Ford Bronco History

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The original Bronco was an ORV (Off-Road Vehicle), intended to compete primarily with Jeep CJ models and the International Harvester Scout. The Bronco's small size (92 in wheelbase) made it popular for off-roading and some other uses, but impractical for such things as towing. The Bronco was Ford's first compact SUV, and Ford's compact SUV place would be taken by the Ford Bronco II (1984-1990), and the Ford Escape (2001-present).

The idea behind the Bronco began with Ford product manager Donald N. Frey, who also conceived of the Ford Mustang; and similarly, Lee Iacocca pushed the idea through into production. In many ways, the Bronco was a more original concept than the Mustang; whereas the Mustang was based upon the Ford Falcon, the Bronco had a frame, suspension, and body that were not shared with any other vehicle.

The Bronco was designed under engineer Paul G. Axelrad. Although the axles and brakes were sourced from the Ford F-100 four wheel drive pickup truck, the front axle was located by radius arms (from the frame near the rear of the transmission forward to the axle) and a lateral track bar, allowing the use of coil springs which gave the Bronco a tight (34 ft) turning circle, long wheel travel, and an anti-dive geometry which was useful for snowplowing. The rear suspension was more conventional, with leaf springs in a typical Hotchkiss design. A shift-on the-fly Dana Corp. transfer case and locking hubs were standard, and heavy-duty suspension was an option.

The initial engine was the Ford 170 cu in (2.8 L) straight-6, modified with solid valve lifters, a six-US-quart oil pan, heavy-duty fuel pump, oil-bath air cleaner, and a carburetor with a float bowl compensated against tilting.

Styling was subordinated to simplicity and economy, so all glass was flat, bumpers were simple C-sections, the frame was a simple box-section ladder, and the basic left and right door skins were identical except for mounting holes.

The early Broncos were offered in wagon, the ever popular halfcab, and less popular roadster configurations. Roadster was dropped early and the sport package, which later became a model line, was added.

The base price was only US$2,194, but the long option list included front bucket seats, a rear bench seat, a tachometer, and a CB radio, as well as functional items such as a tow bar, an auxiliary gas tank, a power take-off, a snowplow, a winch, and a posthole digger. Aftermarket accessories included campers, overdrive units, and the usual array of wheels, tires, chassis, and engine parts for increased performance.

The Bronco sold well in its first year (23,776 units produced[1]) and then remained in second place after the CJ-5[2] until the advent of the full-sized Chevrolet Blazer in 1969. The Blazer was a much larger and more powerful vehicle which could offer greater luxury, comfort, space, and a longer option list including an automatic transmission and power steering, and thus had broader appeal. Ford countered by enlarging the optional V8 engine from 289 cu in (4.7 L) and 200 hp (150 kW) to 302 cu in (4.9 L) and 205 hp (153 kW), but this still could not match the Blazer's optional 350 cu in (5.7 L) and 255 hp (190 kW) (horsepower numbers are before horsepower ratings changed in the early to mid 70s. A 255hp engine would have a horsepower rating of roughly 170 by today's standards.)

In 1973, power steering and automatic transmissions were made optional and sales spiked to 26,300, but by then, Blazer sales were double those of the Bronco, and International Harvester had seen the light and come out with the Scout II that was more in the Blazer class. By 1974, the larger and more comfortable vehicles such as the Cherokee made more sense for the average driver than the more rustically-oriented Bronco. The low sales of the Bronco (230,800 over twelve years) did not allow a large budget for upgrades, and it remained basically unchanged until the advent of the larger, more Blazer-like second generation Bronco in 1978. Production of the original model fell (14,546 units) in its last year, 1977.

In 1965, racecar builder Bill Stroppe assembled a team of Broncos for long-distance off-road competition for Ford. Partnering with Ford's frequently favored race team Holman-Moody, the Stroppe/Holman/Moody (SHM) Broncos proceeded to dominate the Mint 400, Baja 500, and Mexican 1000 (which was later named the Baja 1000). In 1969 SHM again entered a team of six Broncos in the Baja 1000. In 1971, a "Baja Bronco" package partially derived from Stroppe's design was offered in the Ford showrooms, featuring quick-ratio power steering, automatic transmission, fender flares covering Gates Commando tires, a roll bar, reinforced bumpers, a padded steering wheel, and distinctive red, white, blue, and black paint. However, at a price of US$5,566 versus the standard V8 Bronco price of $3,665, only 650 were sold over the next four years.

In 1966, a Bronco dragster built by Doug Nash ran the quarter mile in 9.2 seconds, with a top speed of 150 mph (240 km/h).

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The four-wheel-drive 1966 Ford Bronco came on a 92-inch wheelbase and was 152.1 inches long overall. It was powered by a solid-lifter version of Ford's proven 170-cubic-inch overhead-valve six-cylinder engine that developed 105 horsepower at 4,400 rpm.

It was the same basic engine that had been used in Falcons and Econolines, but in the Bronco, there was a different single-barrel carburetor and heavier-duty fuel pump. (In March 1966, the 289-cubic-inch V-8 was made optional.)

While the Bronco was not Falcon-derived in the same sense as the Mustang, it relied heavily on Falcon mechanical components. Ford's reasoning behind using the six was to stress economy and keep the base price down, but at an average of 14 mpg, the Bronco was hardly an economy vehicle.

The sole transmission was a steering column-mounted, fully synchronized three-speed. (An automatic was not available until 1973, and then only with a 302-cubic-inch V-8.) The three-speed's quick shifting and smooth operation were benefits that had not previously been available in four-wheel-drive vehicles.

The transmission tunnel carried a second lever (with a T-handle) that operated the transfer case. The transfer case drove both front and rear axles through constant-velocity, double-cardan universal joints.

This resulted in a higher mounting position and greater ground clearance. A button on the T-handle had to be depressed for the lever to move.

Prior to the introduction of the automatic transmission, one notch back from neutral engaged two-wheel drive, and a second notch further back set the Bronco in four-wheel drive high. A notch forward of neutral selected four-wheel-drive low range, which could only be engaged when fully stopped.

Underpinning the Bronco was a box-section frame with front coil-spring suspension and semi-elliptic rear springs with outboard shock absorbers. Up front, a "Mono-Beam" tubular beam axle was located by two forged-steel radius rods plus a track bar.

Shocks were mounted on radius arms. Frame and suspension were engineered specifically to the Bronco, giving very good ground clearance, a short 34-foot turning radius, and excellent anti-dive characteristics.

The half-ton Ford Bronco was offered in three body types -- a rough and ready roadster with no top, open-sided fairings in place of doors, and fold-down windshield at $2,404; a pickup-like "sports utility" model at $2,480; and a steel-topped wagon at $2,625.

The wagon proved to be the most popular of the three, selling 1,736 more units than the other two models combined in the first year.

Standard equipment included front and rear bumpers, front bench seat with seat belts, roll-up side windows on the wagon and pickup, padded instrument panel, rubber floor mat, locking liftgate on the wagon, fold down windshield on all models, turn signals, and dual vacuum windshield wipers with washer.

