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2022 Bronco DR Is a Mustang Mach I For The Desert

2022 Bronco DR Is a Mustang Mach I For The Desert

Even though the resurrection of the Bronco nameplate has been an outstanding achievement and Ford has every right to be proud of its overall execution and resulting success, there's been one missing element in the Bronco saga from the very start.

Yep, that's right – the availability of a good old V8 engine with loads of torque and the soundtrack to match the new Bronco's gorgeous, retro-inspired lines. Even though it's unlikely that we'll ever see a full production version of a V8-powered, sixth-gen Bronco on the streets, Ford hasn't forgotten those Bronco enthusiasts who hunger for V8 power. The company will be producing a V8-powered Bronco after all, albeit in a highly limited and non-street legal package. 

Let us introduce to you the 2022 Bronco DR (Desert Runner), a turn-key Baja 1000 racer.

What is a 2022 Bronco DR?

In short, the Bronco Desert Runner is a cross between a Mustang Mach I and Bronco 4600 race track version. It has been designed specifically for Baja 1000 racing, and it will be manufactured and sold in limited quantities as a race vehicle that's not intended for street use.

However, what the Bronco DR really is is a fantastic homage to the 1969 Bronco Baja and its impressive win, a conquest that has paved the way for Bronco race cars to follow and the unbeatable thrill of off-road triumph that's been in Ford's arsenal ever since

With the 2022 Bronco DR, Ford wants to continue this legacy, honor its predecessors and finally give Bronco fans what they asked all this time – a thoroughbred off-road Bronco with a five-liter V8 under the hood. Painted in a distinctive livery that resembles the one used in 1969, the Bronco DR is 21st-century off-road warrior that's ready to conquer the desert once more.

This isn't a race-spec version of the upcoming Bronco Raptor. No, this is completely different model for race enthusiasts who want to participate in the Baja 1000 race. 

The Technology

In terms of technology, the Bronco DR is somewhere between the stock-class Bronco 4600 and the full-blown, custom-made Bronco R, which debuted in late 2019.

Using the Bronco four-door chassis as a foundation, Ford engineers wanted to give the Bronco DR a little more stability during high-speed maneuvers, which is why this model looks more like stretched two-door Bronco.

However, under the body, it's all race-spec components and a strengthened chassis. 

The Bronco DR will come with an FEA-optimized, full safety cage with special OE ACCRA tubes for maximum protection, Sparco race seats, safety belts, and MoTec instruments, and optional telemetry systems. The glass has been removed, and there are just two seats for the driver and navigator.

Besides the strengthened chassis, Ford will install race-spec Multimatic PSD 80-mm dampers with cooling channels and new billet aluminum control arms. The result is impressive approach and departure angles of 47 and 37 degrees, which shows just how capable the Bronco DR is.

The ground clearance is 300 mm, with 400 mm of absolute front and 443 mm of rear suspension travel. The package is finished with massive 37-inch BF Goodrich tires mounted on 17x8.5-inch Beadlock wheels.

The Drivetrain

This is where things really get interesting. Under the hood of the 2022 Bronco DR, Ford will install its renowned third-gen 5.0-liter Coyote V8, used in its Mustang and F-150 trucks.

We've already explained why the V8 Bronco is unlikely to appear as a standard production model, but regular rules don't apply to a race-spec vehicle like this. Even though Ford hasn't yet revealed the power and torque figures, we can expect somewhere between 460 to 480 hp output and around 420 lb-ft of torque, both of which are similar to the Mustang's numbers.

Of course, since Ford will provide owners with a few extra parts, it's quite possible that the race-ready Bronco DR might deliver considerably more grunt for that extra edge on the trail. 

The transmission is another well-known, real world-tested Ford component – a 10R80 automatic, which sends power to all four wheels via a part-time selectable 4x4 system with permanently locked hubs.

Interestingly, in true race car fashion, the radiator has been moved to the back of the vehicle for better cooling and protection from damage.


When And How Much?

Ford has only released a couple of photos and some preliminary information thus far. Still, it's already clear that the Bronco DR will be a must-have for any serious Bronco collector, even one without racing ambitions.

HERE is the link for additional information for all interested buyers, but be aware that the base price will be in “the mid-$200,000 range” with additional fees. The Bronco DR will be available in late 2022, and it will make its race debut in next year’s Baja 1000 race. Initially, only 50 trucks will be made, so if you want one, you'd better act quickly!

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