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Jay Leno's restored 1968 Ford Bronco hides a GT500-size secret

This isn't your average vintage Bronco -- it has a 5.2-liter supercharged V8 under the hood.

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Sleeper of the year.

Daniel Golson/Roadshow

Where else would Jay Leno and Ford debut a totally restored 1968 Bronco than the SEMA show? It's a wonderful exercise showing off how numerous partners worked together to bring this icon back to life with new sheetmetal, a new chassis and a sparkling paint job.

Oh, and there's a 5.2-liter supercharged V8 from the Shelby GT500 under the hood. I almost forgot to mention that because this might be the sleeper of the year, thanks to its nonchalant looks.

Leno has owned this Bronco for years after fellow late night comic, Craig Ferguson, gifted him the SUV. However, it sat unrestored and in need of a lot of love in the comedian's garage until earlier this year when Ford and SEMA Garage approached Leno with a plan. That plan included plopping Ford's most powerful factory engine into the SUV and marrying the whole thing with a five-speed manual transmission.

Of course, it wasn't as easy as an engine swap. Ford tapped Bronco licensee Kincer Chassis to create a new chassis and LGE-CTS Motorsports mapped out new sheet metal and body modifications and put the final product together. At the heart of it all is the 760-horsepower V8.

Plenty of other modern engineering is afoot. The brakes come from Wilwood, there are Fox coilover shocks, a modern transfer case beefs up its off-road prowess and a host of other parts make this a star SEMA build. The interior gets a modern makeover with new gauges, leather upholstery and a new Sony audio system. From the outside, though, this looks like another restored Bronco finished in a lovely blue color with white accents and a set of steel wheels wrapped in rugged BFGoodrich tires. This isn't your grandfather's Bronco.

Not so coincidentally, the build comes just a day after Ford gave us our first look at the reborn 2020 Bronco in off-road-racing form. The Blue Oval is eager to keep the throttle down and remind the public it has a new Bronco coming -- and helping build a GT500-powered one is surely one way to do that.

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