Bronco instrumentation consisted of speedometer, odometer, fuel gauge, oil pressure gauge, ammeter, and temperature gauge.

Options included a heater/defroster, 11-gallon auxiliary fuel tank, free-running front hubs, front bucket seats, rear seat for the roadster and wagon, wheel covers, horn ring, front armrests for the sports utility and wagon, padded sun visors, a herd of heavy-duty items, heavy-duty clutch, cooling package, limited-slip front and rear axles, tailgate mounted spare tire carrier, front bumper guards, chromed bumpers, front and rear power takeoffs, citizen's band radio, snowplow, trailer hitch, winch, tachometer, and tow hooks.

Roadsters could be outfitted with a vinyl convertible top or steel doors, the latter with a choice of frameless glass or plastic windows. The 1966 Bronco was offered with five exterior colors and six interior colors.

A Bronco could be ordered as a mini fire truck or auto wrecker. Dealers promoted mowers, power booms, posthole diggers, sprayers and trenchers, and rotary brooms.

It seems Ford was not only competing with Jeep and International but with Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward, too.

A steel bulkhead separated the driver's compartment from the 55.2 x 61-inch cargo area; the spare was bolted to the back of the bulkhead. On wagons and roadsters with the rear seat option, the bulkhead was omitted and the spare was mounted inside the tailgate. The pickup and wagon featured bolt-on steel roofs.

In all models the top, doors, and extra seats were designed for quick removal, so even the pickup and wagon could easily be stripped down for weekend action. The side and tailgate windows in the wagon remained stationary throughout the life of the first-generation Bronco, but aftermarket sliding windows were available.

The 1967 and 1968 Ford Bronco was little changed from the 1966 model. The standard engine in 1967 was still the 170-cubic-inch six, with the 289 V-8 as an option. The sports utility was renamed the pickup in 1967.

Improvements were the addition of variable-speed windshield wipers, dual master brake cylinder, self-adjusting brakes, and backup lights.

The options list expanded to include such items as bodyside and tailgate moldings, a fancier horn ring, and bright trim, for the instrument panel and headlight and taillight bezels. These features and more were included in the Sport Package, a $189 dress-up option for the pickup and wagon.

Still, 1967 production declined by more than 9,500 units to 14,230, including 698 roadsters, 2,602 pickups, and 10,930 wagons.

For 1968, a new spare tire carrier was located on the outside. Front bumpers had curved rather than squared ends, and -- as federal safety regulations began taking effect -- side marker lights were added to the front fenders, reflectors to the rear quarters. Revisions to interior door and window hardware made them safer for occupants.

Free-running front hubs now had better lubrication sealing and improved operation. Kingpins were upgraded for longer life. A heater and defroster were now standard.

The slow-selling roadster was dropped after the 1968 model year, meaning that the most basic of all Broncos is the rarest and one of the most collectible now.

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Underscoring the popularity of the early Bronco were the Baja 500 and Mexican 1,000 races. The first Mexican 1,000 was held October 31, 1967. The field included motorcycles, cars, Jeeps, dune buggies, specialty vehicles, and Broncos on the run from Tijuana to La Paz, which actually worked out to about 900 miles.

One Bronco was built by Bill Stroppe, who had prepared the factory Lincolns for the 1952-1954 Mexican road races. (Stroppe had already campaigned Broncos at Riverside, California, and by now he was highly skilled at preparing them.)

The Baja Bronco had a full-cage roll bar, wide wheels with big tires, seat belts and harness, extra shocks, and rally lights for night driving. The engine was tweaked to the hilt.

Stroppe's Bronco was driven by Ray Harvick. He and Stroppe started out in the lead, but were soon mired in mud after helping competitors free their Jeep. Later, they flipped and sand worked its way into the timing chain. The chain gave out about 50 miles from La Paz, thus ending Stroppe's first Baja race.

Stroppe was undaunted, and Ford was a willing sponsor despite the Bronco's failure to finish. For the 1968 event, Stroppe had 1963 Indianapolis 500 champion Parnelli Jones as his driver.

Jones was not used to off-road racing; he treated Broncos like Indy cars and pushed them much too hard. He broke a wheel and spindle about 150 miles into the race.

This did not phase Ford, though, considering Ak Miller and Ray Brock won the two-wheel-drive production class in an F-100 pickup.

Off-road racing began catching on in 1969. A 500-miler was added to the Baja schedule. Meanwhile, in Nevada, there was the Mint 400, sponsored by the Mint Hotel in Las Vegas. Stroppe had Jones for the Mint 400, plus Al and Bobby Unser.

Arguably, the 1969 model was the most changed of all Broncos through 1977, but it couldn't prevent a gradual decline in popularity for the 1969-1973 Ford Bronco.

There were considerable body changes to the pickup and wagon in 1969. For example, the windshield and cowl area were improved to reduce road noise and the doors were changed. (The fold-down windshield was discontinued, but roofs remained removable.)

The wagon body had a beefier look, especially the door frames, rocker panels, and roof. All of these changes were made to strengthen the vehicle. Parking light lenses, which had previously been clear, were now amber.

The optional 289-cubic-inch V-8 was replaced by a 302-cubic-inch unit. Electric windshield wipers replaced vacuum-operated blades as a running change during the model year. Production was 2,317 pickups and 18,639 wagons.

For 1970, there were only minor styling changes. Side marker lights and reflectors were reshaped and moved higher up on the body. Broncos with Sport Package equipment were now considered to be separate models.

Important new options were G78 x 15B fiberglass tires, "Traction-Lock" limited-slip rear differential, and shoulder harnesses. (Through 1977, Bronco remained the only four-wheeler in its class with limited-slip differentials available both front and rear.) As in nearly every year, the list of exterior colors was expanded.

Competition in the 4x4 sport-utility field was heating up, with Chevrolet's Blazer and GMC's Jimmy -- both built on shortened pickup truck platforms -- having arrived since mid 1969. Orders for 1970 Broncos declined to 1,700 pickups and 16,750 wagons.

About the only changes for 1971 were a new heavy-duty front axle and 12.7-gallon fuel tank. (The fuel tank had first been used in 1970 on those Broncos equipped with evaporative emissions recovery systems.)

Standard tire size was now E78 x 15. During the model year, front bucket seats became standard equipment. The number of bright-trim accessories again increased.

The pattern of falling pickup sales and rising wagon sales continued; 1,503 pickups were produced compared to 18,281 wagons. Base prices were $3,535 and $3,638, respectively.

The 1972 Ford Bronco gained larger brakes front and rear. In mid 1972, a new Ranger package was offered. This consisted of special exterior colors with accent striping, argent grille, carpeting, deluxe wheel covers, deluxe cloth-insert bucket seats, swing-away spare with a tire cover, woodgrain door panels, and fiberboard headliner.

Due to smog restrictions, horsepower of the six-cylinder engine dropped from 100 to 82. In California, the 302 V-8 became the only engine normally available, with the six a special-order item only.

