Story by Linhbergh Nguyen

Family Bronco Built for Adventure

This Bronco is comfortable enough for the family, but tough enough to go just about anywhere.

The story is the same for a plethora of overlanders – as young adults, we all approached life hard and fast. And as the years started to tick by, life, also, came at us hard and fast. Certain lifestyles had to change; from weekends at the bars and clubs to weekends spent at kid’s birthday parties, from track days to baby showers. But the burning desire of tinkering and adventuring never faded. Trucks replaced the sport compacts. Trucks can carry the kids, haul from the hardware store whatever the weekend’s home improvement project needs, and take families to places that a normal city car would never travel. That’s what this 2022 Bronco does for John Pangilinan and his family.

Pangilinan’s been working in the automotive scene for decades, and he’s been lucky enough to have worked with automotive brands for years building different vehicles in their respective lineups for the automotive industry’s biggest aftermarket showcase, SEMA Show. As he’s gotten older, and as his family grew, his choice in vehicles has changed.

The green Bronco accelerates quickly down the beach.

The green Bronco, with bike on the back, parks on the beach with the top down.

This award-winning 2022 Ford Bronco is a sun-bathing beauty while on family adventures at Pismo Beach, California.

Revamping a Classic

Life always has its own ebbs and flows. Each season brings something different. Each passing year, an older leaf falls, and a new one springs up. The days of being a spring chicken that zips around town in their slammed-to-the-ground sports compact have disappeared into the mists of time. Scraping speed bumps are no longer couture. But scraping rocks? Yup. It’s hotter than how the 1990s have made a flaming hot comeback.

The days of being a spring chicken that zips around town in their slammed-to-the-ground sports compact have disappeared into the mists of time.

The Pangilinan family sits on the beach next to the green Bronco.

The Bronco is as comfortable on the sand as it is in the parking lot.

So, when Ford announced that they would be reviving the iconic Bronco, he was genuinely excited by the news. It checked off many of the boxes for what he was looking for in a new vehicle. It was beyond capable out of the box, there’s aftermarket support for it, and most importantly, it looked incredible.

When Ford announced that they would be reviving the iconic Bronco, he was genuinely excited by the news.

Pangilinan, in a hoodie and hat, pulls the fridge out of the back of the Bronco.

Pangilinan enjoys the utility of the Ford Bronco as it means never going without what’s needed, espeically when enjoying at day at the beach.

He placed his order the morning after pre-orders opened. Then after some fiddling around with all the options, he officially decided on the Outer Banks model with the 2.7L EcoBoost engine, LUX package, and a couple of the off-road parts that were offered from the factory.

Pangilinan’s original plan was to have two project vehicles debut at the 2021 SEMA Show, but unfortunately, the second project was totaled by the transport company. This incident instead forced Pangilinan to focus on the Bronco build, which ultimately helped due to the tight deadline he faced after taking delivery.

The interior of the Bronco features black technology and tan leather seats.

The seats were reupholstered in tan Katzkin leather, as were the armrests and door panels.

Building a Dream Rig

In the weeks leading up to SEMA, communication with Ford and the aftermarket partners and shops became key. Ford kept him in the loop on when he could expect to have the Bronco delivered. He made the tough decision to change his original hard top order to a soft top to speed up the process. Once he received the build date via email and estimated the arrival to the dealership, he had all he needed to commit to finishing the build for SEMA Show where it made its debut with Toyo Tires in their Treadpass area.

“The 6th generation Bronco community has been awesome, and I’ve met some incredible people through the process. Guys like Ben from BadxBronco helped considerably with helping to stay up to date with Bronco info and providing tips on how to potentially get the vehicle sooner,” said Pangilinan.

The Bronco kitchen setup features an electric kettle, one-burner stove, and black Goose Gear drawers.

Goose Gear’s signature tailgate table is a useful addition.

The vehicle was delivered to the dealership, and once in his possession, it was a little more than three weeks before the start of SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Three weeks is an incredibly short amount of time to get any vehicle “show ready.” There was so much to be done with little time to spare.

Three weeks is an incredibly short amount of time to get any vehicle ‘show ready.’ there was so much to be done with little time to spare.

Deadline Pressure

Luckily, this wasn’t Pangilinan’s first foray into the extremely tight timelines of the show. While he was waiting for the vehicle to arrive, he created a build schedule and communicated with all the brands and partners on the build. Pangilinan has garnered wonderful relationships within the industry over the years, and each brand offered their support, including shipping parts before the vehicle arrived so it could be installed quickly.

The rear plate system, icebox slide-out, and tailgate table are a compact camp kitchen setup.

The Goose Gear rear plate system, icebox slide-out, and tailgate table allow for a compact camp kitchen setup.

Pangilinan finished the Bronco and drove it into SEMA Show on time, had a wonderful few days at the show, and proceeded to win a Ford Design award. All in all, not too shabby for a three-week build, right?

From SEMA to Car Seats

This Bronco’s build philosophy was simple: family and performance. Pangilinan wanted something reliable that he could drive every day, yet still be able to take the whole family to harder-to-reach places that the country has to offer.

“Ford really did a great job on the design and options of the vehicle,” shared Pangilinan, “so there really wasn’t too much more that I needed to do to make it look good.”

The open top of the Bronco reveals tan leather interiors with two black car seats in the back.

A pair of Diono Radian 3QXT+ child seats have lower sides that help the kids get in and out easier.

He kept the engine stock. It’s now a quite universal fact for overlanders that if you want the most reliable vehicle, you don’t touch the engine. Keep it as stock as possible, and no problems should arise. He did, however, add a Borla exhaust to help the EcoBoost breathe a little better, gain just a smidge of power, and sound just a bit throatier.

