WILD HORSES HISTORY
The first photo shows Jim’s first Bronco, a 1966 he purchased in 1986. Any stretch of mud became a spot for putting the tcase in gear. The Bronco is parked at Jim’s first “shop,” the alley behind his one room studio. When the Broncos began to stack up, he rented a one car garage a few feet away from the studio. Word spread, and Broncos kept showing up until he ran out of room and found his first real shop. About 20 miles outside of Stockton in Clements, CA, he could put eight Broncos there. When it rained, a little creek formed and flowed right down the middle of the shop. Eventually, Clements became a storage place, and Jim worked from home after moving a few houses down from the studio. This place had a two-and-a-half car garage and a lot of space outside to keep more Broncos. Photo 3 shows Jim working outside the garage. There is a Baja Bronco there he sold before he ever knew what a Baja was. He bought a sweet 77 (photo 4) Bronco with a 351W. He wheeled his first Rubicon in this rig. After making it up Cadillac Hill and replacing the broken rear axle at the top, he was hooked! Photo 5, taken in 1991 shows Jim at the 25 year Bronco anniversary with the 77. Jim and one other Bronco owner had 35s which were considered huge at the time. In Stockton, the inventory kept piling up, and the work was rolling in; so he moved to a three thousand square foot warehouse shop on School St. A larger warehouse a few doors down was the next move (photo 6). Jim bought the Nightmare (photo 7), a 1974 Bronco from a friend. As the Mare evolved, so did WH. Jim and Sheyla were married in 1994; and when they came back from their honeymoon, Sheyla started working with Jim taking care of the office. In 1995, the first catalog was produced. Soon after, Jim’s brother Rames created the first website. Things kept getting busier, so they added a few people to help with the shipping and shop work. Feeling the growing pains with people packed into an office trailer, they clearly needed more space.
In 1999 WILD HORSES moved to its 28,000 square foot shop and warehouse facility (photo 8) in downtown Stockton. Photo 9 shows part of our R&D and fab shop. Early in 2004 Jim closed the installation shop in order to focus his attention on other areas of the business. In 2007, Jim bought his first 1978 Bronco. We continued to expand the product line for the full-size Bronco and F-Series. 2014 was another year of growth and expansion. Once again, we had outgrown our facility. Jim and Sheyla found an abandoned Ford dealership in Lodi, CA 10 miles north of Stockton. The new place sits on about 3.5 acres with approximately 41,000 square feet of space. The parking lot is huge as would be expected. We hosted our first “WILD HORSES ROUND UP” in April 2015. Over 200 early Broncos were displayed. In October 2015, we had our first official “Bronctoberfest” Swapmeet. With the help of our customers, we had the entire place filled with great deals on used and new parts. There were also a number of Broncos for sale. These are now annual events, and we look forward to seeing many of you there. We have an expanded R&D shop with many new products in the works. Kealani heads up accounts payable and Mitch is director of media. You will want to check out his monthly “Bronco Breakdown” on YouTube for the latest news from the Bronco world. We are looking forward to serving your needs in 2023 and beyond!