The declining popularity of the Bronco pickup finally took its toll in 1973, when only the wagon was offered. Ford's veteran 200-cubic-inch six was newly installed as the standard engine; rated horsepower was only 84.

The tide of competition in the growing SUV field was rising and Ford attempted to keep the Bronco in the hunt with more comfort and convenience features. A three-speed automatic transmission, the C-4, was available for models equipped with the V-8.

This transmission had both fully automatic and manual control. With it came a new J-handle transfer case shifter setup that was quite a bit different than the old T-handle setup. (In 1973, it was still possible to get a standard transmission with either the T-handle shifter or the new J-shifter for the transfer case.)

Also, power steering was offered for the first time, again only with the V-8. Even with only one body style left, production was a healthier 21,894 Broncos.

The little boom in Bronco demand seen in 1973 wouldn't last, and the 1974-1977 Ford Bronco models would mark the end for the car-based Bronco.

For model-year 1974 (which began under the cloud of the first OPEC oil embargo), production was 18,786. Subsequent years would see further declines.

Then, too, there was very little new. The automatic transmission quadrant was now lighted. The six and optional 4.11 final-drive gear were no longer available in California, where emissions standards were stringent.

The J-shifter was the only setup, even with the manual transmission. The only interior trim color available was parchment.

The 1975 Ford Bronco had a revised exhaust system, stronger rear axle, and a higher ride height. The only engine offered was the 302-cubic-inch V-8, rated at 125 horsepower.

The manual transmission became a special-order item. The six was discontinued due to smog regulations. Anti-smog equipment became standard across the board. (California-bound Broncos came with a required catalytic converter.)

Sports and Rangers were given an F-Series truck steering wheel, and an engine-block heater joined the options list. Production was down to 11,273; base price went up to $4,979.

Improvements for the 1976 Ford Bronco were increased front axle capacity, an optional front stabilizer bar, optional power front disc brakes, and faster-ratio power steering. Solid-state ignition was introduced during the 1976 model run, as was a Special Decor Group with a blacked-out grille, wide bodyside tape stripes, and other trim accents. Bronco production improved to 13,625.

For the 1977 Ford Bronco, the Ranger package was changed to include a "sports bar," which was a newly styled roll bar. Disc brakes became standard.

The 302-cubic-inch V-8 had a redesigned combustion chamber and new pistons. The intake manifold was improved for better cooling. Horsepower was rated at 133.

The front passenger seat and padded dash, formerly standard items, were moved to the options list. Production fell by a few hundred units to 13,335.

Time and tastes were passing the Bronco by in the late 1970s. When it was introduced, the Bronco had upped the antes in power and comfort compared to its targeted rivals, the Jeep and the Scout. It drew more motorists into the growing sport-utility vehicle market, but it also attracted new rivals of its own.

Vehicles like the Blazer and Jimmy looked like quick fixes at first, but their truck-based designs did include lots of interior space, the ability to carry big engines, and a host of available comfort and convenience features. After a slow start, Blazer production shot up to more than 47,000 for 1972 and kept growing.

When Chrysler entered the SUV field in 1974, it did so with cut-down trucks, the Dodge Ramcharger and related Plymouth Trail Duster. The same year, Jeep released the Cherokee, a detrimmed two-door version of its 4x4 Wagoneer station wagon.

Ford (which had rejected a truck-based design when first planning the Bronco) couldn't ignore the direction the off-road vehicle market was heading. A whole new era arrived in 1978 with the debut of a bigger Bronco derived from the F-Series truck and powered by a standard 351-cubic-inch V-8 engine.

Production soared to more than 70,000 vehicles. But almost overnight, the compact, simple, early Bronco became collectible, and its collectibility has grown with each passing year.


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The redesign of the Bronco in 1978 was based on the F-100 truck, sharing many chassis, drivetrain, and body components. The entire front clip is indistinguishable from their full size trucks for those years, and 78/79 broncos were available in either round or square sealed beam headlight styles. Ford started the redesign in 1972, codenamed Project Short-Horn, but introduction was delayed by concerns over the mid-1970s fuel crisis.[4] The increased size allowed them to compete with the fullsize SUVs offered by GM (Chevrolet Blazer/GMC Jimmy), Chrysler (Dodge Ramcharger/Plymouth Trailduster), American Motors (Jeep Grand Wagoneer), and Toyota (Toyota Land Cruiser). The base engine was a 351 cu in (5.8 L), with an optional 400 cu in (6.6 L). A Ford 9" rear axle and a Dana 44 front axle were standard. 1979 saw the addition of a catalytic converter, and other various emissions control equipment.

The 78-79 Broncos are among the most popular fullsize Broncos due to their solid front axles, favored by most off roaders and many towers. The Bronco dropped the solid front axle for a "hybrid" independent front suspension (known as the Twin Traction Beam, or TTB) setup in 1980. All Broncos from 66-96 came with a solid rear axle.


The Bronco was offered with a 351M or 400 V-8 engine. Both engines had a 2 bbl carb, a T-18 granny first gear 4 spd manual was standard while 3 spd automatic transmission was optional. The transfer case had a 2 Speed w/1.92 low range ratio. Rear axle was the Ford 9" while front was the Dana 44. Front disc brakes were now standard. Round headlights were standard, while square headlights came with the XLT option package.


Square headlights and emissions control equipment, specifically an air pump, vapor canister and a catalytic converter became standard.

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The 1978 & 1979 Ford Bronco, also called "second-generation" Broncos, are perhaps the rarest, most mysterious, and most highly sought after Broncos in existence. Considered lost treasures by many, they were only manufactured for two years and are the only Broncos that were built on the indestructible 1973-1979 F-Series pickup chassis. The second-generation Broncos are unique in almost every aspect of it's design, from being the only Bronco ever built that exclusively used the Cleveland based 351M/400 engines to being the only full-size Broncos ever built with a solid front axle (considered the best axle design for 4-wheeling). The questions that people ask the most about the second-generation Broncos is why were these Broncos only manufactured for two years and what is the history behind them?

Well, to answer these questions we must first understand the history and development of the full-size Bronco. The second-generation Broncos began their long history at Ford's Product Design Center in 1972. Code named "Project Short Horn", the designers and engineers at Ford were working on an all-new Bronco that would compete with and ultimately far surpass the extremely popular full-size Blazer from General Motors. Working with many sets of requirements imposed on them by Ford and learning from mistakes made by Chevrolet on the Blazer, the designers were able to come up with a vehicle that had many features never before seen in a sporty-utility vehicle. Ford required the new Bronco to be based on the new '73 F-100 and for it to be ready for the original release date of the 1974 model year. The new Bronco also had to use the F-100 doors with no modifications to save on production cost and had to have a removable hard top to compete with the Blazer.

