The Return of the Buckin’ Bronco


The Return of the Buckin’ Bronco

Jorge Rodriguez, Entertainment Editor

On August 11, 1965, Ford Motor Company introduced a new pony to the stable; the 1966 Ford Bronco. With its three distinct designs, the Bronco went on to become the world’s first vehicle to be officially recognized as a ‘Sports-Utility Vehicle.’ Targeted at outdoor enthusiasts, the Bronco became a household favorite and it’s legacy lives on today, with the 2021 Ford Bronco finally becoming available to consumers.


The 1966 Ford Bronco was first released with three body styles: the Roadster (the open-air), the Sport-Utility (included a pick-up bed), and the Wagon (with two doors, a tailgate, and a full top). This first-generation stallion featured the most basic necessities. It lasted through model-year 1977, and the following two years debuted the bigger, bulkier, full-size Bronco.

Second-generation Bronco


The second-generation Bronco, known as the ‘dentside’ Bronco, lasted through model-year 1979 and sported a bigger, boxier look. Complete with an all new interior, the new full-size Bronco was praised for its improved comfort when compared to the outgoing model. An option for air conditioning was also offered. It looked strikingly similar to the F-100 models of the same era, sharing the body shape and chassis.


Third-generation Bronco

The third-generation Bronco, often regarded as the ‘bullnose’ Bronco, was a more aerodynamic model. At the time of its release in 1980, Ford boasted that it was “America’s only 4-wheeler with Twin Traction Beam independent front suspension.” For this, the Bronco was heavily favored for its improved ride quality when compared to the previous solid front axle suspension. With its improved aerodynamics, the Bronco also became more fuel efficient.


Fourth-generation Bronco

The fourth-generation Bronco, more commonly known as the ‘bricknose’ Bronco for its flattened front-end, carried over the same shape from that of the outgoing model – only with slight changes. This model lasted from 1987 to 1991. As mentioned, the Bronco received a face-lift which drastically improved the aerodynamics of the vehicle. Rather than having jagged edges, the bricknose Bronco exhibited a more smooth transition between angles, resulting in an improved fuel economy. New for the Bronco was anti-lock braking technology, which improved stopping power and overall safety when braking.


Fifth-Generation Bronco

Possibly the most notable Bronco is that of the fifth-generation. All new for the 1992 model year came the completely redesigned, both inside and out, ‘OBS’ Bronco. Sporting a smoother, sleeker front-end, this generation of the Bronco became a household name – due in large part to the infamous O.J. Simpson chase. The OBS Bronco was the first of its kind to feature a driver’s side airbag and three point seat belt systems. Style and luxury were extremely apparent in this generation of the Bronco, with leather seats becoming an optional add-on to contribute to the improved comfort inside.


Unfortunately, in the final months of 1995, the Bronco began experiencing a decline in sales which ultimately resulted in the discontinuation of the Ford Bronco in June 1996. American consumers had turned towards SUVs like the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon, prompting Ford to shift its focus on producing bigger SUVs in which to compete with. For the last 25 years, the Ford Bronco has been a staple of American automotive history. Many Bronco owners today have restored their Broncos to its original look, while others have made it their own. But, the 25-year hiatus of the Bronco name has finally come to an end.


The 2021 Ford Bronco

Ford revealed the all new 2021 Bronco in July of 2020, about 3 years after it had announced its revival. Featuring round headlights and smooth edges, the new Bronco harkens back to its first-generation roots, with much of its design resulting in similarities with the original 1966-77 Bronco styling. For the first time in Bronco history, however, the Bronco is now offered with a 4-door model to compete with the Jeep Wrangler. Much like the Wrangler, the Bronco’s doors can be removed. Targeted more towards off-road enthusiasts, Ford claims that it “was built to carry outdoor enthusiasts to wherever the wilderness calls.”

Sixth-generation Bronco

With varying trims and many capabilities, the Bronco has become the hot new SUV of the year. As many customers are beginning to receive their beloved Bronco, it is becoming increasingly popular. Ford has begun expanding its selection of off-road vehicles, with the new Tremor package available on its F-Series pickups and the recently announced Timberline package available on the Explorer and Expedition. However, the F-150 Raptor remains at the top when it comes to Ford’s best fully-capable off-roader. Could the Bronco see this in the future?