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Ford Bronco
1992-96 Ford Bronco
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1966−1996
Assembly Wayne, Michigan, USA
Successor Ford Expedition
Body style(s) 2-door SUV
Layout Front engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive

The Ford Bronco is a sport utility vehicle that was produced from 1966 through 1996, with five distinct generations. Broncos can be divided into two categories: early Broncos (1966–1977) and full-size Broncos (1978–1996).

The Bronco was introduced in 1966 as a competitor to the small four-wheel-drive compact SUVs such as the Jeep CJ-5 and International Harvester Scout, and built on its own platform.[1] A major redesign in 1978 moved the Bronco to a larger size, and it was built using a shortened Ford F-Series truck chassis to compete with the similarly adapted Chevrolet K5 Blazer.

The full-size Broncos and the successor Expedition were produced at Ford's Michigan Truck Plant in Wayne, Michigan.

The Bronco permanently entered popular culture on June 17, 1994, as a white 1993 model owned and driven by Al Cowlings with O. J. Simpson, who was wanted for the murders of his ex-wife and her friend, attempted to elude the Los Angeles Police Department in a low-speed chase.[2] With an estimated television audience of 95 million, the event was described "as the most famous ride on American shores since Paul Revere's".[3]

1966–1977Edit

First generation
Ford Bronco in Reykjahlid, Iceland
Production 1966–1977
Body style(s) Compact SUV
Engine(s) 170 cu in (2.8 L) Straight-6
200 cu in (3.3 L) Straight-6
289 cu in (4.7 L) Windsor V8
302 cu in (4.9 L) Windsor V8
Wheelbase 92 in (2,337 mm)[4]
Length 151.5 in (3,848 mm)[4]
Width 68.5 in (1,740 mm)[4]
Height 71.6 in (1,819 mm)[4]

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 riding on a 92-inch (2,337 mm) 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 and midsize SUV niche would be taken by the compact pickup based Ford Bronco II (1984–1990), Ford Explorer (1991–present) 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 that gave the Bronco a 34-foot (10.4 m) 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 6-US-quart (6 l) 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[5]) and then remained in second place after the CJ-5[6] until the advent of the full-sized Chevrolet Blazer in 1969. Lacking a dedicated small SUV platform, the Blazer was based on their existing full size pickup which was a larger and more powerful vehicle, offering greater luxury, comfort and space. The longer option list included 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 optional350 cu in (5.7 L) and 255 hp (190 kW) (horsepower numbers are before horsepower ratings changed in the early to mid-1970s.)

In 1973, the 170 was replaced by a 200 cu in (3.3 L) straight six, power steering and automatic transmissions were made optional, and sales spiked to 26,300. By then, however, 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 Jeep Cherokee (SJ) 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.[5]

RacingEdit

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.[7]

In 1966, a Bronco "funny car" built by Doug Nash for the quarter mile dragstrip ran "erratic" with a few low 8-second times, but sidelined by sanctioning organizations when pickups and aluminum frames were outlawed.[8]

1978–1979Edit

Second generation
Ford Bronco
Production 1978–1979
Body style(s) Full-size SUV
Engine(s) 351 cu in (5.8 L) 351M V8
400 cu in (6.6 L) 400M V8
Transmission(s) 4-speed Borg-Warner T-18 manual
4-speed New Process NP435 manual
3-speed C6 automatic
Wheelbase 104 in (2,642 mm)

The redesign of the Bronco in 1978 was based on a shortened full sized F-100 pickup.[9] It had a removable top and forward folding rear bench seat, similar to the competing Blazer.[10] It shared many chassis, drivetrain, and body components. The entire front clip is indistinguishable from their full size trucks for those years. In 1978 Broncos were equipped with round headlights, with the exception of the RangerXLT trim model. In 1979 all Broncos were standard with square sealed beam headlights. Ford started the redesign in 1972, codenamed Project Short-Horn, but introduction was delayed by concerns over the mid-1970s fuel crisis.[10] 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, with leaf spring rear suspension and coil sprung, laterally stabilized front.

