When it comes to holiday gifting, there are times where you just feel the need to swing for the fences.
Perhaps you’ve got a big client that you’re very much “looking forward to continuing business with in the coming year.” Perhaps you’ve got a significant other who has resigned you to a doghouse you’d like to emerge from sooner rather than later. Perhaps you’ve just had a helluva year (or several) and money just ain’t no object.
Any way you slice it, you’re in need of a true showstopper of a gift. Not only something of truly superlative quality, but something with a story — something the recipient can crow about whenever someone invariably inquires “damn, where did you get that??“
And thus we bring you the Rare Finds Gift Guide, a handy compendium of holiday swag for just about any type of person on your list (or, perhaps, if you’re just in the market for yourself — no judgement).
This installment concerns Gateway Bronco, the crown jewel of the restomod industry, offering up restored, upgraded and unparalleled first-gen Ford Broncos.
Contrary to what automakers tell you in their December TV spots, the best vehicle to gift this season (parked in the driveway with a big red bow, natch) is not a brand-new model. Oh no. Dream cars are about waxing nostalgic as much as that fresh coat of wax, after all.
The first generation Ford Bronco — one of the most beloved SUVs of all time, a 4×4 so perfect it went unchanged from 1966 to 1977 — fills the first part of that equation. Gateway Bronco will not only hunt down one of these classics for you (barn find, anyone?), it’ll then work its restomod magic, meticulously restoring the body and frame, then upgrading everything else from the powertrain down to the literal nuts and bolts.
Restomods are booming, and as such, it can be the Wild West in terms of quality. But Gateway Bronco established its own set of standards that puts it head and shoulders (and fenders) above the competition. We’re talking 60,000-square-feet of old-school American assembly-line construction in Hamel, Illinois, staffed by expert craftsmen and aided by decidedly new-school technology. If you’ve got time, pop down for a tour of the facility.
We are barn find specialists that preserve these time capsules with a twist of modern performance, rugged luxury and impeccable craftsmanship.Seth Burgett, CEO and President of Gateway Bronco
You can thank founder Seth Burgett for reviving these beauts, which he’s been sparing no expense to do the right way since 2016. But despite ramping up production this year (to level-set, “ramped up” for Gateway means a whopping one Bronco per week), he still personally test drives every finished Bronco before approving it for delivery.
And once you get a chance to put pedal to the spit-shined metal yourself (which you’ll be obligated to do before topping with the aforementioned bow), you’ll realize that despite the knock-em-dead looks, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Porsche leather is available for the interior. Active Exhaust Tuning means you can switch your driving experience from quiet to rowdy with the push of a button. And the Coyote 5.0L V8, already a storied workhorse engine, is enhanced with a rare 10-speed automatic transmission and boost from Roush Performance.
However, the true beauty doesn’t lie in what they say is on offer, it lies in the Bronco of your daydreams — the one with the two-tone retro paint job and custom barn-wood bed — and Gateway’s ability to bring that to life.
If you’re shelling out over a hundred grand for a gift, it better be for a parent, spouse or kid, or, better yet, for one of those three family members to buy for you. Ford diehards and drivers who learned to parallel park in hand-me-down Broncos are obvious choices, but anyone who can appreciate the rumble of ‘60s off-roader (or lack thereof, with the exhaust tuning engaged) will work. Better yet, if someone has an old Bronco rotting away, Gateway will be glad to revive it for them.
You might be wondering, what does Ford think of all this? Taking one of its most coveted models — they are unveiling a new Bronco this spring, after all — and revamping them without permission? Well, they’re actually now officially licensed by Ford Motor Company, a rare badge of honor born from Gateway’s borderline-insane quality standards.
There are three packages available: the Fuelie Edition, Coyote Edition and Modern Day Warrior, with prices starting at $150K. Of course, that estimate can quickly tack on a few thousand here and there with endless optional upgrades. But this is a vehicle that’s going to be gifted multiple times: from you to your recipient, from them to their kids, and so on. This is not a time for moderation. Also, the turnaround from deposit to delivery can be anywhere from six to nine months, but if you’ve got some extra cash to blow, they may be able to bump that up for you.
Crown Royal XR Extra Rare, the second edition to the storied Canadian brand’s Extra Rare series, is crafted from one of the final barrels of whisky saved from the now ghost LaSalle distillery.
To mark the model’s 55th anniversary, TAG Heuer’s flagship Carrera line is being driven by the brand’s premium, Swiss-made in-house column wheel chronograph movement, the Heuer 02, for the first time.
Using reclaimed agricultural tools, rare woods and ethically-sourced animal horn/bone from his native Brazil, Brooklyn knifesmith Max Poglia is crafting handsome, one-of-a-kind knives that are equal parts art and function.
With a journey that begins on the steppes of Mongolia and ends in an NYC design studio, SAVED proffers ultra-soft cashmere throws, pillows, blankets, hats, and scarves — all featuring the sort of punchy, voguish designs one might expect to catch in the background of a Wes Anderson film.
Helmed by two Canadian brothers in the heart of Alberta, AdrianMartinus focuses on gorgeous furniture and home goods painstakingly crafted from a very interesting type of reclaimed wood: old skateboards.
In Jackson Hole, Wyoming, legendary shaper Mikey Franco and his team are building snowboards in a way no one else in America does: by hand, specifically tailored to each and every client from the ground up.
Hailing from the tiny island of Kagoshima in Japan’s smallest prefecture, Olive Wagyu is the rarest beef on planet earth. Only a handful of Japanese cattle farmers produce it, and in extremely limited quantities — only 2,000 of these mythic cows exist in the world at any given time.
There is no piece of equipment more essential to mountaineering than the humble backpack. And no one makes them quite like Dan McHale, a veteran climber who’s been making bespoke ultralight packs out of a workshop in Seattle for more than 40 years.
Plying her trade from a by-appointment-only studio in the heart of Nashville, Savannah Yarborough is one of the most sought after designers of bespoke leather jackets in the country — her clients include Jack White, Jason Isbell, and, with a bit of luck, you.
Vehicle image courtesy of Gateway Bronco Restorations