This came up over at the other forum so I'm gonna paste the post I just replied to over there and then add to it underneath
Originally Posted by Gacknar
1986, First year of 50 state EFI. Last year of that body style.
Best year Bronco ever, mine went 480,000 before needing major EFI harness rebuild.
This is gospel, listen to this man
This is a great compromise year that has most of what you want and very little of what you don't want IMO.
There have been some great points made here and Accesories man said it well. The 78-79 are great offroad vehicles but lack OD for mileage and creature comforts. They do not make great daily drivers.
Conversely the 92-96s have a lot of creature comforts, but remain the most expensive to purchase and the front frame rail shocks limit you as does the legality of roof top removal.
The 88-89s had two year only unique hub combinations and this style (87-91) saw a lot of mandated saftey features hoisted on it, as well as the first of the electronic ($$$$) transmissions near the end of the run. IMO they were the least attractive styling wise (87-91) with those big ungainly headlight lenses.
The 80-86 group was the longest run sheet metal wise (7 model years) and body parts are dirt cheap for them right now. You still get the real, replacable $5 headlights too. True the 80-82s shared a lot of drivetrain parts with the 78-79, and the 85-86s shared a lot of underhood technology with the later Broncos(not a bad thing).
The 86 IMO gives you fuel injection, OD, reasonable creature comforts (if you get an Eddie Bauer) while not saddling you with those later front bumper troubles of the 92s and up or the top removal legalities and they have a really good looking front end (IMO).
The only drawback that bothers me about my 86 is that it didn't come with an EFI 351, just the EFI 302.
One more ar$eh#le's opinion
My Superford site
As for mileage you're better off with an EFI 302 than a 351 IMO. Forget the 31s for everyday commuting if you want the est mileage. I've hit as high as 22.5 mpg on the hwy, but normally average around 16-18mpg comutting at 70+ mph and 1/4 of downtown low speed grinding(and I have 3.55s with stock 235/75/15s).
With a K&N, MSD coil and optomized ignition and much better than stock exhaust I do very well mileage AND performance wise.
The price seems a little steep for a 15 year old Bronco. I bought my 86 Eddie Bauer in very good condition when it was 12 for only $2500 American.
Hope this helps you out