Ford Bronco Legacy Unearthed in Lead up to Its Reveal

Ford has been doing all it can lately to keep the excitement in the air for the launch of their new Bronco. The company has launched a Bronco community called Bronco Nation, released teasers of the family of Bronco vehicles, and announced Bronco Off-Rodeo driving events to be held around the nation. They also just released a video with information from their archives regarding the model’s history and development over the years.

The silhouette of three SUVs against the sunrise.
The 2021 Ford Bronco 2-door, 4-door, and Bronco Sport | Ford Motor Company

The Ford archives reveal Bronco development documentation

Ted Ryan, the Archives and Ford Heritage Brand Manager, begins the video by discussing the origins of the off-roader. If your memory is a little foggy, the origin of the Bronco goes back to World War II. At the time, as part of the war effort, Ford was making Wyllis Jeeps, over 270,000, which proved to be capable off-road vehicles on all fronts of the war. That experience sparked the idea of the Bronco.

Mr. Ryan goes on in the video to discuss never before released documentation regarding the Bronco program. Official paperwork shows the genesis of the program in October of 1963, with approval in February 1964 by Lee Iacocca. Yeah, that Lee Iacocca. The father of the Mustang and the savior of Chrysler.

A testing mule for the 2021 Ford Bronco wrapped in camouflage
2021 Ford Bronco testing | Ford

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What is in a name, GOAT

The Bronco almost was not the Bronco. Prior to deciding on an official name, the program was code-named the GOAT, for Goes Over Any Terrain. According to official Ford documentation, different names were considered for project GOAT. Bravo, Caballero, Custom, Explorer, Gaucho, Rustler, Sprint, Wrangler, and other names were tossed around before finally giving the nod to Bronco for the nameplate. That, of course, is the name that has stuck all these years. Ironically, the Wrangler name would later be applied to the civilian versions of the World War II Jeeps. 

Ford Bronco R race prototype
Ford Bronco R race prototype | Ford

Bronco’s racing heritage

Pre-production copies of the Bronco were given to race teams for shakedown testing and performance development. Consequently, one of these off-road race-prepared SUVs won the entire Baja race in 1969. That is a record that still stands today. By the way, the new Bronco was teased by a race team in the most recent running of the Baja race as well. 

Special appearances of the Bronco 

In the video, Mr. Ryan talks about how the Bronco has become a part of pop culture. For example, the vehicle has been in the movies over 1,200 times. It was also modified for the Secret Service as a Popemobile in 1979, and seen by thousands for Pope John Paul II’s visit. Of course, the Bronco was also one of the lead characters in the slow-chase of OJ Simpson. 

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Video is a tease until the actual reveal

In short, the quick video unearths some previously never before revealed documentation to the public. For those excited about the Ford Bronco’s return, the review of the SUV’s legacy will create excitement for the new model’s return. In short, the video does just enough of a tease, until the actual reveal on July 13th.