco-the vehicle's debut year-updated with a twin-trubo EcoBoost drivetrain!
The project, dubbed the "Boosted Bronco", will make it's debut at the 2017 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Tuesday, Oct. 31st, in the WD-40 Brand booth (#62129, outside the South Hall), and will be auctioned off in 2018 to benefit SEMA Cares. Through SEMA Cares, proceeds will benefit Childhelp, an organization that provides services to abused and neglected children, and the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund, which offers scholarships to students entering the automotive aftermarket. This will be WD-40 Co.'s eight year in partnership with SEMA. To date, WD-40 Co. has raised more than $800,000 for these charities through vehicle restorations and auctions.
Vaccar was selected as the vehicle builder after an extensive search by WD-40 Co. Vaccar’s affinity for the WD-40 brand, foresight for putting WD-40 brand products to use in the build and creativity in developing the vehicle concept stood out above the rest, according to Tim Lesmeister, vice president of marketing at WD-40 Co. For Vaccar, the build is a passion project.
“The WD-40/SEMA Cares Boosted Bronco allows us to pay tribute to traditional hot-rodding standards of execution and finish with a first-of-its-kind vehicle,” said Aaron Vaccar. “The EcoBoost drivetrain will give the cult classic a modern spin and turbocharged power and efficiency for the future. There could not be a more iconic brand than WD-40 brand to partner with on a vehicle sure to generate excitement from Bronco, off-road and automotive enthusiasts nationwide.”
The color scheme of the vehicle is inspired by the famous blue-and-yellow can of WD-40 Multi-Use Product. In addition to this product, several WD-40 Specialist products will be crucial in the build process, including WD-40 Specialist Superior Performance True Multi-Purpose Grease, Spray & Stay Gel Lubricant, Rust Release Penetrant Spray and the new WD-40 Specialist Industrial-Strength Cleaner & Degreaser, which has a water-based, non-aerosol formula.
“We have a long history of supporting the automotive industry with products that help auto pros get the job done and through our partnership with SEMA,” said Lesmeister. “This project allows WD-40 Co. to continue that tradition of support for the automotive industry, aftermarket professionals and auto enthusiasts in their restoration and customization projects.”
Build partners that have donated product for use on the Bronco include AIRAID, AMSOIL, AutoMeter, B&M, BASF, Blood & Grease, Detroit Steel Wheel, Diode Dynamics, Flowmaster, General Tire, Grip Royal, Mishimoto, POR-15, The Club, VMS Racing and XS Power.
Check back for updates! #BoostedBronco
We've got 1 engine to swap, but 2 to pull! The into picture shows the end result of a somewhat repetitive process, as the Transit Connect and the Focus ST engine bays are quite similar, with familiar connections from bay-to-bay.
Last time that we checked in, the Focus ST had been prepped for the start of the "pull" process. With just a few major mounts disconnected, we had an empty-bay!
After the pull; repeat! After removing the Transit Connect front fascia, we itemized (made a master list) of all important connections, and then proceeded with second engine pull.
Vaccar's Master Garage might have the Transit Connect engine bay looking a little lonely, but it's also ready to make a home for the Focus ST drivetrain!
Transit Connect acquired? Check. Focus ST acquired? Check, check! Nothing left to do, but dig in! Actually, we had to slow ourselves down for a moment, and take the steps to follow carefully. While we're thrilled to be the first ones to attempt the TC-ST swap, we wanted to follow some protocol. First on the lift was the Focus, and before we yanked that motor out of the engine bay, we made sure to to clearly label many of the connections and electrical - complete with corresponding list. Regardless of how confident we are with the platform, this is going to potentially save some headache later on...when it's in a entirely new engine bay.
It became a true team effort between both Vaccar and our customer to seek out the best possible donor vehicle for the Transit Connect swap. Admittedly, we first consider simply pulling the drivetrain from wrecked vehicle – but, the more we considered the potential needs and requirements of parts for the proper swap (and to save time and money), we started pursuing the purchase of an entire, running, vehicle. Once the choice to find a “full” vehicle was made, it also made sense to obtain a vehicle that boasted the best of vehicle options – bonuses, if you will.
The specimen that was ultimately narrowed down and chosen, located in West Virginia, couldn't have been better find! It was a running and driving 2014 Focus ST, honestly with somewhat minimum front-end damage from the wreck that rendered it a salvage vehicle. It also features a beautiful black leather Recaro seat set, a fairly good condition set of ST wheels, and more. The customer was even able to have a forum-friend, locally check out the vehicle prior to us making the drive with our rig and to do our own inspection.
Once we loaded up the new donor vehicle, and headed back to Vaccar's Master Garage in Florida, we were ready to prep the shop for things to get serious. Upon arrival, we did an initial inspection, as we started to 'unpack' the vehicle of all the parts and pieces. It became apparent that he previous owner of this ST had it equipped with various aftermarket piece, many of which are some nice add-ons that will transfer over to the new chassis - some of those items included upgraded intercooler pipes, aftermarket rear engine mount, bypass valve, and documentation of what might also be a nice clutch set.
At this point, we knew we'd need to take special care with evaluating and handling of parts of the drivetrain from a vehicle that at one point had a owner who may or may not have abused it (sadly, a factor to consider when we spot aftermarket modifications).
Does Vaccar specialize in Ford Transit vans? Well, perhaps we do. When a new customer contacted us in mid-2016 from Denver, CO, seeking the guidance for a unique project platform, his well-informed hunch was true; we have in fact had our hands on a couple of these awesome vans.
It (our affair with Ford's newest Transit Connect) all started at the 2012 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, when our team was welcomed behind closed doors with a select group of other industry car builders. The task laid before us was to design, pitch, and build bespoke vans for their '13 SEMA display. Fast forward, we arrive in Las Vegas the following year with a highly customized, pre-production (then) Ford Transit Connect vans!
Since then, we've re-worked this platform a couple of times over - mostly restyling concepts, with some custom chassis and performance work as well. However, our new friend from the Mid-West was about to rock our world with a bold, new idea. What started in conversations as the desire for a mildly sporty, manual transmission conversion, quickly turned into the beginning of the very first Ford Transit Connect ST (concept)!
On our way home from SEMA-2016 in Las Vegas, we meet up with our new friend/customer in Colorado to pick up the project vehicle; a freshly acquired 2014 Ford Transit wagon. We now plan to the journey with the world, as the build unfolded at our Florida facility, Vaccar's Master Garage - feel free to watch and interact on social media with the hashtag #TransitConnectST, @Vaccar / @VaccarOfficial