With the announcement that Ford will bring back the Bronco before the decade is out and the fact that this can only cause a great deal of excitement this is the perfect time to look back at the first generation of the Bronco to make it difficult to argue against this awesome little SUV coming back.
First of all, the Bronco was built to be a competitor for the Jeep CJ-5 and the International Harvester Scout. When it arrived the Bronco offers the advantage of coil springs in the front suspension which helped to improve performance on and off the road. Another advantage to start with was the optional V8 engine which was not present on the other two competitors.
Here are some more interesting facts about this first generation of the Bronco to get your appetite churning for its comeback:
Engines – Although the chief competition had six-cylinder engines and Ford did offer the V8, it wasn’t offered right away. The earlier models offered an inline six-cylinder engine and the V8 was not offered until the middle of the first model year of this awesome SUV.
Door – I say door because Ford cut costs on the Bronco by making only one door skin for this vehicle and then punched the mounting holes for the different sides of the vehicle. This was one of the most impressive cost saving moves for a new vehicle that we have seen in the history of the automotive world.
No Door – If one door was a cost saving measure, no doors would be amazing at saving on cash. For the 1966 and 1967 models you could purchase a Bronco Roadster configuration that had no doors and no roof to be a convertible version of the Bronco and had inserts put in place to cover the mounting hardware.
Celebrity Drive – You can find Bronco fans everywhere and even those in Hollywood admire them. Jeremy Piven drives a restored 1977 model, which is the last year of the first body style to show off his pride and enjoyment of driving one of the most admired off roading vehicles ever built.
First One Off the Line – It may have taken some time, but the Bronco historians tell us that the first Bronco carried the vin plate with 732000 on it and it was bought from Terlingua Land & Cattle Co. in the 1970s which is a range owned by Carroll Shelby. Ford supplied several Broncos for use on the ranch so why not the first one and a few others as test models?
Gas Door – The gas door on the original Bronco was only offered on the 1977 model; the last year the first body style was created. This makes the final year a bit different from the rest which had no gas door on them from the time they were first built until it was added for the 1977 model.
HBO Time – The HBO series True Blood found favor with the Bronco as well and featured a first generation of the SUV that was driven by Sam Merlotte, the character played by Sam Trammell. The vehicle was auctioned for charity after the series was over and raised $7,900.
Baja – Bill Stroppe had taken Lincolns to the Carrera Panamercana races in the 1950s and was chosen to take the Broncos to Baja. At the time the race was called the Mexican 1000 Rally and entering this race was a nod to the value Ford puts on their vehicles performing at motorsports. They gave Stroppe eight pre-production 1966 Broncos to handle the task.
Build Your Own – The Bronco has so many parts and pieces that are still available you can actually order every single piece and make your own Bronco. This will give you a brand new first generation Bronco that your friends and neighbors will be amazed by the condition of the vehicle but you will know is all new.
With these few facts about some of the interesting events in the life of the first Bronco it may be interesting to see what the new Bronco will be for us to enjoy. Whether you want to build your own or wait a few years and see what Ford gives us to enjoy it’s up to you, but I would expect it to be an amazing build with an aluminum body and an EcoBoost engine to be powerful and a top performer right out of the gate.