To solve these requirements a designer named Dick Nesbitt, who was one of the original designers of the full-size Bronco, came up with an ingenious idea of a wrap-around Targa style roof band which ultimately shaped the unique design of all full-size Broncos from 1978 to 1996. The wrap-around Targa design allowed for a fixed-roof cab that allowed the use of the F-100 doors and solved one of the main problems with the Blazer which was leaks that developed along the thick rubber seal on the removable top. There was more than just one proposed design for the new Bronco top, however. The picture to the right shows some of the proposed designs, including an opera window design, the targa-style design which is similar to the production version, a plain pointed corner design that is very similar to the design used on the '80 & up models, and a plain rounded corner design that was incorporated into the targa-style design that was used on the production version. Testing centers at Ford determined that the targa-style design was best to seal the top to the cab and that the rounded corner glass design was best for resisting stress-related cracks.


Another engineering obstacle that had to be overcome was finding the proper location to mount the radius arms that held the front axle in place. Several ill-handling prototypes were built and tested before the engineers at Ford got it right.

With nearly all of the problems worked out and all of the original requirements for the full-size Bronco now satisfied, the 1974 model year came and went, and STILL no full-size Bronco! Why wasn't it released on time? To answer this question, we have to understand what was going on in the world during this time. Beginning in 1973, the world suffered from the worst energy crisis ever experienced in modern times. Homes across the country started experiencing electrical brown outs and people had to pay ever-increasing prices for fuel for their automobiles. Price control systems that were implemented at the time only aggravated the problem, and by October of 1973 The Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) implemented an oil embargo that nearly crippled the country. Everywhere people went there were lines at gas stations that were sometimes miles long and many times there was no gas left at the stations at all!

It has been speculated by many that the onset of the 1973 OPEC oil embargo was by far the main reason that the introduction of the full-size Bronco was delayed until the 1978 model year. By 1977 the energy crisis had eased up and the first generation Broncos still being sold were terribly out dated by this time. Sales were sharply falling due to the extreme popularity of the much more modern and versatile Blazer. Ford also finally had a new, environmentally-friendly engine in use in its 4x4 trucks by 1977, the 351M/400, which could only mean one thing: The second-generation Bronco's time had finally come!

In mid 1977 Ford introduced the first full-size Broncos for the 1978 model year. The long awaited '78 Bronco was so popular that many people had to wait six months or longer to get one from their local Ford dealers. Consumers just couldn't get enough of them. Even the automobile and truck magazines of the time raved on and on about the new full-size Broncos. The '78 Bronco practically swept-the-boards with 4x4 and truck-of-the-year awards. Pickup, Van, & 4WD magazine even stated, "It's a guess, but perhaps a very safe bet, that Chevy, Dodge, and Jeep engineers have '78 Broncos in their labs now, taking a look and calculating ways and means for catching up".

One of the main reasons for the new Bronco's instant celebrity status was the combination of functionality and ruggedness the vehicle offered. The F-Series 4x4s had a long standing reputation for being the best built full-size trucks on the market. With the introduction of the full-size Bronco, consumers could now have a vehicle with all the ruggedness of the F-Series trucks combined with luxury features such as A/C, cruise control, roll bars, AM/FM/CB stereos, delay wipers, bucket seats, center consoles, and even tilt steering -- all in a short wheel base package that was easy to maneuver both on and off the road. Consumers could also choose exactly how they wanted their new Bronco equipped with two basic models being offered; the Custom, which was marketed towards the "outdoor enthusiast" and the Ranger XLT, which was marketed as more of family-oriented daily driver. Ford also offered a "Free-Wheelin" package on both the Custom & the Ranger XLT that featured tri-color striping, black bumpers, black low mount western-style mirrors, sport steering wheel, special glove box appliqué, and custom wheels. There were also some ultra-luxurious Lariat Broncos built to help promote the new Bronco at Ford dealers around the country.

The 1979 Bronco was basically a direct carry over from the 1978 models. The big difference for the 1979 model year was a full array of emissions equipment, including smog pumps and catalytic converters, that were now standard on all 1/2 ton trucks. Probably the most amazing accomplishment for the '79 Bronco was that Ford managed to satisfy the EPA emissions requirements with very little, if any, loss of performance over the previous model year. Automotive and truck magazines of the time continued to rave about the '79 Bronco. 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine said during their 1979 Bronco road test that, "If you've already come to the conclusion that we like the Bronco, you're right. In fact, the more time we spend in it, the better we like it".

Some additional new features for 1979 was the introduction of captain chairs, standard square headlights (they were optional on the 78), and a more aggressively marketed "Free-Wheelin" package that featured optional chromatic striping in place of the '78s tri-color striping.


By mid 1979, the second-generation Broncos seemed to be on top of the world. Sales of the new Bronco were breaking all-time records and both General Motors and Chrysler Corporation were still trying to figure out what hit them. But the end of the second-generation Broncos was just around the corner. Even before the very first full-size Bronco was released in mid 1977, Ford designers were finalizing the design of the third-generation Bronco which was to be based on the all new line up of F-Series trucks scheduled to be released for the 1980 model year.

The combination of the OPEC oil embargo of 1973-1974 and the engineering difficulties Ford had to overcome delayed the introduction of the second-generation by four years, which meant that even before it was released it was already obsolete. The new third-generation Bronco that was released in late 1979 was a much better reflection of the times. The previous year's standard 351 CID V8 engine was now replaced by a 300 CID I-6 engine and the beloved, torque-laden 400 CID V8 engine was now a thing of the past. Also laid to rest was the solid front axle which was replaced by a quirky "Twin-Traction Beam" that was far better suited for the road than it was for the trials. The third-generation Bronco was lighter, more fuel-efficient, and was cheaper to produce. The second-generation Broncos didn't stand a chance against it.

In retrospect, it's nothing short of a miracle that the 78-79 Broncos were even produced in the first place. In 1979 another energy crisis and a failing economy hit the nation. Although not as severe as the 1973-1974 crisis, consumers were still hit with skyrocketing fuel prices and double-digit inflation. Had this happened just two years earlier, it is almost a certainty that Ford would have delayed the introduction of the full-size Bronco until the 1980 model year. Still, for two wonderful years the second-generation Broncos turned the 4x4 and SUV market upside-down. They were, and still remain in the eyes of many, the undisputed King of SUVs.


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There was a major redesign of the model in 1980 (the 1980 model was based on the redesigned Ford F-Series; this generation lasted until 1986 with no sheetmetal changes, mostly powertrain and chassis related). The new Bronco was shorter, and had cosmetic changes along with powertrain, suspension and other odds and ends. Most notably, the Ford Bronco had a TTB (twin traction beam) setup in the front end for an independent front suspension. Many state that the TTB isn't a true independent front suspension, nor is it a solid front axle, but a hybrid of the two with a "solid" axle that pivots around the differential and uses coil springs instead of leaf springs. The TTB system offered a higher degree of control and comfort both on and off road, but sacrificed wheel travel, and is notorious for being difficult to keep aligned.

