Does The New Ford Bronco Hit The Right Amount of Nostalgia To Succeed?

Since the first inkling that Ford might make a modern Bronco the internet has been flooded with images of how enthusiasts think it should look. In every case the desire to have it look a lot like the beloved first-generation Bronco is undeniable. But has Ford gotten the message? From spy-shot images of mules and disguised prototypes that we’ve seen Ford may not have hit the right amount of nostalgia for the new Bronco to succeed.

The first Bronco was a chunky thing with very boxy styling. Its “two-box” proportions endeared it to enthusiasts looking for a more stylized Jeep. It hit all the right spots for many enthusiasts and lasted 12 years virtually unchanged. Especially back in the 1960s when cars changed designs every year this was quite a feat.

Ford knows it has to hit the right amount of nostalgia combined with new

First-Gen Ford Bronco
First-Gen Ford Bronco | Ford

Moving up to today Ford knows it has to hit the right mix of modern and retro, but that causes a problem, especially for designers. While most automotive designers should have the depth to take on design whether boundary-busting or retro, some won’t. The idea of borrowing ideas and designs from the past invokes pathos. They can only move forward with design, not backward. 

Of course, there are plenty of successful designs that play on the past. The various Volkswagen beetles, Mustangs, and Ram trucks that take on pre-and post-war Power Wagon cues, all exhibit retro design to some extent. 

Our new Bronco/old Bronco illustration shows how close the two are

Old Bronco-New Bronco | Motorbiscuit

From the latest images of camouflaged Bronco mules being tested, it appears to be fairly close to the original, with slightly different body sections. How can we tell? We placed a side view of the original 1966 Bronco over a side view of the new one based on what we’ve seen and what we know is being whipped up in Dearborn. The illustration shows how close the two Broncos really are.

Those original Broncos had a high beltline which means the body was thick or tall. We’re seeing those proportions in the heavily disguised Broncos floating around Dearborn and the desert. We’re not looking for literal, but even the wheelbase and driver position look to be almost identical. 

There are government crash standards and more that have to be designed into the Bronco

Ford Bronco moaoun_moaoun render
Ford Bronco moaoun_moaoun render | Mo Aoun via Instagram

New vehicles have to account for crumple zones for government crash standards, side door beams, and be able to withstand impacts. None of these standards were in effect in 1966, yet the designers and engineers at Ford seem to have found the right blend of retro with the new. 

The mules we’ve seen testing looks to be fairly close to production. That means we’re not too far off from the new Bronco’s debut. Ford says sometime in spring is when it will be ready to reveal it. The new dates for the Detroit Auto Show are in June. We suspect Ford will use that occasion to show off its latest models including the Bronco.

Check out our comparison and see if you like what you see knowing it is as close as it is.