Ford recently announced their landmark decision to resurrect the Ford Bronco in 2020, which would be edition number six. Although some ill-informed buyers will be unaware of the long history behind the Bronco others recognize the importance of a lengthy heritage that goes back to 1966.
The first-generation Ford Bronco was introduced in 1966 and lasted until 1977. The smallest generation of the Bronco, this generation was 151 inches long and featured a wheelbase that spanned 92 inches. The original Bronco was popular with off-roaders. The rugged feel of the short SUV lent itself to stability on dirt, sand and rock. With rolling a lower probability than, lets say the Ford Explorer, the Bronco was a hit with young owners who liked auto sport. This generation was introduced during a time of the early Jeep CJ-5 and the International Harvester Scout where ruggedness and short stature were in style. Similar to the Jeep, the rear part of the roof could be removed to create an SUV type convertible which was much cooler and had much better sales figures than the current-day Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet.
The second-generation Ford Bronco followed it’s ancestor with a short run from 1978-1979. This Bronco, instead of it’s big (or little) brother, was much beefier in size and power. The original Bronco offered 2.8, 3.3, 4.7 and 4.9 liter engines while the second generation Bronco offered a 5.8 and 6.6 to choose from. Also weighing in with an extra 12 inches added to the wheelbase and 32 inches in length, the newer Bronco was a little bit more sloppy off-road. This model was based off of a shortened version of the Ford F-100. This started the trend toward an infatuation with space and comfort as Ford tried to appeal more to a general audience of suburban families rather than off-road thrill seekers. Thankfully, the removable top was a feature that the Bronco still boasted for added fun.
The third-generation Ford Bronco still maintained the same wheelbase and length. Sold from 1980-1986, this generation of Bronco was offered as a 4.9 or 5.8 liter SUV that lured suburbia’s best by offering a smaller and more efficient engine in midst of a fuel crisis. More electronic controls were offered for both the driver’s comfort and the inner workings of the vehicle.
The fourth-generation Ford Bronco was around from 1987-1991 with the same engine sizes as the third-generation. The same size as well, this Bronco was introduced to provide a facelift and electronic fuel injection.
The fifth-generation, and final until 2020, Ford Bronco was made from 1992-1996. Longer and offered as a 4.9 or 5.8 liter, this generation of Bronco offered power windows and a more aerodynamic fascia. The famed OJ Simpson car chase featured this generation Bronco and was phased out as the Ford Explorer picked up it’s role in the SUV market on behalf of Ford.
Ford took a break with the Bronco until now. Coming up in 2020, Ford will begin producing the sixth-generation Bronco in Michigan. It will compete against the new Jeep Renegade, just like old times when the first-generation competed with the rugged Jeep CJ-5. In a time of growing SUV sales, the Bronco comes as manufacturers from Mazda to Ferrari are gearing up to produce smaller SUVs and crossovers to take a slice of the money pie.
The Bronco will probably be based on the new Ford Ranger which will be released in 2018. They will be sharing the same facility where both vehicles will be produced. Enthusiasts hope that Ford will make them proud by returning to the Bronco’s roots as a smaller yet rugged SUV that remains nimble off-road and well-styled on-road.