With a smaller Bronco and fuel economy in mind, Ford offered a 300 cu in (4.9 L) straight six as the base engine. Although this engine came with more torque than the 302 cu in (4.9 L) V8 and comparable to the 351 cu in (5.8 L) V8 (until the High Output model), the engine was limited by a 1-bbl carburetor and restrictive single-out exhaust manifolds. Electronic emissions equipment added in 1984 further restricted the power of the inline six. Ford used up their remaining stock of 351M engines before switching over to the 351W in mid-model year 1982. A "High Output" version of the 351W became an option in 1984 and continued into the 1987 model year. Output was 210 hp (157 kW) at 4000 rpm vs the standard 2-bbl 351W which made 156 hp (116 kW) at 4000 rpm. The 302 was the first engine to receive electronic fuel-injection, starting in the 1985 model year.

Cosmetically, Ford returned to using its "blue oval" logo on the front of a slightly redesigned grille, and removed the "F O R D" letters from the hood in 1982. Towards the mid-80's, an Eddie Bauer edition Bronco was offered, with a tan interior and tan outside trim. Classic square mirrors were dropped in 1986.


Ford converted the Bronco with the Twin Traction Beam front suspension. This front axle still incorporated the Dana 44 carrier. Ford 9 " was still out back. Transfer case was now the NP 208 w/2.61 low range. Standard motor was the 300 CI inline 6 (w/ manual trans only). Optional motors were the 302 and 351 cid V-8's. 3.00 axle ratio was introduced, 3.5 was optional. Auto locking hubs were now optional also. Bronco dimensions for 1980 were reduced by 2.7 inches in length and 1.1 inches in width. Body was heavily restyled with cleaner lines and new grille.


Changes included a 4 spd overdrive manual trans with a .71 4th gear The 4 spd with granny first was still available. Engine options remained. Auto-locking hubs were made standard equip. A snow plow package was offered for the first time.


Ford used up their remaining stock of 351M engines before switching over to the 351W in mid-model year 1982. All Ford products, including Bronco, returned to the use of the Ford "Blue Oval". Letters F-O-R-D were removed from the hood and the blue oval was placed in the center of the grille and on the left side of the tailgate.


The I-6 was made avail with the 3 spd auto and the rear seat was now standard. 9" rear dropped in favor of new integral carrier 8.8" rear. Along with that change the stock gear ratio in the rear went from 3.50 to 3.55.


The 351 CID V-8, HO motor was offered. This 4bbl motor put out 210 HP at 4000 RPM vs the old 351 CID V-8 which was 156 HP @ 4000 RPM It was basically a 351W with a "Mustang 5.0 HO" treatment: higher compression and a Holley 4 barrel carb. 4.10/4.11 gear ratios were also available as an option, but not with limited slip.


had some engine changes. the I-6 now had a serpentine belt. The big change was the 302, multi-port EFI. HP for the 302 was now 190 and torque was up to 285. This motor was avail in California only with a manual trans. The 351 and 351 HO motors were optional. The Eddie Bauer trim package debuts, brought to the full-sized Bronco due to fabulous success with the Bronco II. Also, midside body moulding changed from chrome to black plastic.


1986 saw the 351 CID standard engine deleted, but the 351 HO was still optional. A new overdive 4 speed automatic (AOD) was offered with a .667, 4th gear when combined with the MPI 302.

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In 1987, the body and drivetrain of the fullsize Bronco changed, as it was still based on the F-Series. The new aero body style reflected a larger redesign of many Ford vehicles for the new model year. By 1988, all Broncos were being sold with electronic fuel injection (first introduced in 1986 with the 302). In 1990, Ford started offering the heavy duty E4OD transmission. In 1991, a 25th Silver Anniversary Edition was sold featuring special badges, Currant Red paint and a gray leather interior. All Broncos were built at the Michigan Truck Plant in Wayne, Michigan on the same line as the F-150.


1987 featured another major body restyling for the Bronco. The new aero look was in and the Bronco followed suit. The transfer case was replaced by a Borg-Warner 1356 with a 2.69 low range. 4.10 gearing was optional. Touch drive was first offered this year. The 351 HO V-8 was still optional and the 300 CID I-6 recieved Multiport fuel injection (MPI). Rear anitlock brakes were made standard.


Two 5spd manuals, M5OD and M5OD-HD(?) were available. The overdrive was .8 and the HD tranny had a 5.72 first gear. The 351 CID V-8 was treated to MPI. HP increased from [email protected]@3800. Torque increased form [email protected]@2800. The entire engine line was now fuel injected and also serpentine belt equipped. Transfer case skid plate was now standard.


Tip/slide front seats were made standard to ease rear passenger ingress.


1990 brought the electronic AOD and it was now the standard auto. 300 CID and 351 CID HO engines now featured EEC-IV engine diagnostic connectors.


1991 was the 25th anniversary of the Bronco and no long-term changes were made. However, Ford did make a Silver Anniversary Edition of the Bronco available to commemorate the occasion. This limmited edition Bronco was offered only in Currant Red with gray leather interior. This was the first factory offering of leather seating on the Bronco and was only available on the Silver Anniversary Edition. The Currant Red paint was also exclusive to this edition. The E4OD became the stock automatic transmission

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The Bronco, along with the F-Series, was updated for 1992. The new Bronco was redesigned with safety in mind, incorporating front crumple zones, rear shoulder seat belts, a third brakelight embedded in the removable top, and after 1994, driver-side airbags. Due to the taillight and shoulder belts being safety equipment integrated into the top, the top was no longer legally removable and all literature in the owners manuals that had previously explained how to take the top off was removed. Cosmetic exterior and interior changes included a sweeping front end and a new dash. Power mirrors were also offered for the first time, and in 1996 the Bronco became the first vehicle to incorporate turn signal lights in the mirrors. No major drivetrain changes occurred.

From the late 1980s through its demise in 1996, the Bronco was also sold at Ford dealerships as a modified 4-door SUV (making it similar to the Excursion or Suburban). These 4-door Broncos were converted by Centurion Vehicles of White Pigeon, Michigan. The conversion involved combining a new crew cab short bed F-Series truck with a Bronco tailgate and fiberglass top. In addition to adding a third row of seats and more room, a Bronco Centurion could be ordered using an F-350 as the donor pickup, allowing the Centurion to have such engines as the 7.3 L (≈445 cu in) PowerStroke turbodiesel and the 460 cu in (7.5 L) gasoline V8. This made the Centurion more appealing to people in need of a comfortable tow vehicle, albeit a faster one. Over time the few of these cars that still exist are rare and valuable, except for the certain percentage of Northern cars that suffered from tailgate rust-out due to poor body paint preparation.

The Bronco Centurion could be ordered with options such as a third-row seat that can be folded into a bed, second row bucket seats, a TV with a VCR, and a built-in radar detector.

Bronco Centurions are considered after market conversions.

In mid 1996, Ford officially made the decision to discontinue the Bronco. On Wednesday, June 12, 1996 the last Bronco ever built rolled off the assembly line at Michigan's Ford Truck Plant. The last Bronco was escorted by Jeff Trapp's 1970 Ford Bronco during a Drive-Off Ceremony. It was replaced by the Ford Expedition, which was introduced as the successor to the Bronco, and more effectively competed with GM's Chevrolet Tahoe. The Bronco name was reused a few years later for a similar concept car.