Pangilinan had his family’s brand-new truck painted in the classic Bronco Boxwood Green. And to tie the whole classic vibe together, Pangilinan went with the vintage inspired Fifteen52 Analog HD 17×8.5 wheels which he then wrapped with a set of Toyo Tires Open Country ATIII 35×12.5 R17. He painted the wheels and the front grille white to help tie-in the whole retro look he was going for. Also, an Eibach PRO-TRUCK Stage 2 Coilover replaced the already robust stock suspension system to provide more clearance for the meaty tires.

Two small children stand arm in arm in front of the Bronco.

Pangilinan’s littles stand in front of the paint-matched front grill to go with the retro theme.

Interior Comfort for the Family

On the inside, he had the brand new, barely sat on front and rear seats reupholstered in tan Katzkin leather along with the armrest and door panels. The green and tan combination reinforced the classic Bronco vibes that he was going for. He also installed a Nextbase 422 dash cam, because, well, in this day and age, you really can’t leave home without one. Plus, some insurance companies give a discount for having a dash cam. The factory B&O sound system already sounded great, so he kept it intact as it pairs well with the massive 12-inch LCD Capacitive Touchscreen.

With the top down, Pangilinan drives down the beach with the two children in the back seat.

In the back, he had Goose Gear install a rear plate system, icebox slide-out for the Dometic CFX3 45 powered cooler, and their signature tailgate table. A Goal Zero 1500X portable battery powers his cooler when at the campsite. He utilizes a Pelican Cargo BX50 for any miscellaneous storage, but typically packs it with camp pantry goodies for those weekends away with the family.

One Tough Family Bronco

The exterior of the truck, aside from the paint job, remains relatively stock, which was a conscious decision to retain the factory look without over-accessorizing the build.  The Ford heavy-duty modular bumper of the Bronco features a Baja Designs Fog Pocket Light kit. Pangilinan also elected to swap the Outer Banks grille to a Badlands grille, which got a coat of fresh white paint.  Not only did he like the look of this front grille more, but it also matches the one on the family’s KidTrax Bronco, which he’d painted to match his full-size Bronco.

Pangilinan wearing a black jacket, sunglasses, and a black beanie, drives.

“The Bronco was built with the family in mind,” Pangilinan said. “While it’s not the most practical family vehicle, it is a very fun one.”

Pangilinan recently swapped out his older child seats. The original seats he owned had a high bolster and it was difficult to fit the kids into the seats due to the small space in the rear. He installed a pair of Diono Radian 3QXT+seats which are not only extremely safe but have lower sides that help the kids get in and out easier. To top it off, they look good and are also comfortable.

Incorporating Accessories

The cherry on top of Pangilinan’s retro-inspired Bronco was the addition of a Super 73 S2 electric bike, which he had customized to the Bronco’s Boxwood Green paint scheme with white accents. He chose the S2 as it had a vintage ‘café racer’ look that matched the overall theme of the build. Pangilinan’s brother helped to design the livery of the bike and the outcome is completely striking. Not only does the bike look great attached on the Bronco, but the family loves taking rides on it.

The cherry on top … was the addition of a Super 73 S2 electric bike which he customized to the Bronco’s Boxwood Green paint scheme…

A man and a small child ride an electric bike on the beach.

Since SEMA Show, Pangilinan has taken his Bronco and his family to places within California and Arizona. But as of now, his favorite place he’s been to has been Pismo Beach. He says, “Nothing beats having the top down feeling the offshore breeze with the ocean right next to you. Sand is also just slightly easier to clean than dirt, mud, and dust.”

What’s Really Important

“I’ve found that the destinations themselves aren’t as important to the kids as they are able to have fun doing the simple things. Collecting seashells near the ocean, climbing on rocks or finding sticks on hiking trails to use as a play sword. As they get older, I’m sure I’ll take them further out for more extended trips, but for now, they are content making memories practically anywhere.”

I’ve found that the destinations themselves aren’t as important to the kids as they are able to have fun doing the simple things.

Pangilinan, his wife, and their two children pose next to the Bronco.

Pangilinan and his family enjoy the versatility of the Ford Bronco. It will provide them with many family adventures in the future.

In the days of yore, partying, parking lot meets, and track days brought contentment and happiness. But as the years passed, life brought us to different paths. Seasons change. Time wipes away the old and brings in the new. Priorities shift. We gained responsibilities. We are much older chickens now, destined to become a delicious stock. Some of us now have chicks of our own, and they’re our everything—we live our lives for their future and happiness. Sometimes, that requires some sacrifice. But in some very specific situations, those sacrifices can be a wonderful compromise of a family’s wants and needs. Pangilinan’s Bronco is a prime example of just that.

Life always has its own ebbs and flows. And when the wind blows just right, those ebbs flow just perfectly.


2021 Ford Bronco Outer Banks 2.7L 4-Door

Engine: 2.7L Ecoboost, 4WD

Suspension: Eibach PRO-TRUCK Coilover System (Stage 2) Suspension

Wheels & Tires: Fifteen52 Analog HD 17×8.5 – White F+R; Toyo Tires Open Country ATIII 35×12.5 R17

Interior Accessories: Katzkin Leather and Upholstery; Diono Radian 3QXT+ Car Seats; Next Base 422 Dash Camera; B&O Sound System; Pelican Cargo BX50; Goose Gear Rear Plate System, Ice Box, and Tailgate Table; Dometic Powered CFX3 45; Scosche Accessories; Goal Zero Portable Battery and Solar Panels

Exterior Accessories: Custom Boxwood Green and Alpine White Paint; Baja Designs Fog Pocket; Ford heavy-duty modular bumper

Editor’s Note: A version of this story previously appeared in the TREAD July/August 2022 issue.

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