Let’s start with the obvious: anyone willing to spend $800,000 on a completely restored and upgraded Ford Bronco has already acquired a few interesting vehicles. No one picks such an obscure truck as their first special car purchase. The person willing to spend this much has tried everything else and decided they’d like something different.
Despite the plethora of restomod Broncos that have sprung onto the market over the last decade, Gateway’s latest is surprisingly unique. It asks: what if you combine the off-the-shelf Coyote V8 and 10-speed auto that propels most restomod builds with a new stiffened chassis by Kincer, finely tuned suspension components, and carbon-fiber body panels? The result is a truck that may look like an old Ford Bronco but feels like anything but.
The Gateway Bronco’s strength doesn’t come from its pricey aftermarket parts. Instead, it excels because of how well these chosen components work to create an enjoyable and unique experience. However, is it different enough to justify its $800,000 price?
Gateway Bronco is an Illinois-based shop founded by serial entrepreneur and engineer Seth Burgett, focusing exclusively on Ford’s vintage off-roader. While my tester represents Gateway flexing its manufacturing muscles, the builder offers three tiers of restoration and varying price points. Each build is completed in around six months.
Its “entry-level” offering is the Fuelie, a truck that starts at $180,000 but retains its original chassis alongside four-wheel disk brakes. Above it sits the Coyote, which starts at $250,000 and adds a new Kincer chassis and modern tech such as active ride control. The $400,000 Luxe-GT sits at the top of the Gateway food chain as its ground-up re-imagined truck.
My Luxe-GT tester’s price jump from $400,000, about average for a boutique Bronco, to $800,000 is mainly a result of its carbon bodywork. Mechanically, it’s identical to a standard Luxe-GT, meaning you get all-wheel drive, independent front suspension, electronic stability control, and large disk brakes. Flat out, it reaches 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, although that’s hardly its primary goal.
One of the unfortunate realities of the restomod world is that despite what some of these trucks cost, their driving experience rarely backs up their hefty price tags. Some refuse to go in a straight line without constant steering inputs, others shake you with their stiff ride, while a few lean so much in the bends that you’ll fear they might tip over. It’s what you get when you fit a nearly 60-year-old truck with too much power and a mish-mash of aftermarket parts.
It took maybe a mile in the Gateway to realize it’s one of the good ones. For starters, its suspension isn’t lifted to the moon, nor are its knobby tires massively oversized. Coupled with a compliant suspension setup, the GT gracefully handled Los Angeles’ imperfect roads. Although tackling a highway in a roofless vintage truck will never be ideal, puttering around town at low revs is properly fun.
It may develop 460 horsepower from its naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8, but this Ford Bronco is happiest between 30 and 60 mph. That’s quick enough to feel some of that Coyote power and rumbly engine note without getting up to speeds where the limitations of its six-decade-old design become apparent.
I immediately drove to my favorite mountain road to see how the Gateway behaved when pushed. As the bends tightened and I picked up speed, this truck flexed how well-calibrated its suspension is, confidently tackling turns at modern speeds. Gateway is still fine-tuning this truck, so although it still leaned quite a bit in the tightest curves, the builder is already working to dial this out.
Because it counts on Ford’s well-known 10-speed automatic to send power to all four wheels, it moves through the gears quickly. While cruising, it shifts almost imperceptively while keeping the engine at quiet-neighborhood-friendly low revs. Should you dare press the right pedal further, it jumps to the lowest gear as the distant rumble becomes a blaring scream. It’s muscle-car loud, but thankfully, only when provoked.
Although great for cruising, its steering is vague and has notable play on center. On the other hand, its brakes are responsive and nicely matched for its power level. Even under heavy braking, the truck tracks straight and inspires confidence. Much thought has gone into making the Luxe-GT more than just a pretty truck.
Up in the canyons, its seats were the greatest limiting factor. They’re 60s-sized, meaning a bit small while offering no lateral support. So, while the truck may grip nicely through bends, you must rely on the center armrest to keep yourself centered. That said, Gateway offers multiple seating options, and a twisty road won’t be this truck’s stomping ground.
This tester featured an excellent denim interior, which feels great to the touch and showcases a unique take on a custom build. Sure, Gateway could’ve covered everything in leather, but where’s the fun in that?
Contrasting the blue seats are brown leather-wrapped armrests, center console, door cards, and a body-color dashboard. Its A/C controls, air vents, and window switches are finished in metal, giving this truck a high-quality feel while retaining its vintage look. The only modern piece of tech is its central touch screen. It can connect via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto but can be hard to see under direct sunlight due to its position. According to Gateway, this isn’t a problem when the truck is optioned with a roof, which practically everyone does.
It’s tough not to fall for this truck solely because of how good it looks. You don’t have to explain its appeal despite what its body is made of or how much it costs. With its white paint and colorful stripes, it would be at home in any beach town, and even in the few hours I had it, multiple people came up to me to ask about it.
Because it isn’t unusually tall with massive tires, it retains its vintage feel, only disrupted by its modern LED lights. Some components, like its larger brakes, are hidden behind a set of polished wheels, meaning that unless you look closely, the GT comes across mainly as a restored vintage truck, not something entirely new.
It’s worth circling back to this truck’s main differentiating factor and most expensive feature: its carbon body. Visually, it’s stunning. Even small components like its fender flares and slotted front grille feature the lightweight material, all painted with only a few steel components sprinkled in.
That said, the extensive use of carbon doesn’t overhaul the driving experience. It may be lighter, but given that an original Ford Bronco is already quite a small vehicle, the difference isn’t immediately felt on the road. Buying a carbon-bodied Luxe GT is like shelling out double or triple for a platinum Rolex Daytona over a stainless steel model. They may look the same, offer identical complications, and even matching movements, but using rare materials is often enough to motivate those who want something truly rare.
Like with expensive watches, however, knowing that you’ve got the priciest and most complex version of a standard product has its appeal to some, especially those who’ve already owned a bit of everything.
This brings us to the original question: is the carbon Luxe-GT different enough to justify its $800,000 price? Practically, no. Given that it’s mechanically identical to the $400,000 model, it’s hard to explain the price jump, especially given how nice of a drive these components create without needing a lightweight body. But then again, an $800,000 truck is hardly a practical purchase.
This Gateway Ford Bronco is the truck for those who want something truly different, even if what makes it unique won’t be visually apparent to all. It’s an “if you know, you know” approach to resto modding, which, in the world of limited-production vehicles, often makes all the difference.