Top 7 Coolest Broncos Ever Produced
Back in the mid-'60s, Ford was one of the most interesting domestic brands. With their new Mustang and Shelby GT350, Ford had cornered the performance and muscle car market, their Thunderbirds were coveted luxury offerings, and the F-150 proved itself a dependable workhorse for everyday duties.
However, with its unveiling of the Bronco, Ford introduced a whole new class of vehicles to its customers. People who didn't need a full-size truck but demanded a highly-capable 4x4 finally had a car designed for them. Over the course of 54 years, Ford had produced millions of Broncos, but some of them were more memorable than others. Today, we'll tell you more about the seven coolest Broncos ever made.
1966 Ford Bronco V8
The Ford Bronco was introduced in August of 1965 and offered with 170 cubic-inch straight-six engine with just 105 hp. Not long after (March 1966), Ford introduced a V8 option. This was precisely the engine the Bronco needed to complete the package. The venerable 289 cubic-incher delivered 200 hp, not a large number but more than enough to provide decent on and off-road performance.
The classic '60s Bronco shape, paired with the rumble of V8 and permanent four-wheel-drive, was a winning combination that gave rise to the model's folkloric status. For a lot of Bronco fans, the original '60s models are the coolest of them all and looking at this boxy little off-roader, we can understand why.
1966 Ford Bronco Roadster
Initially, Bronco was offered in three body styles, but the rarest and arguably coolest of the three was the Roadster. The standard Wagon was the most popular, and the Half Cab pickup was relatively standard. Sold for just three years (1966 to 1968), the Roadster was a bare-bones model delivered without doors or hardtop.
It had very few options and was aimed at people living in a warm climate as a practical runaround. It was a direct competitor to base versions of Jeep CJ-5 but never as popular with auto buyers. During its short life, Ford made only 4090 examples of these cool off-road convertibles.
1969 Ford Bronco Boss
Back in the late '60s, Ford was neck-deep in the muscle car performance wars and its engineering department was developing all kinds of cool projects. One of them was the Bronco Boss. This yellow Ford is definitely one of the coolest Broncos ever produced, and it is, in fact, a cross between the 1969 Shelby GT350 and regular Bronco.
With a302 V8 engine churning out 290 hp and pairing with a 3-speed automatic gearbox, a modified suspension and drivetrain, and short 4:11 gears, this Bronco could outrun many muscle cars in stoplight drag battles. Unfortunately, Ford decided that production would be very costly and that the market was not yet ready for high-performance SUV models. That's why the project was abandoned after 2 prototypes, which had been considered lost but resurfaced just recently.
1971 to 1975 Ford Bronco Baja
One of the biggest names in Bronco racing history is Bill Stroppe. He built and raced many successful Broncos and won the legendary Baja 1000 race. To commemorate his enormous success, Ford decided to offer a particular version called Baja Bronco -- also known amongst the fans as Stroppe's Bronco.
Designed and assembled by Stroppe's shop, it featured a 302 V8 engine, automatic transmission, a host of unique details, upscale features, and an instantly recognizable patriotic paint scheme. Since this was mostly a cosmetics package, it's hard to tell just how many were built, but experts agree that 450 to 650 examples is a realistic number. The cool story behind this model and its sheer rarity makes the Baja Bronco one of the coolest Fords ever.
1977 to 1980 Freewheelin' Bronco
In the late '70s, domestic automakers were hit almost simultaneously by the oil crisis and more stringent environmental standards, which resulted in markedly lower engine outputs. Ford was no exception, and to compensate for this lack of power and underwhelming performance, it offered numerous limited-run appearance packages, graphics options, and trim levels. One of the most popular was their "Freewheelin," package, which was available on the F-150, Econoline vans, the small Courier pick up and of course, the Bronco.
Customers could choose one of five primary colors, which was then accented by a rainbow stripe graphic package different for every model year. Ford also offered special rims, tires, side-pipe exhaust, and a whole host of accessories, so you could really dress-up your Bronco in typical '70s fashion. Although visually they very cool, Freewheelin' Broncos featured standard engines with just 156 or 158 hp.
1994 Ford Bronco Eddie Bauer
Even though Ford offered the Eddie Bauer trim package for the first time in 1985, we feel that the early '90s models are the coolest of this class of Broncos ever made. For those who don't know, Eddie Bauer was the upscale luxury trim level for Broncos and included numerous creature comforts, a leather interior, special color choices, and other luxury details.
In this period, Ford came to realize that luxury models would become a big part of the emerging SUV market, and the Ford Bronco Eddie Bauer Edition ably represented this shift. Some fans even call it "Bronco with Lincoln luxury," --that's why this was a consistently popular model all the way until the Bronco was discontinued in 1996.
2021 Ford Bronco Badlands
After a 25 year absence, Ford finally brought back the Bronco for the 2021 model year, and while it was a long wait, it was well worth it. The new Bronco and Bronco Sport are undeniably cool, even in base trim with the standard engine; however, the Badlands model really caught our attention as the coolest of the seven trim levels.
This tough and ready Ford is the perfect embodiment of Bronco philosophy in modern form. Equipped with a heavy-duty suspension, advanced components (like hydraulic front sway-bar disconnect system), steel front and rear bumpers, big tires, and an optional Sasquatch package, the 2021 Badlands is the one to have. Immensely capable off-road, but with excellent on-road manners, this is the coolest SUV of our times.