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1996 Ford Bronco - Mean Machine

Keith Jardine's Bad, Black Bronco

John Mata Jr
Apr 1, 2010
Photographers: John Mata Jr
We've shot some of the coolest rides owned by some of the toughest, and in this case, meanest MMA brawlers in the world and we have yet to run into a UFC fighter who wasn't behind the wheel of some type of beefed-up, vicious truck. When it came time to meet up with Keith "Mean 1" Jardine and his '96 Ford Bronco 4WD, we weren't disappointed with its do-anything look and don't-piss-me-off, blacked-out attitude. We don't see enough full-custom Broncos out there on the streets, so you can imagine the element of surprise we experienced when laying our eyes on this one-it was shock at first sight.
Photo 2/8   |   1996 Ford Bronco right Side Angle
The Bronco's build started the exact same way most others do, endless amounts of heavy brainstorming and a hell of a lot of sleepless nights spent searching for inspiration. Luckily, The Mean 1 was in good company while trying to get his project off the ground as Jaime Torrez, owner and head installer for Demented Customs, in Hobbs, New Mexico, was also along for the ride. The first step taken to build a ride truly fit for a full-time fighter was jacking the Bronco six inches upward with rock solid components from Pro Comp and Fox Racing. Sand To Street Off-Road, in Reno, Nevada, handled this portion of the Bronco's rebirth, and with it now half a foot higher in the sky, Hankook off-road rubber wrapped 20x10-inch RBP R95 wheels and now serve as the suspension's rough and rugged finishing touch.
While The Bronco was off getting its posture worked on, Jaime was anxiously sitting on the sidelines waiting for his crew's chance to apply a few creative cosmetic touches of their own. In what seemed like no time at all, the freshly-lifted truck was delivered to the Demented Customs compound, where Andrew Puente massaged the Blue Oval metal back to full health before Jaime sprayed the custom mixed House of Kolor black paint. The stock headlights and taillights were slightly tinted, and the original bumpers and door handles were restored before they were dipped in a fresh coat of black as well. A few items sport a flat-black complexion to further accentuate the shiny, saturated paintjob such as the grille shell, which has been sufficiently stuffed with a one-off RBP mesh grille. As soon as the Bronco was rolled out of the paint booth and its new skin was cut and buffed to a glistening shine, the Demented Customs gang devised a game plan for the interior and began gutting the cab.
At this point, it would be safe to assume that the Bronco's confines would end up being styled with the same in-your-face aggression as its exterior. To help kill all errant assumptions, Paul Reyes at Master Craft Upholstery, also in Hobbs, utilized black leather and suede Roadwire seatcovers to create a sinister seating arrangement and fresh LMC Truck carpet to complete the necessary in-cab textile renovation. An AVS steering wheel and a suede headliner add to the interior's attitude, but Jaime's custom center console fit to accommodate a 7-inch SAVV monitor and an Xbox 360, and the rear subwoofer enclosure definitely steals the show. The blistering sound given off by the Pioneer head unit and the dual 12-inch MTX Audio subs, JackHammer amps, and factory located 61/2-inch components must force any and all of the Bronco's passengers into an agonizing, sonic submission.
Once all of the modifications were finalized, the keys were finally handed over to Keith, who in turn has been knocking out onlookers as he maneuvers his new sinister driver around town. Special thanks go out to Tapout, RBP, Hankook Tires, MTX Audio, AVS, Roadwire, and SAVV for believing in the build. Much appreciation also goes out to Randy at Sand to Street, and to James and Jaime Torrez, Andrew, Chad, Zach, Elijah, and Aaron of Demented Customs for helping create this devastatingly mean machine.