Ford Reveals Race-Ready Bronco
In the mid-60s, Ford launched a boxy, rugged station wagon that was built to be used off road. From the creative minds who bore the Ford Mustang, the first generation Ford Bronco was created to challenge the Jeep CJ-5. Despite being offered in multiple body styles, the three door wagon became the iconic face of the Bronco.
Sales were initially high, but after a few years, demand shifted towards SUVs that were more comfortable and better suited for on-road driving. The next generation Bronco was introduced more than a decade after the initial release of the vehicle, and had transitioned from a compact SUV to a full sized SUV. By this time, it had more rivals, namely the Chevy K5, Dodge Ramcharger, and Jeep Cherokee. This generation of the Bronco was so successful that it overtook the Blazer and the Ramcharger in terms of sales, and buyers even had to wait several months to receive their ordered vehicles from dealers.
For thirty years, the Bronco spawned five generations, each of which had a great cult following. The final generation Bronco became iconic in its own way, carrying O.J. Simpson during a car chase. And then, like all great things, the production of the Bronco came to an end. The demand for two door SUVs had depleted, and Ford released the Expedition.
Fast forward two decades, and Ford is finally bringing the Bronco back to life- but not in the way you think.
The race inspired Bronco R prototype was built to race through the desert, scattering sand grains and defying expectations. The Bronco R prototype is parked next to the iconic Bronco that won the ’69 Baja 1000.
The Bronco R prototype will have some very big shoes, err, tires to fill. Fifty years ago, Rod Hall and Larry Minor manned the first generation Bronco and drove it to victory- a feat that hasn’t been duplicated by any other 4×4.
The Bronco R prototype aims to steal the title from its great-grandfather, heading back to the Baja Peninsula to engage in the 1,000 mile off road course, proving once and for all that the only vehicle that can take the title away from the Bronco, is a Bronco.
Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief product development and purchasing officer, gushed about the Bronco in an interview, saying “Bronco’s win at Baja in 1969 was epic, something that even after 50 years has not been repeated. Rugged endurance racing is such a big part of Bronco heritage. The Baja 1000 gives us not only the perfect setting to honor Rod Hall’s win, it also provides an authentic test bed to demonstrate our upcoming Bronco’s desert racing capability and durability.”
The Bronco R’s designers worked tirelessly, striving to redesign the Bronco without losing its spirit, keeping the design both authentic and simple. Hopefully, the Bronco R will live up to its name and conquer Baja 1000 like its ancestor did, half a century ago.