1992 realized the last major body restyling in the Bronco's lifespan. This change offered much more swept front sheetmetal that curved in at the fenders. Power window/lock controls moved up the doorpanel towards the top to make them more accessible. Power mirrors are now offered for the first time. Rear passengers are restrained via integral shoulder/seat belts. Colored stripe in the tailgate bezel is changed from red to black. Leather seating is now an option on XLT and Eddie Bauer trim levels. Ford also offered the NITE option package, for only this year. The package was all black, including the top. Special graphics were applied.


1993 brought the end of the 300 CID I-6. 4-wheel anitlock brakes were now standard. Transfer case was now a New Process model 200 with low range of 2.69.


1994 brought us a drivers side airbag, side door beams and CFC free A/C. Fake rivets disappear from the optional aluminum wheels. Center hub bezel on steel and aluminum wheels changed from red to black. Californai V8's went from Speed density to MAF.


Ford reprogrammed the E4OD automatic trannsmission for smoother shifts. The 351 CID V-8 went to sequential MPI with mass air in california. Lower body side trim color for Eddie Bauer package is changed from the traditional tan to bronze.


1996 last year for the Bronco, debutted OBD-II electronics. Side mirrors with integral signal lights were offered for the first time. 302 CID and 351 CID HO MPI motors were still offered. The axles were still the 8.8 inch out back offered in 1983 and Dana 44 TTB front that started in 1980. All V8's got MAF as well.

The Bronco permanently entered popular culture on June 17, 1994, as the vehicle in which O.J. Simpson, wanted for the murders of his ex-wife and her friend, attempted to elude Los Angeles Police Department in a low-speed chase with himself in the passenger seat and Al Cowlings driving. It was a white 1993 model owned by Al Cowlings.



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Bronco II



The Ford Bronco II was a compact SUV sold between 1984 and 1990 as a smaller complement to the full-size Ford Bronco, as well as to compete with the Chevrolet S-10 Blazer and Jeep Cherokee. It was very mechanically similar to the Ford Ranger pickup, but had a 94 in (2,388 mm) wheelbase (similar to a Volkswagen Beetle) and was enclosed in the rear.

The 1984 and 1985 models were equipped with a 2.8 L V6, which was similar to Ford's 2.8 L available in Europe. The 1986 model year introduced a 2.9 L EFI V6. This engine was doomed from the beginning with design flaws, often suffering premature cylinder head failure and loss of valvetrain lubrication if not rigorously maintained. Although these flaws had been fixed by the 1989 model year, the Bronco II was steadily becoming unattractive to potential buyers due to safety concerns.

The Ford Bronco II was known to tip over in some circumstances - as with most SUVs - due to the high center of gravity, and led to a NTSB investigation along with criticism by independent automotive safety groups. The Bronco II underwent a major redesign, and was re-released as the wider and longer Ford Explorer in 1991.

Despite its reputation as an unreliable, unsafe vehicle, the Bronco II is still actively sought-after by those in the market for a cheap, solid, compact SUV. Its similarities to the Ford Ranger make it an easy vehicle to work on as well. Many engine swaps that are popular with the Ranger, such as a Ford Windsor engine, are also easily possible with a Bronco II.

The 1989 and 1990 model years featured a completely redesigned front fascia, which made the Bronco II look much more like the F-Series trucks and the full-sized Bronco. These are known as "second generation" Bronco IIs, even though it is not a true second generation. The 1990 model year and a few late 1989 model year Bronco IIs featured the Dana 35 front axle which replaced the weaker, and more prone to breaking, Dana 28.


The Ford Bronco II was a compact SUV sold between 1984 and 1990. It was commissioned as a smaller complement to the full-size Bronco as well as to offer a Ford alternative to the Chevrolet S-10 Blazer, Jeep Cherokee and Toyota 4Runner. The Bronco II was Ford's first compact SUV since the original Bronco sold from 1966 to 1977. It is mechanically and (except in detail) structurally identical to the Ford Ranger. It had a 94 inch (2,388 mm) wheelbase and was enclosed in the rear. The Bronco II, unlike its larger brother the Bronco, had four wheel drive optional (all full sized Broncos were four wheel drive,) and did not feature a removable roof.

The 1984 and 1985 models were equipped with the 115 hp (86 kW) carbureted Cologne 2.8 L V6 engine which was also used in the Ranger from 1984 to 1985. The 1986 model year introduced the 140 hp (104 kW) fuel injected 2.9 L Cologne V6. Overheating the engine usually leads to cracks in the cylinder head between the valve springs or at the base of the rocker shaft pedestals. This results in internal coolant leaks causing contamination of the oil which, if not caught in time, causes severe internal engine damage. Although there were slight improvements to the head castings in late-1989, these heads were not installed on production engines before the production of the Bronco II ceased. Bronco IIs that were still under warranty or at the owner’s desire were retrofitted with the improved heads.

A small 86 hp (64 kW) 2.3 Diesel engine was also offered through 1987, but this engine was rarely used as it offered poor performance.

The first Bronco II was developed in parallel with the Ranger from 1984 to 1988. The restyling of the Bronco II and Ranger started in 1989, but ended for the Bronco II with the end of production in February 1990, replaced by the larger Explorer. The restyling is marked not only by difference in physical appearance, but also improved structural support. 1990 models produced after November 1989 with four-wheel drive came equipped with the Dana 35 front axle, as opposed to the Dana 28 front axle used in earlier production.

The Explorer started where the Bronco II left off with a similar Ranger-based platform, sharing essentially the same front end, but with Ford's new 4.0L OHV Cologne 155 hp (116 kW) V6 and a four door model with a two door Sport option. The Explorer kept to the Ranger based tradition until 1995 when it was overhauled with a major exterior restyling, and chassis modifications to allow the new addition of Ford's 5.0L V8, and that was the end of the line for any reminisce of the Bronco II.

Ford would not market another compact SUV until the release of the Escape in 2001.

There are many common and popular modifications that are done with the Bronco II. One bolt-on modification is on four-wheel drive vehicles to replace the earlier Dana 28 front axle with the later production Dana 35s from Rangers (Note: BroncoII with production dates after November of the 1990 model year are already equipped with the more durable Dana 35 front axle). Retrofitting a Ford 8.8 rear axle is not quite as easy, though it is still a very popular modification. Lift kits are also one of the most popular modifications, either by using drop shackles in the back and larger coils in the front with or w/o radius arm drop brackets and axle pivot drop brackets, and/or a body lift. With both the Bronco II and Ranger there are many possibilities for engine swaps, the most common being either the 302 or 351W Ford Windsor engines or the 4.0 L Cologne V6 from a Ranger or Explorer.

