I test drove one of the first to show up on a dealer's lot back in 1984. I liked it, even was allowed to take it out to the diversion dam and use it a bit on sand berms, loose gravel hill climbs, not much 'heavy duty' wheeling, but enough to get the impression that it was definitely NOT a 'get Momma to the market, church, and soccer game' rig.
I couldn't afford one back then, but when they started showing up used, I managed to buy three of the things. BII's, that is. All were carbureted 2.8's with five speeds. Single biggest problem I had with them was the electronically managed carburetors. Pure junk, as far as I am concerned.
I'd played around a bit with the 2.8 prior, in a 72 or 73 Capri. THAT little rig hauled butt, so I knew the motor had potential.
I owned a 72 Bronco, bought it in 1973, with 2000 miles on the odometer. I don't recall that the little BII couldn't go wherever the original Bronco went, at least in stock form for both vintages. The TTB front end was a lot more comfortable to drive, and with good shocks, even seemed to manage lumpy, bumpy, gravel roads better than the solid axle D44.
I never got 'round to swapping in a 302, but it was high on the list of "want to do that" upgrades. In fact, I bought a really decent 302 with rear sump, a C4 auto, and found a 4X4 Ranger with blown motor for a hundred bucks that yielded an 8.8" rear axle. Before I could get 'round to doing anything with the pile o' parts, I was offered too much for it, and the parts and it went down the road, and I ended up with the first of a few Cherokees. Don't get me wrong, I really, really like my Cherokee, but I do believe that going down the road, at Interstate speeds, anyway, the Bronco II seemed to handle a bit better, and was more comfortable, with more room for my large physique!
My son bought one from a fellow worker over in Wyoming, with the injected 2.9, and has decided that he doesn't want to mess with it, so it's possible that I'll end up with that. My best friend bought one of the first EFI 2.9's when they first became available, and got tired of it several years and 260K miles later, and gave it to his son in law. Jim and I took that little bugger into places that I'd have hesitated taking a 2A into! We did end up on the side of the road dead in the rig, though, when the 'hot' line to the fuel pump somehow ended up on the exhaust pipe, and shorted the whole shebang out. We were both "points and carburetor" guys, and after a tow, and mechanic's bill, he ran it for the rest of the time with only regular maintenance and tires. I like 'em. I've wondered recently, though, about using a 4.0 with five speed instead of a 302/5.0, after driving Dad's "Exploder"..........