The 1978 and 1979 Broncos featured an option for either full-time four-wheel drive utilizing the New Process 203 chain driven transfer case or, more commonly, part-time four-wheel drive with the New Process 205 gear driven transfer case.

1979 saw the addition of a catalytic converter, and other various emissions control equipment.

1980–1986Edit

Third generation
80s Bronco
Production 1980–1986
Body style(s) Full-size SUV
Engine(s) 300 cu in (4.9 L) Straight-6
302 cu in (4.9 L) 302 V8
351 cu in (5.8 L) 351M V8
351 cu in (5.8 L) Windsor V8
Transmission(s) 4-speed Borg-Warner T-18 manual
4-speed New Process NP435 manual
4-speed Tremec RTS OverDrive
3-speed C6 automatic
4-speed AOD
Wheelbase 104 in (2,642 mm)
Length 180.4 in (4,582 mm)
Width 79.3 in (2,014 mm)
Height 75.5 in (1,918 mm)

The Bronco received a major redesign for 1980, coinciding with the F-Series. The new Bronco was shorter, and had cosmetic changes along with powertrain, suspension and other odds and ends. Most notably, the live front axle was replaced by a Dana 44 Twin Traction Beam (TTB) setup in the front end for an independent front suspension. The TTB is a hybrid of a true independent front suspension and a solid front axle, 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 when larger than stock tires are used.

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 until the introduction of fuel injection. Output was 210 hp (157 kW) at 4000 rpm vs the standard 2-bbl 351W which made 156 hp (116 kW) at 4000 rpm.[11] The 302 was the first engine to receive electronic fuel-injection, starting in the 1985 model year, as well as a four-speed automatic overdrive transmission. The Eddie Bauer trim package started in 1985 as well. From 80-84 some broncos had sliding topper windows.

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.[12] Classic square mirrors were dropped in 1986.

1987–1991Edit

Fourth generation
1990 Ford Bronco Front
Production 1987–1991
Body style(s) Full-size SUV
Engine(s) 300 cu in (4.9 L) Straight-6
302 cu in (4.9 L) 302 V8
351 cu in (5.8 L) Windsor V8
Transmission(s) 5-speed M5OD-R2 manual
3-speed C6 automatic
4-speed AOD automatic
4-speed E4OD automatic
Wheelbase 104.7 in (2659 mm)
Length 180.5 in (4585 mm)
Width 79.1 in (2009 mm)
Height 1987–89: 74.0 in (1880 mm).
1990–91: 74.5 in (1892 mm)
Fuel capacity 33 US gallons (124.9 L/27.5 imp gal)

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 1985 with the 302). In 1991, a 25th Silver Anniversary Edition was sold featuring special badges, Currant Red paint and a gray and red leather interior. A Nite edition, similar to that on the F-Series, was also available in 1991 and 1992, the 91's tend to be rarer. All Broncos were built at the Michigan Truck Plant in Wayne, Michigan on the same line as the F-150.

The 5-speed M5OD-R2 transmission was added as an option for 302-powered Broncos in 1987. 1988-89 351W trucks received a c6 transmission. For 1990, the electronically-controlled E4OD automatic overdrive came standard on the 351W, and 300. The AOD was mated with the 302 from 1987-1990. By 1991 All engines received the E4OD.

A V8 engine and automatic transmission were standard in Eddie Bauer, Nite, and Silver Anniversary trucks.

1992–1996Edit

Fifth generation
1995 Ford Bronco XLT
Production 1992–1996
Body style(s) Full-size SUV
Engine(s) 300 cu in (4.9 L) Straight-6 (1992)
302 cu in (4.9 L) 302 V8
351 cu in (5.8 L) Windsor V8
Transmission(s) 4-speed AOD-E automatic
4-speed E4OD automatic
5-speed M5OD-R2 manual
Wheelbase 104.7 in (2659 mm)
Length 183.6 in (4663 mm)
Width 79.1 in (2009 mm)
Height 1995–96: 74.4 in (1890 mm)
1992–94: 74.5 in (1892 mm)
Fuel capacity 33 US gallons (124.9 L/27.5 imp gal)
Bronco gibalriz

Two-Tone Bronco

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.