The Bronco II, being a popular SUV choice was dogged by targeted reports that it was prone to rollovers. Some of the headlines in 1989-90 included "NHTSA Investigates Bronco II Rollovers," Automotive News (March 20, 1989) "Magazine Gives Ford's Bronco II 'Avoid' Rating," Wall Street Journal (May 8, 1989), and "Consumer Reports Criticizes Ford Bronco II's Handling," Washington Post (May 18, 1989)

After analysis of SUV crashes of the Suzuki Samurai, the NHTSA opened a formal study of the Ford Bronco II in 1989. There were 43 Bronco II rollover fatalities in 1987, compared with eight for the Samurai, but accident data in four states showed the Bronco II’s rollover rate was similar to that of other SUVs, so the investigation was closed. NHTSA declined to reopen the investigation in 1997 after more Bronco II crashes.SUVs in general tend to have higher centers of gravity compared with passenger cars, and most come with owner warnings today, but there is little conclusive evidence that the Bronco II is much different from other SUVs in this respect.

There were, however, reports that the Bronco II's suspension contained a design flaw that, when turning, forced the side of the vehicle on the outside of the turn upwards, opposite of what a safe suspension should do. This means that not only was the Bronco II top heavy, but it forced itself over. Documented evidence showed that Ford knew about this, but found it less expensive to hire a team of lawyers to prep for the oncoming lawsuits before the vehicle was even released, than it was to pay for a costly redesign.

The successor, the Ford Explorer would suffer a similar fate with the Firestone and Ford tire controversy.

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2004 Bronco Concept


At the 2004 North American International Auto Show, a Bronco concept car was introduced. Some features of the concept car, such as the box-like roof line, short wheelbase, and the round headlamps are features associated with the Early Bronco, but this concept car also had a 2.0 L intercooled turbodiesel engine and a six-speed manual transmission. As of March 2007, Ford is still considering releasing this for production.The vehicle would be slotted below the Ford Escape if it were to be produced.


(from Ford Press Release) The legendary Bronco is back as Ford re-explores the origins of the sport utility vehicle in a concept making its debut at the 2004 North American International Auto Show. The Ford Bronco concept demonstrates the original’s authentic spirit while advancing powertrain technologies.

At a time when sport utilities are becoming more and more civilized – some to the point of forgetting their roots – the Bronco’s clean, raw shape, uncluttered interior and capable chassis make it the ideal tool for work, play or just making a statement.

Key design features reminiscent of the original Ford Bronco include the boxy, upright roofline, short wheelbase, round headlamps and the Bronco nameplate milled into the modern three-bar grille. A winch and guide rollers are integrated into the lower fascia. Exterior details include exposed door hinges, cowl vents and flared wheel wells. Unique loop-shaped door handles are integrated into the door panels and open with a tug.

"True to its heritage, the Bronco concept is a tough, genuine SUV that’s all about function," said J Mays, Ford Motor Company group vice president of Design. "It’s like a claw hammer in a box full of department store, battery-operated, plastic, power tools."

Yet within Ford Bronco concept’s rugged design is an advanced turbo-diesel powertrain with concept technologies that stretch the envelope of today’s conventional propulsion modes.

"The Bronco concept showcases significant advanced powertrain technologies, mating a 2.0-liter intercooled turbo diesel with an efficient six-speed PowerShift™ transmission and Intelligent™ four-wheel-drive system for a powerful, sure-footed off-roader," said Graham Hoare, director, Powertrain Advanced and Research Engineering. "Then comes the fun part. We’ve added nitrous-oxide injection for a burst of power at your fingertips."

Although only a concept, the Bronco demonstrates how Ford could further complement its extensive SUV lineup that includes Escape, Explorer, Expedition and Excursion.

"The original Bronco carved new trails as a rugged off-roader, but Ford really created the SUV phenomenon with the introduction of the Explorer in 1990," said Steve Lyons, president, Ford Division. "Since that time, Ford has always been the clear leader in SUVs. But we will keep looking at new ways to extend our SUV leadership. For example, we’re introducing the Freestyle crossover for customers who are looking for a very civilized SUV alternative. At the other extreme, the Bronco concept shows how a small, rugged and extremely capable off-road machine could complement our SUV lineup."


The Bronco concept strikes a familiar profile of the authentic SUVs of the late 1960s and at the same time is contemporary, appealing and relevant for today’s market. The Bronco concept adds modern technologies to an original theme for a fresh new approach. The headlamps use LED and halogen light sources to cast a wider beam for better peripheral vision in off-road situations.

The Ford name is integrated into the tailgate that swings open to the side, allowing easy access to the rear cargo area. The taillamps are rectangular and feature LED lights in a cascaded array. Bronco sits on LT 265/70R18 Goodyear all-terrain tires mounted on specially cut 18-inch, six-spoke aluminum wheels that convey the confidence to carry it over any surface in any condition. A full-size spare tire is mounted in the rear cargo area.

The roof is made up of two separate sections. The rear portion can be removed for an open-air driving experience. In another link with the original Bronco, roll bar accents can be attached once the rear portion of the roof is removed, giving the look and feel of a Baja racer. Ford offered customized "Baja Broncos" in the early 1970s.

A monotone color scheme featuring a warm silver finish, coupled with bright anodized brushed aluminum accents, flows seamlessly from the exterior body panels to the exposed interior surfaces. The two seats are trimmed in ginger-hued suede that looks and feels like a leather work glove, accented with same color leather inserts and a four-line stitching pattern often found on a rugged tool belt.

The instrument cluster is made up of two round bezels, housing a speedometer and a combination odometer/compass. A lockable glove box features an integrated grab handle that is perfectly positioned to reassure the passenger when traversing rough terrain. Corrugated interior floor panels further communicate strength and durability.

"The Bronco concept is like your favorite pair of worn, faded jeans – classic, familiar, comfortable and always in style," said Mays.

The Original

Ford introduced the original Bronco in August 1965 as a response to the needs of active Americans who sought adventure as well as practical transportation. Bronco, with a 92-inch wheelbase, was available in three body styles: A four-passenger wagon with a removable full-length roof, a pickup with a half roof and open rear and a two-door roadster with a choice of two- or four-passenger seating.

Like the other no-frills off-roaders of the day – such as the Land Rover Defender and International Scout – the Bronco was both adept and adaptable. Owners loved its ruggedness and the ease with which they could customize it for their needs. Ford offered an array of work-and-play options including winches, snowplow blades, locking front hubs, tow hooks, air-lift springs, an auxiliary gas tank and more.

The original Bronco was powered by a 105 horsepower inline six-cylinder engine from the Ford Falcon and was mated with a fully synchronized three-speed manual transmission with a column-mounted shifter – its location affectionately dubbed "three on the tree."

The Ford small-block 289-cubic-inch V-8 became available as an option in 1966, upgraded to 302 cubic inches in 1969. Full-time four-wheel-drive uniquely mounted for maximum ground clearance and a solid front axle made it an ideal choice for off-road enthusiasts.

Bronco’s sturdy shape is instantly recognizable. The simple, upright stance, signature round headlamps and basic, functional interior are hallmarks of the original design and have made it an icon among hard-core off-roaders.

