It depends on how you plan to use it.
The body style breaks are 78-79, 80-86, 87-91, & 92-96. If you look thru the Post a Picture of your Bronco
you can see the different styles. As they get newer, wheel openings seem to get smaller.
1980 had an odd frame with holes in it. In 81 they went back to the solid frame. I think in 92 they went to the accordion style frame horns, so it can be trickier to add recovery points
. 87 & some 88s with manual hubs had the top hat hubs
that are expensive to replace, & require a lot of parts to swap to the more common hubs. Auto hubs are prone to fail, but they are easy to convert. The manual transfer cases seem to shift more reliably than the electric ones.
I think Broncos with 302s had EFI before the 351s. As you move to newer trucks, the electronic systems become more advanced. I think 96 (Maybe 95?) is MAF (Which is more adaptable to intake/cam changes) & OBDII. 87-92 had rear antilock brakes, 93-96 have 4 wheel ABS.
As mentioned above, 78-79 are the only years that came stock with front solid axles, which the rock crawlers
like. The high speed desert guys
seem to prefer the TTB front axle which is stock from 80-96.
All full size Broncos had the removable tops, but the newer ones (92+?) have rear seat shoulder belt mounting points & 3rd brake lights, so they aren't supposed to be removed.
The later years come with an E4OD 4 speed overdrive tranny. It's a heavy duty trans, but doesn't like heat & is expensive to rebuild. It's a good idea to add an external filter & cooler if you get one (Like this: Trans Filter, Cooler & THERMOSTAT install by Fireguy50
or this VOTE For Sept.'07 FOTM by Sixlitre
-Post 173 Trans filter.) They did do some upgrades to the newest E4ODs, & when the older ones are rebuilt, they should include those upgrades. If you are using it primarily offroad, you might prefer an older truck with a C-6 (Non overdrive) trans. There were other trannies used as well & adrianspeeder's Bronco Tranny and T-Case Info
thread has a bunch of trans/engine/year combo info.
As for being lifted, you'd rather have extended radius arms than radius arm drop brackets. Blocks are definitely bad in the front, & aren't the best solution for the rear either. Take a look thru the lift section of Baba Looey's Favorite FSB Links
for several links on the subject.
For my use, if I was buying one today, I'd probably be looking at an 89 351w or a 78-79. The 89 is very similar to my 90, (Which I like a lot & have grown familiar with) but the 89 has a C-6 behind the 351. I don't drive mine much on the freeway, so I don't think I'd miss the OD. 78-79s are just cool, simpler (If you learned on carbureted engines anyway
), have larger wheel openings, & have solid axles.