Do you remember your first car? Maybe it was brand new and shiny. Maybe it was the family car that became yours as a hand-me-down. Maybe it was a clunker or was very dependable.
Whatever the case, that first car is often a partner in a lifelong love affair.
Pickering resident Doug Roshong's partner in this man and machine romance is a 1977 Ford Bronco.
It became his in 1981 after he got his driver’s license at the age of 15.
Roshong’s parents found the Bronco while vacationing in Colorado. We can only imagine the excitement that this young man felt as his eyes fell upon a baby blue Ford Bronco making its way up his driveway.
It was love at first sight. "It was my first vehicle,” Roshong said. “It was what I wanted since I was 10-years-old.”
After owning it for a few years, Roshong decided to add his own personal touch to the vehicle. He had a custom paint job applied to the exterior, lifted the suspension and added custom wheels, removed the original 302 cubic inch engine and replaced it with a high performance 351 cubic inch power plant.
This was now truly his dream ride.
In 1987 he sold his beloved Bronco. This was a decision that he immediately regretted.
Through the years Roshong made numerous attempts to buy it back. His attempts were repeatedly rejected by the Bronco’s owner at the time.
"To this day, I can't tell you why I sold it,” Roshong said. “I tried to buy it back but he loved it too and wanted to keep it in his family. He gave it to his son and then he took it up to Michigan.”
Throughout the years Roshong kept track of the Bronco's whereabouts. He never gave up hope that they would one day be reunited.
That day finally came in 2013 when the man who had bought it finally agreed to sell it back to him.
During the 26 years that had passed since it left Roshong's possession, the Bronco had fallen into a bad condition and it wasn't even drivable. In fact, it no longer had an engine.
It was in need of a total restoration. "I started looking for places that could restore it," Roshong said. "I looked online and called a lot of places that restored Broncos."
The search to find the right palace to restore his first ride was long and extensive. That search ended, however, one day while looking at a four-wheel-drive magazine.
He came across an ad for Wilburn's Custom Broncos in Indiana. "I called and talked to them about what I wanted to do with it.” Roshong said. “We talked for like two hours.”
So he and his wife Shelia loaded it up, and off to Jamestown, Indiana they wen.
They left the Bronco in the care of Wilburn's where it stayed for 11 months while being restored.
Upon returning to Indiana to reclaim it, the Roshongs were greeted by a totally restored, sparkling, Hydro Blue, 1977, Ford Bronco.
In addition to custom paint, their Bronco had been upgraded with a sunroof, power fold down steps, custom interior and a 510-horsepower 425 LM McGunegil Ford high performance engine. The latter coming from T.J. Reed's asphalt late model race car.
The Roshong's Bronco has since won several awards since its restoration.
The most recent award came from the World of Wheels in Shreveport, where it won first place in 4x4 Utility category.
Others include: first place "All American Truck Pick", Good Guys Nostalgic Nationals in Bowling Green, Kentucky; first place at the Super Bronco Celebration, Townsend, Tennessee; first place Ford Performance award at the 48th Annual Street Rod Nationals, Louisville – "Best Ford In a Ford."
Many people speak of their search for nostalgia in a Mustang, Chevelle, GTO, Camaro and others that remind them of the cars they had when they were young. For Roshong it was a dream come true to get his Bronco and then again to be reunited with his first ride.