Dream Cars, April Fool's Edition
|Topics: Ford Bronco
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5 April 2016
April Fool's Day falls towards the end of the spring auto show season, a time of year when the new car automotive media is full of official announcements, spy photos, and rumors. So it can be fairly easy to pull one over on the car guys who aren't watching the calendar that day.
The rule of thumb I follow is to wait and see if it's still a story in credible outlets on April 3rd. Then it's probably legitimate.
This year's April Fool's was, as usual, full of ideas both interesting and ludicrous, but one really stood out as one that I'd love to actually see: a new Ford Bronco based on a Jeep Wrangler platform.
Okay, whatever was in those photos looked like crap made out of hardware store scraps, but can you imagine the Jeep 4x4 platform topped with the bodies in some of the Bronco renders going around the internet these days? Add to that the Ford Ecoboost V6 from the base Mustang and a snazzy Ford interior? I love the interior of my new C-Max, but I'd also like to buy a Jeep, so this idea was perfect to me.
The article said that Ford would distinguish the Bronco from the Wrangler by making it more of a performance vehicle and less of a rock crawler. The utilitarian convertible Wrangler with its flat windshield and flimsy doors would be very different from a solid body Ford SUV with all the interior goodies from the C-Max or Focus.
I'd imagine it would cost about $40,000 base, as much as a high-end Wrangler, and go up with options. Nothing I could afford, but then $50,000 for a pickup truck isn't unheard of these days.
Ford has 4x4 hardware of its own, but nothing with the popularity of the Wrangler. Using the Jeep's chassis and underpinnings opens up the Bronco to all kinds of aftermarket equipment already in production. The Jeep Wrangler is an industry unto itself, and the Ford would be latching itself on to an entire automotive subculture as big and enduring as almost any other.
And Ford has a connection to the Jeep going back to its origins, being one of the manufacturers of the original military truck aside from Willys. At the end of the Second World War, Willys was given the rights to produce the civilian model, but Ford-manufactured jeeps fought on the front lines in the epic battle against fascism in Europe. This is why if Jeep gets sold again I'd like to see it come "home" to Ford.
A deal involving Jeep lending its Wrangler platform to Ford when it can barely make enough of them for its own dealers seems like a non-starter, but Ford and GM are about to share transmissions, so nothing is impossible these days when it comes to sharing as long as both companies think that they'll make money off of it.
Sometimes April Fool's Day jokes are obvious fakes, but the best are the plausible ones, meant to fool people into really believing them. This is a third kind: the one I wish were true.
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