Why All the Bronco Hype?
When Ford announced the rebirth of their Bronco, its cult-like following had a moment of clarity, and based on the feedback that flooded the internet, it was a moment of nirvana. Since getting discontinued on June 12th, 1996, it left a gaping hole in many of the hearts it once filled, but none of that hurt mattered when Ford debuted the 2021 Bronco on July 9th, 2020.
Whether you’re a Bronco loyalist or not, it’s hard to dispute what the model has meant to so many generations. According to Ford, the Ford Bronco became the first automobile called out specifically as a “Sport-Utility Vehicle.” On August 11th, 1965, an American classic was born, thanks to Don Frey, then Ford Motor Company Vice President and Ford Division General manager.
If you’re wondering about the purpose of the Bronco’s introduction to the world, it goes back to World War II when Ford was one of three companies to develop the Jeep. During this era, Ford helped produce a staggering 250,000 Jeeps, which were known for their high quality and durability.
When the war finished, surplus Jeeps were the vehicle of choice for outdoor enthusiasts and veterans returning from the war, but there was a need for a more comfortable ride. This is where the genius of Ford came in and saw an opportunity to develop a best-of-class utility vehicle that functioned as a sport vehicle.
Ford surveyed Jeep owners to see the most prominent issues they faced, and with their responses, a legend was born. The first sketches date back to July 1963, but the SUV went through constant revisions over the years following. When it debuted, the Bronco was an immediate favorite for outdoor off-road racing, and since that time, it’s managed to keep its reputation intact. With its unique backstory, one that dethroned the war hero Jeep with its technological advances, what else made it so popular?
What Made the Bronco Popular for 30 Years?
There are several reasons as to why the Bronco has remained popular for the past three decades, but we can sum it up in two words: Enthusiast culture.
However, if you’re looking for a more elaborate answer, the fact the Bronco was so easy to modify made it a popular platform. You might have seen the loud exhausts and big wheels like you’ll find in the tuner crowd, but other Bronco modifications were cheap and easy to come by through its five generations in existence.
The Bronco was driver-friendly and more comfortable on the road than its competitor, Jeep, and netted a big advantage over the Jeep with off-road enthusiasts as well. When compared to its competitors, the Bronco had a short wheelbase and narrow body, making it nimble on trails where narrow paths and tight turns are standard.
The Bronco is an F-Series at heart, and the first generation was built on a model-specific chassis, whereas the second generation only lasted a year after worries of producing a much-bigger V8 model. The model saw the last solid front axle and had square headlights, but its biggest change was based on the F-Series truck, which soon became the bestselling line of vehicles in the United States, lasting more than four decades until today.
Another defining factor is its famous rear window, which stems from the short-lived second-generation Bronco. It became one of the most famous features of the Bronco – a rear window that lowered into the vehicle’s third door, which captivated the hearts of die-hard enthusiasts.
The fact it’s made in the United States makes it even more lovable. The Bronco is considered a “Motor City Vehicle.” In Michigan’s Truck Plant located in Wayne, Michigan, hundreds of thousands were built by workers during the three-decade run, where the 2021 model will be built as well.
The New Bronco Shows Promise
We’ve come a long way since the debut, and we’ve wallowed in heartbreak when the Bronco was discontinued and rejoiced at the news of its revival. While the news was welcomed with open arms, could it really live up to the hype it created for itself?
The 2021 Bronco will be offered in three variations: two-door, four-door, and the Sport. From what we’ve seen online will incorporate many of the tech-savvy features and new technologies Ford has worked on in their recent vehicles.
Ford is hoping to capitalize on the popularity and cash in from enthusiasts dying to see the newest iteration of the truck. With Ford’s proposed free “Off Rodeo” experience for new Bronco owners, the SUV could hit it out of the park.
Even more, the competition it faces isn’t stiff, and we know that it’s ready to take center stage to remind the world what a formidable off-road SUV can do. Don’t forget, the Bronco was the trailblazer for all the vehicles we know and love today.