Ford Bronco: The Timeline of an Icon

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We’ll never know if Ford really knew just how legendary the Bronco would become, but we’re just glad it’s coming back!

Unless you live under a rock, you already know that the Ford Bronco will make its return to the North American market in 2019 or 2020. Whether it’s everything we’re expecting it to be — we won’t know for a bit longer. That being said, with the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit around the corner we may just be a few weeks shy of finding out!

Regardless, we at Ford Truck Enthusiasts figured there’s no better way to celebrate the comeback of an icon than by revisiting its glorious past. That’s why we’ve brought you a short-but-sweet timeline so you’re up to speed on all things Bronco.

First Generation: 1966-1977


The one that started it all, the icon of simplicity! The Ford Bronco didn’t have a clear business-case from the get-go, with the only exception of bringing Ford up to par with Jeep, who was at the time selling CJs by the truck-load. Available as a convertible, hardtop or pickup, the Bronco featured a six-cylinder or V8 engine and most of its drivetrain parts were shared with the Ford F-100.

Second Generation: 1978-1979


The second-generation Bronco is largely responsible for the “idea” of the Bronco that’s loved by so many today. The redesigned SUV featured a tailgate, a rolldown tailgate window, and V8 engines exclusively. Perhaps not the one that started it all, but the one that kicked-off “the icon.”

Third Generation: 1980-1986


Not sure why, but it seems that it took Ford nearly three generations of Bronco SUVs to realize that they had a huge hit in their hands and that people were hungry for more. As a result, Ford made the third-gen much more composed with a softer suspension, a redesigned cabin, and a new six-cylinder engine along with a  V8 due to the fuel crisis in the US.

Fourth Generation: 1987-1991


Quite a few things changed with the Bronco for its fourth go-around. For starters, it was nearly identical to the F-Series of the time and it was imported from Venezuela. Somehow the American icon had left American shores to be built in South America. The older it grew, the more refined it got.

Fifth Generation: 1991-1996


Over the course of 30 years, the Bronco went from a topless, basic and fun off-roader to an overweight, refined, and hardtop-only SUV. While the latter was excellent for Ford’s bottom line, it simply didn’t live up to the namebadge. The pinnacle of the fifth-generation SUV was a little-known, high-speed police chase of a white Bronco. Remember?

What will the sixth-generation legend bring? Stay tuned!

Chime in with your thoughts on the forum. >>

Jerry Perez is a regular contributor to Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Corvette Forum, and 6SpeedOnline, among other auto sites.

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