Bronco, the story of an icon that will soon arrive in Argentina

As the pioneer of SUVs, she maintained over time her wild essence and committed to the lifestyle of her customers.


Bronco It is a legendary brand. Was the one inaugurated the SUV segment (Sport Utility Vehicles) in 1966 worldwide and each of its six generations maintains a strong link with its socio-historical context.

The first versions of the Bronco (1966-1973) had their antecedent in the postwar period and in the need of people to have an off-road vehicle that, in turn, was comfortable, spacious and versatile to perform different activities: from a ride family to a job in the fields.

1966 Ford BroncoFrom there, its evolution was marked by the uses of the time, the lifestyle of its clients, historical moments, various economic contexts, and global conjunctural changes.

In its 31 years of life, they were built 1.148.926 units. But the most important thing is not the volume of vehicles that came onto the market, but how the brand was and is part of people's lives. From enthusiast clubs and fan communities to appearances in over 1.200 movies y 200 songs: Bronco became an expression of worship and a way of life, which praises the freedom to go anywhere, at any time.

Today Bronco is back in the world and very soon it will arrive in Argentina with a new generation that preserves the brand's DNA intact and incorporates unique technology and driver assistance features.

To learn about its history and understand its evolution, a review of the five generations that saw it grow until it reached the sixth, the Bronco 2021, that Ford brings for its customers to enjoy this year.

FIRST GENERATION: BRONCO IS BORN, A NEW WAY OF GETTING AROUND IS BORN

The Ford Bronco was formally introduced in 1965. Donald frey, then Ford vice president and general product manager (together with Lee Iacocca he also created the Mustang), introduced the new line after more than two years of development with a team of collaborators.

Flat broncoPrevious research included a study conducted by the company among customers and users of Jeep to understand what their experiences were. Surveys, which were part of an internal memo from 1963 signed by several executives, including Iacocca, showed that the vehicles of that time were "Noisy and uncomfortable". This survey reached Ford's planning area, which, a week later, produced another memo with the title "1966 GOAT", alluding to the creation of a vehicle that can traverse any terrain (Goes Over Any Terrain, according to its name in English).

The first drafts of the Bronco date back to July 24, 1963 and were made by McKinley Thompson, the company's first African-American designer. They showed the classic square shape of the vehicle in a two-door version. The idea went through multiple revisions and transformations until in 1965 the first three models were officially presented: Roadster (homeless), Sports Utility (Sport utility) with box and Car (two doors, long tail and full roof); the latter was the most popular model.

McKinley ThompsonBut what set this generation apart from other models available on the market at that time was the almost infinite customization possibility of the vehicles. As with Mustang, Frey wanted to offer accessories and options that would allow the vehicle to be made "Many things for many people."

Early-generation Bronco accessory catalogs included snow plows, front winches, tow hooks, locking hubs, power take-offs (PTOs), and even two-way radios. Thus, Bronco was transformed into a vehicle that its users could modify according to their lifestyle: it could be the perfect option for walking around the city or an off-road vehicle capable of competing in the race Baja 1000. In fact, very soon it became the favorite of various pilots such as Parnelli jones, who with his 1970 Bronco was crowned in the Baja 1000 competition in Mexico in 1971 and 1972.

SECOND GENERATION: MORE SPACE AND A SALES HIT

The new 1978 Bronco was completely redesigned to offer great off-road capability and on-road performance. Its platform was based on the one used for the F Series and increased the length and width of the vehicle to offer a "smoother" ride and more comfort for its users. It also included two V8 engines and, for the first time, it did not include the V6 option.

1978 Ford BroncoBeyond a renewed interior with more space in the front seats and more space for the legs in the rear, this model offered as options two unprecedented functionalities: air conditioning and AM / FM radio. Another very popular option at the time was the swing-away tire carrier.

This generation of Bronco was a best seller with more than 180.000 units sold in its first two years. As if it lacked publicity, three vehicles from that lot were transformed especially for the visit of Juan Pablo II to the United States on October 7, 1979. Bronco Papa Mobiles They were open at the back so that the pontiff could stand upright and greet the people. The exteriors were painted white and the interiors blue. These three special versions of the Bronco were turned over to the United States Secret Service for this historic moment.

THIRD GENERATION: TWO VERSIONS, LIGHT AND EFFICIENT

To achieve a more aerodynamic ride and fuel efficient model, Ford redesigned the 1980-1986 generation of Bronco and made it smaller, lighter and with two engines, V6 and V8. Based on the shorter platform than the F-150, this version of the Bronco was also the first to offer independent front suspension (a system patented by Ford in 1976) as a replacement for the front single arm.

1980 Ford BroncoThree years after its debut, in March 1983, the Bronco II like the 1984 model. It was the small version of the Bronco, built on the Ranger platform at the Louisville plant, and offered four V6 engine options. In 1985, it was the turn of a new Bronco with the Eddie Bauer Special Package - a design with a special paint treatment and strong lines. After 1990 the Bronco II was discontinued and the new Explorer occupied its segment.

FOURTH GENERATION: MODERN DESIGN, AERODYNAMIC AND SPECIAL EDITIONS

The new generation Bronco, spanning the 1987 to 1991 editions, was redesigned with an aerodynamic concept up front and included a variety of modern functionalities: electronic fuel injection, rear antilock brakes and, after 1988, two transmissions. five-speed manuals.

1987 Ford BroncoOn its 25th anniversary, Ford offered a special edition in red and black leather seats. Another of their special packages was the Nite edition, an all black version with a line on the side that was only available in a light blue (Aegean Blue) or pink (Azalea Pink).

FIFTH GENERATION: THE FINAL EDITION (FOR A WHILE)

The last version of the Bronco before its return in 2021 was recognized and presented as the "smartest" of all. The SUV produced between 1992 and 1996 included state-of-the-art functionalities such as airbags on the sides of the driver's seat, three-point seat belt systems and, for 1994, an air conditioning system with free cooling of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs, according to its acronym in English).

1993 Ford BroncoThe last Bronco rolled off the assembly line at the Michigan plant on June 12, 1996. Tastes were changing and Ford was also revamping a product portfolio with the four-door Expedition. However, Bronco remained in the minds and hearts of its users who continued to revere it through cult clubs and communities of fans passionate about outdoor adventure.

25 YEARS: THE RETURN OF BRONCO

A secret team worked on the Bronco return for several years until in 2017 it was pre-announced in NAIAS, the United States Auto Show. Three years later, Ford showed the new generation globally: three models, two and four doors plus a Sport version, with the wild essence that characterizes the brand and with the most advanced features for performance. supreme off-road.

BroncoThe new generation of Bronco 2021 was tested under the most extreme conditions to guarantee its users the robustness and capacity they need for off-road riding. In addition, they meet the most advanced standards of technology and driving assistance.

Today the Bronco is back to uphold the legacy of an iconic vehicle and take its customers' adventure even further, with innovative features, technology and the ultimate endurance to enjoy the road.

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Automundo

Automundo is the blog about news from the automotive industry, motorsport and the culture of the region. Director: Diego Durruty.

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