Bronco was an immediate success, leading the emerging recreational four-wheel drive market with sales of 18,200 units in its first full year of production. Ford continued to update the original Bronco until 1977 – its best sales year, but its last. More than 230,000 were produced from 1966-1977. A much larger Bronco took over in 1978.

Powerful Diesel Punch – With a Little Extra Kick

The Ford Bronco concept is powered by a proven 2.0-liter common-rail Duratorq TDCi engine from Ford’s European product range. This 16-valve turbo diesel combines outstanding power, torque, smoothness and exceptional fuel economy in a compact package, helping to change public expectations about diesel engines.

Using the latest common-rail fuel-injection technology, the 128 horsepower (130 PS) engine delivers peak torque of 244 lb-ft (330 Nm) at a relatively low 1,800 rpm – an ideal quality for off-roading or urban driving. Plus, Ford has engineered the engine technology to deliver overboost that provides an extra surge of power on driver demand for situations such as hill climbing. Overboost generates an even higher torque of 258 lb-ft (350 Nm) for a limited time under full throttle.

Sophisticated, electronically controlled injectors are central to the Bronco concept’s common-rail system. The system delivers fuel at extremely high pressure – up to 20,300 psi (1,400 bar) – to the injectors. The fuel is delivered to the cylinders with high precision and control that results in greater performance and torque and excellent fuel economy.

For the Bronco concept, Ford engineers took this punchy engine and went further.

A Nitrous "Kick"

The use of nitrous oxide (N2O) as a performance enhancement dates back to World War II, when it was employed to give Allied aircraft "emergency" boosts in both airspeed and altitude capabilities.

In the 1970s, nitrous systems saw growing popularity in the automotive performance community among racers looking for that added "kick." The word began to spread when enthusiast publications such as Hot Rod, Car Craft and Popular Hot Rodding informed their readers by publishing in-depth, technical feature stories on nitrous-oxide systems.

The 2001 movie, "The Fast and the Furious," and its sequel highlighted nitrous oxide use as a performance enhancer among high-revving, California street racers and spread the word to a new generation of enthusiasts.

How does nitrous injection work? Each nitrous oxide molecule is made up of two parts nitrogen and one part oxygen (36 percent oxygen by weight). During an engine’s combustion process, nitrous oxide breaks down and releases its oxygen atoms. This extra oxygen creates additional power by allowing more fuel to be burned. The remaining nitrogen acts to keep cylinder pressures from getting out of hand.

On the new Ford Bronco concept, a stream of nitrous oxide is injected into the engine’s cylinders as long as the N2O button is held down, providing up to a temporary 50-hp boost and a three-second improvement in quarter-mile times, with 10-15 mph more top speed.

"This has practical benefits for an off-road vehicle when you might need a sudden burst of extra power to clear an obstacle and keep moving," Hoare said. "But it also is a blast to drive – literally."

Revolutionary PowerShift™ Transmission

Power is transmitted to the Bronco’s wheels through a revolutionary new six-speed PowerShift™ transmission that significantly improves performance and fuel economy.

PowerShift is the result of a Ford-Getrag joint venture, a transmission that will be seen in Ford Motor Company products later in the decade. In gasoline applications, PowerShift promises a 12-percent fuel economy advantage over today’s four-speed automatic transmissions and provides capability to handle a whopping 332 lb-ft (450 nm) of torque in a compact package.

"A twin wet-clutch module replaces the traditional torque converter and operates using hydraulic actuation. This feature is similar to the clutch found on a typical manual transmission," said Ernie DeVincent, department manager for transmissions and drivelines in Ford Advanced Research and Engineering.

"However, manual transmissions or automated manual transmissions change gears by disengaging the clutch, which interrupts the flow of torque and can cause rough shifts," DeVincent said. "The PowerShift approach changes gears by power-shifting from one clutch to the other, giving smooth shift quality equal to a typical automatic transmission."

The PowerShift transmission uses a layshaft architecture, which also has more in common with manual transmissions than typical automatics, with gears arranged on two parallel shafts. Within the PowerShift transmission, one clutch connects to the odd gears (1, 3, 5), the other clutch to the even gears (2, 4, 6). The dual-clutch layshaft has better mechanical efficiency than conventional automatic transmissions by eliminating the torque converter and the drag losses of an open clutch. A typical four-speed FWD automatic transmission has approximately 68 percent mechanical efficiency (on the EPA fuel economy test), vs. 80 percent for a PowerShift transmission.

Combined with the Duratorq TDCi diesel, the PowerShift promises 5 percent better fuel economy than a conventional six-speed automatic transmission, and 6 percent better acceleration times.

Outstanding Diesel Powertrain

The PowerShift transmission makes an ideal partner for the Duratorq TDCi engine. Even efficient, lightweight turbochargers can induce a noticeable delay in torque rise on tip-in because of inertia – the so-called "turbo lag." A twin clutch transmission like the PowerShift offers an advantage because of its lower inertia compared with a typical torque converter, minimizing the effect of turbo lag. In addition, the diesel’s low-end torque will allow lower launch rpm, which results in a shorter duration of clutch slip at launch for quicker acceleration.

Diesel engines tend to have differently shaped horsepower and torque curves than gasoline engines, making it desirable to adjust the step size between transmission gears accordingly. Here again, the PowerShift transmission, like all layshaft-based transmissions, offers an advantage. Internal gear sets can be changed easily during development, allowing the efficiencies of common transmission architecture, while optimizing gear ratios for both engine types.

While the shifting is automatic, the PowerShift transmission on the Bronco concept also can be placed in manual mode, with sporty Formula 1-style shifting, using a pair of control paddles on the steering wheel.

Intelligent™ 4WD System

The new fully automatic Intelligent™ 4WD System on the Bronco concept will be seen in production first on the 2005 Ford Escape. It replaces the current Control Trac II™ System and offers better traction and vehicle stability, improved fuel economy and smoother operation.

The automatic system requires no driver intervention and is so seamless in operation that most drivers will never notice that it has engaged – other than being impressed by the system’s capability in slippery conditions.

The Intelligent 4WD System uses a fully computer-controlled clutch that engages the rear wheels only as needed. In normal conditions, the Bronco concept is driven by its front wheels. Using sensors at each wheel and at the accelerator pedal, the system’s computer calculates – dozens of times per second – exactly how much torque to send to the rear wheels to minimize slip. It can even predict slip and preclude it from happening at all.

The Intelligent 4WD System eliminates one of the drawbacks of other four-wheel-drive systems tuned aggressively for maximum traction, which is a binding effect during tight turns and a feeling of driveline harshness when the system engages. The Intelligent 4WD System can sense tight turns and continuously vary torque to the rear wheels at all speeds, offering the benefits of a "locked" four-wheel-drive system without any of the drawbacks.


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Wow !!! Thats a lot of information Justin. Now we know what you do when you are hiding in that back room at work ! LOL :thumbsup:

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Great thread!!! Kinda odd for a Heep Freak tho. :scratch:

I just happen to own 2 Jeeps right now. I just thought I would do another "history" thread since I learned a lot reading about Toyota. Now I'm trying to figure out what to research next. :scratch: