Ford has taken several hits to resurrect the Bronco nameplate since the boxy model disappeared after the 1996 model year. The company played with its comeback in the late 1990s, to follow up with a boxy concept in 2004. But nothing only materialized for years, until last week when Ford reintroduced the model for 2021. Ford chief designer Moray Callum led the project, and his personal vehicle helped.
Callum owns a 1976 Bronco, a few parts of which he had removed to make it look like an even older model, and he put it to work for his team to use as a starting point. But things went much further. The designers placed dots on the exterior of the Bronco to help create a digital 3D scan of the iconic SUV using a photographic measurement system.
Resurrecting the Bronco meant more than just slapping the name of the latest product. It had to be versatile and modern, packed with the latest features while paying homage to Bronco’s heritage. For Callum, it shows in the face of the Bronco. The original Bronco featured a simple design with round headlights and simple turn signals with an embossed grille that featured bold FORD lettering. The new Bronco keeps the simple face with round headlights and integrated horizontal turn signals, but the BRONCO brand is now occupying real estate.
All signs point to Ford having a winner. The automaker doubled the number of limited first edition models it had planned to produce, although Ford quickly noticed that these additional Broncos already had buyers. Aftermarket companies are ready to fight Ford in the accessories department. While Ford will have over 200 factory-guaranteed parts available when the Bronco launches next spring, we’re already seeing rooftop tents and V8 engine swaps announced for the new SUV.