Maroon and Blue leather seats were first offered in 1992 through the end of production. 1994-1996 XLTs and Eddie Bauers have the rear cargo panels slotted for a cargo cover and net. The 302 went Mass Air Flow (MAF) in 1994. The 351 went MAF in 1995 in California. The rest of the 351s went MAF in 1996 along, with OBD2 on both the 302 and 351. 94-95 351 blocks are roller ready, and both 302 and 351w 1996s are roller blocks. 1995 Eddie Bauers have a vented front bumper. 1996 XLTs and Eddie Bauers have a vented front bumper. All 1994-1996 Eddie Bauers have an overhead console. Some 1994-1996 XLTs or Eddie Bauers have lighted sun visors and a dimming rear view mirror. 94-96 monochrome trucks are XLT Sports. They were offered in black, red, and white. In 1992 Ford offered a 1992 Nite edition bronco. All black, with gray interior. Another limited edition color offered on the mid-1990s XLTs was a two-tone light teal green and white exterior with a charcoal gray interior. Only about 600 of the teal and white two-tone were produced each year.

Bronco CenturionEdit

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. Half-ton chassis featured the 351 cu in (5.8 L) fuel injected V8 engine.

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. Ford introduced the Excursion as an official production model in 2000.

Discontinuation Edit

In mid-1996, Ford officially made the decision to discontinue the Bronco. On 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 that answered a market that preferred 4-passenger doors, as well as to compete with GM's Chevrolet Tahoe.

2004 conceptEdit

Ford bronco concept

Ford Bronco Concept at the 2004 NY Auto Show

At the 2004 North American International Auto Show, a Bronco concept car was introduced.[13] 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 I4 engine and a six-speed manual transmission. It would be built on the Escape platform. Ford was considering releasing this for production, but has not made a decision.[14]

ReferencesEdit

Smallwikipedialogo This page uses some content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Ford Bronco. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons by Attribution License and/or GNU Free Documentation License. Please check page history for when the original article was copied to Wikia

  1. Clarke, R. M. (1998). Ford Bronco, 1966-1977. Brooklands Books. ISBN 9781855204744. 
  2. Mydans, Seth (18 June 1994). "The Fugitive: Simpson Is Charged, Chased, Arrested". Retrieved on 10 September 2010. 
  3. Gilbert, Geis (1988). Crimes of the century: from Leopold and Loeb to O.J. Simpson. Northeastern University Press, 174. ISBN 9781555533601. Retrieved on 10 September 2010. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Götz Leyrer (1 September 1976), "Kurztest: Ford Bronco - Ameriokanischer Gelaendewagen mit Allradantrieb", Auto, Motor und Sport (18): 62–66. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "History of the Early Ford Bronco (1966-1977)" by JohnV (see production numbers), 1996-09-03, retrieved on 2009-11-13.
  6. Production numbers, by www.jeepfan.com, retrieved on 2009-11-13.
  7. "Baja Bronco Briefing". Andrew Norton (1999). Retrieved on 2007-03-07.
  8. Duke, Bill (2005-12-22). "60s Funny Cars: Round 6". Drag Racing Stories.
  9. Dunne, Jim (September 1976), "Detroit Report", Popular Science: 32, http://books.google.com/books?id=GQEAAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA32&dq=1978+Ford+F100+Bronco. Retrieved on 27 December 2010. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Paul (2001-03-03). "History of the Second-Generation 78-79 Ford Bronco". Project Bronco. Retrieved on 2010-12-27.
  11. "Ford Truck Engine Specifications". Chris Bradley (2007). Retrieved on 2007-03-07.
  12. "History of the Big Bronco". JohnV (June 8, 2006). Retrieved on 2007-03-07.
  13. "Bronco Concept Explores New Power in Classic Style". Mike Thomas (January 2004). Retrieved on 2009-05-26.
  14. "Atlanta Auto Show Preview". WSB-TV (2007-03-03). Retrieved on 2007-03-07.

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