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From the Classic Ford Bronco to Today

Ford Broncos

The 2021 Ford Bronco has already started to make an impression on Chicago-area drivers, but it isn’t hard to get noticed when you’re standing on the shoulders of a giant. The classic Ford Bronco immediately calls to mind images of the rugged outdoors, and it really did offer the kind of go-anywhere capability that today’s Bronco fans adore. 

With its uncompromising style and pragmatic powertrains, the early Ford Bronco made a name for itself that’s never gone away. Learn a little bit about the history of this model, and find out how it set the stage for the sixth-generation 2021 Ford Bronco with our team.


The Classic Ford Bronco: First Generation (1965 –1977)

The classic Ford Bronco is one of the most iconic vehicles of the last century, and we couldn’t be more excited to share a little early Ford Bronco history with our neighbors near Madison and Green Bay:

  • The original classic Ford Bronco was developed as a passenger-friendly off-road vehicle with a completely unique chassis
  • Today, with its 92-inch wheelbase, it would fall into the compact SUV class. All models were initially sold with four-wheel drive as standard.
  • The original Ford Bronco engine was a 105-hp inline-6, derived from the engine in the Ford Falcon.
  • The classic Ford Bronco wasn’t flashy or dressed up, but it stood out precisely for that reason! Customers were eager for a no-nonsense vehicle that could really stand up to the test of the great outdoors, and this model had genuine utilitarian appeal.

Wasn’t There Another Old Ford Bronco?

In fact, there were several other iterations on the classic Ford Bronco archetype. We’ve covered them all in turn!

Second Generation (1978-1980)

In 1978, the old Ford Bronco entered its second generation as a full-size SUV. Although this model retained many styling notes from the first generation, there were more than a few notable changes, including:

  • Retiring of the original Bronco chassis, and its replacement with a chassis adapted directly from the Ford F-Series.
  • A wheelbase extension of 12 inches, bucking the trend toward downsizing which dominated the American automotive industry at the time.
  • Eschewing the multiple body configurations offered on the first generation, the second-generation Bronco was offered only as a three door wagon.

Third Generation (1980-1986)

Even at the time of the second-generation Bronco SUV’s release, Ford was looking toward the future. A third-generation Bronco–smaller and lighter than the second-generation, but otherwise similar–was already in development. It would retain its full-size classification, and it continued to be based on a chassis adapted from the F-Series.

Ford Bronco II (1983-1990)

Just three years after the release of the third-generation Ford Bronco, Ford unveiled the Bronco II. Make no mistake: this model was the start of a new and unique line, but as a compact SUV, it was more similar to the original Ford Bronco than even the third generation model described above. It was developed in concert with the 1983 Ford Ranger, and shared one of the latter’s engines. The Bronco II would eventually be replaced by the Ford Explorer.

Fourth Generation (1987-1991)

The fourth-generation Ford Bronco was built on the same chassis as the third generation, but it received a wide range of interior and exterior updates. Fans of the classic Ford Bronco find this generation notable because it included the Silver Anniversary Edition–the very first early Ford Bronco offered with leather seating.

Fifth Generation (1992-1996)

The fifth generation just might be the most recognizable of all the classic Ford Bronco builds, but the changes built into this generation were relatively few and far between. There were some interior updates, as well as changes to safety features, and this generation also saw the effective discontinuation of the classic removable hard-top. 


The 2021 Ford Bronco Arrives in Style

The sixth-generation Ford Bronco was revived as a mid-size SUV with classic body-on-frame construction, independent suspension, and a 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost® inline-four engine. Like the classic Ford Bronco, it features a detachable roof. You can even remove the side doors for a classic open-air touring or trailing experience. Check out our coverage of the Bronco interior or Bronco colors to learn more.

Ford has also announced a 2021 Ford Bronco Sport, a compact four-door variant of the same model. Like its namesake, this compact model is ready to tackle trails and backroads with confidence.


The 2021 Ford Bronco is Headed to Badger Truck & Auto Group

If you love the classic Ford Bronco, we know you’ll feel the same way about the newest version of this fan-favorite model. Keep an eye on our new Ford inventory to be among the first to test drive this model when it arrives, and keep up with the Badger Truck & Auto Group blog for the latest news and information.


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