Top 9 Bronco Concepts
As one of the most successful off-road models, Ford was always the object of customization and enthusiastic owners' modifications. It's simple but effective mechanics and sturdy chassis served as the perfect canvas for turning it into something special. However, even the Ford itself didn't resist the temptation of customizing the Bronco and developing the original idea even further. Over the years, Ford presented several very successful concept cars, some of which have foreseen the SUV class's future and left a mark on the automotive community. Today, we will tell you more about the nine most memorable Ford Bronco concept cars and why they are important.
Ford Bronco Dune Duster 1966
The 1966 Dune Duster was the first Bronco concept ever displayed. Premiered on the 1966 Chicago Auto Show, it gained much attention from the crowd for its unique open-top design, roll bar, wood grain inserts, side-pipe exhaust, sporty wheels, and upscale features.
Based on the 1966 Bronco Roadster U13, and retaining the same drive train, the Bronco Dune Duster showed that new off-roader has enormous potential to be a trendy and lifestyle vehicle.
Ford Bronco Boss 1969
Back in the late '60s, Ford was neck-deep in muscle car performance wars and its engineering department developing all kinds of cool projects. One of them was the Bronco Boss. This yellow Ford is definitely one of the coolest Broncos ever produce, and it is, in fact, a cross between the 1969 Shelby GT350 and regular Bronco.
With 290 hp, 302 V8 engine, 3-speed automatic gearbox, modified suspension and drivetrain, and tall 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 is not yet ready for high-performance SUV models. That is why the project was abandoned after two prototypes, which were considered lost but resurfaced recently.
Ford Bronco Project "Shorthorn" 1973
Even though the second-generation Bronco was released in 1978, Ford started developing it since the early '70s. The Chevrolet Blazer's success inspired Ford to think of redesigning Bronco and making it bigger than the original model.
In 1973, Ford introduced several concepts of second-generation Broncos along with few full-scale prototypes. They were all based on F-150 truck chassis with the same front end, taillights, and overall design.
Ford Bronco Concept 1979
When the second generation finally hit the streets and off-road trails in 1978, Ford tried to widen its appeal by introducing a pickup Bronco Concept in 1979. It was a regular 1979 Bronco Ranger with a unique side trim package and without a removable hardtop.
Instead, the 1979 Bronco Concept had a soft cover over the rear, making it kind of light-duty pickup truck. Although it was an exciting idea, Ford management killed the project since the Bronco pickup will cannibalize sales of the F-150 range truck range.
Ford Bronco Montana Lobo 1981
The Bronco Montana Lobo Concept was one of the 1981 Chicago Auto Show stars for its unique appearance and numerous custom touches. Designed as a revival of the Bronco Roadster from the mid-'60s, Montana Lobo was actually built on 1977 model chassis. It had unique bodywork, removable Plexiglas doors, more-inclined windshield, and side-pipe exhausts.
But the real show-stopper was the digital dash (amazing stuff for 1981), special bumpers with winch and integrated ramp so you can load your dirt bike in the back. Unfortunately, the Montana Lobo remained just a concept.
Ford Bronco DM-1 Concept 1988
Although not as good looking or cool as other concepts on the list, the 1988 Bronco DM-1 Concept is by far the most influential of them all. Envisioned as a future of compact off-road vehicles, DM-1 was built on Escort chassis with a Bronco II all-wheel-drive system and fiberglass panels.
This concept showed the direction in which the SUV class is going. Softer, smaller, recyclable, and more comfortable models opposed to big, gas-guzzling off-road beasts with chrome bumpers and two-tone paint jobs. Today, 32 years after the introduction of Bronco DM-1, we have to say that most of the SUVs sold are exactly like Ford predicted with this concept.
Ford Bronco Boss Concept 1992
Introduced in 1992, the bright yellow Ford Bronco Boss Concept was an interesting piece of design. It featured a heavily modified front end, painted in body color, unique wheels, exterior trim, and an unusual rear end.
It was built on standard Bronco/F-150 chassis, and there is no information about the engine or specifics. The legend goes that this could be Bronco's version of the 1993 F-150 Lightning truck, which is something all of us would appreciate but unfortunately never happened.
Ford Bronco Concept 2004
We believe that nobody at Ford could predict how the 2004 Bronco Concept would be successful. Introduced in Detroit's Auto Show, its timing was perfect. In the early 2000s, the retro-futuristic movement was at full swing with cars like New Beetle, Ford GT, Mustang S197, and Mini. Ford's Icons department knew that the automobile community is hungry for remixed legends.
Still, nobody could foresee how enthusiastic the public will be when Ford showed the boxy, silver off-roader with a famous name and obvious design cues. Interestingly, it was powered by a 2.0-liter diesel engine, and Ford decided to keep it solely as a concept. However, the company understood the fans' message and eventfully allowed Bronco to return, as the 2021 model.
Ford Bronco R 2019
The future of Bronco racing was introduced in 2019 with the fully-operational concept called simply Bronco R. Since this was basically a prototype, it was engineered to fulfill the Class 2 division rules, and the introduction was perfectly timed so it could enter the 2019 Baja 1000. Ford was very confident and decided to enter the Bronco R with pretty much stock drive train and V6 EcoBoost engine. Of course, the steel tube chassis is a must, as well as various other safety components.
Since the Bronco R was revealed nine months before the official introduction of the road-going model, Ford mounted a body made of composite materials that just resembled the standard Bronco but didn't show much. Despite being very fast and showing that it is capable of running with the best, Bronco R was plagued with mechanical troubles (broken suspension) and crashes and barely managed to finish the race.