A original concept designed under engineer Paul Axelrad, the Ford Bronco was an SUV produced from 1966 through 1996.
Original and distinct, the Bronco had a body, suspension, and a frame that wasn't shared with any other vehicle or modeled off of prototypes.
Produced in Wayne, Michigan at Ford's Truck Plant, the full-sized Bronco and the successor Expedition were met with public approval, but not as popular as its infamous low-speed chase with O.J. Simpson running from the police in 1994 made it.
Originally produced as a small SV, on 92 in wheelbase, this 1974 version was popular for off-roading but impractical for towing.
Ford product manager Donald Frey is credited with the idea behind the Bronco. Frey is also responsible for conception of the Ford Mustang.
Sold for a base price of $2,194, the Bronco came with the Ford 170 in³ I6 engine that came with compensations against tilting. Simplistic styling and economized design made the Bronco a reliable vehicle. The frame was a simple box-section ladder with simple C-section bumpers and all flat glass.
It came with a heavy duty fuel pump, six quart oil pan, solid valve lifters, oil-bath air cleaner and a carburetor with a float bowl.
Additional options included a rear bench seat, a tachometer, CB radio, front bucket seats and much more.
It wasn't until 1969 until Bronco had any real competition in the market. This was brought on by the full-size Chevrolet Blazer that offered more luxury and space. Bronco sales continued until 1977.
A team of Bronco's were assembled by racecar builder Bill Stroppe in 1965 for long-distance off road competitions. Rocking the race world in the Mint 400, Baja 500 and Mexican 1000, Broncos joined in with Holman and Moody, Ford's frequently favored race team.
A new, upgraded model, the 'Baja Bronco' was introduced in 1971. The Baja featured quick-ratio power steering, fender flairs, automatic transmission, and much more. Only 650 were sold until 1975, at $5566 compared to the standard V8 Bronco price of $3665.
The mid-1970's fuel crisis put a halt on the re-design of a Bronco based on the F-100 truck, codenamed Project Short-Horn. The oil crisis inspired the Bronco II as the emphasis on the fuel economy became highlighted.
The next major redesign of Bronco happened in 1980, based on the Ford F-series. These lasted until 1986 and came with a new powertrain, suspension and the TTB (twin traction beam) setup in the front end for an independent front suspension.
Before it was replaced by the Ford Explorer, the Bronco II, a more compact version, was a direct result of the second oil crisis of the 1970's. Close to the size of the compact Ranger, the newest Bronco arrived in 1984 and continued until 1990.
The newest feature to arrive with the 1987 models was the electronic fuel injection which improved power and fuel economy.
In 1992, more updates of the Bronco included interior enhancements in the dash and other accessories, mostly cosmetic.
The Bronco was eventually modified to a 4-door version with a new club cab, a short bed, a Bronco tailgate and a fiberglass top. This conversion was done in White Pigeon, Michigan during the late 1980's.
Ford Broncos' continued to be remodeled, updated and produced until 1996.By Jessica Donaldson