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Ford Bronco

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An SUV produced by Ford from 1966 to 1996.  The vehicle was in the news and gained a place in popular culture as the infamous "white Ford Bronco" that O.J. Simpson drove in a low-speed police chase in 1994.

History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Ford Bronco page on 27 July 2016, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The Ford Bronco is a sports utility vehicle (SUV) manufactured and marketed by Ford from 1966 to 1996, over five generations.

The Bronco was introduced in 1966 as a competitor to the small four-wheel-drive compact SUVs that included the Jeep CJ-5 and International Harvester Scout, and it was built on its own platform. A major redesign in 1978 moved the Bronco to a larger size, using a shortened Ford F-Series truck chassis to compete with both the similarly adapted Chevy K5 Blazer, as well as the Dodge Ramcharger. Most Broncos are usually equipped with a Spare tire swing away carrier found on the outside of the rear end door.

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

1966–77

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 maneuverable for some uses, but impractical as a tow vehicle. The Bronco was Ford's first compact SUV.

The idea behind the Bronco began with Ford product manager Donald N. Frey, who also conceived 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 a body that were not shared with any other vehicle.

The Bronco was designed under engineer Paul G. Axelrad. Although the axles and brakes were used 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 Holding Corporation transfer case and locking hubs were standard, and heavy-duty suspension was an option.

The Bronco sold well in its first year (23,776 units produced) and then remained in second place after the CJ-5 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 optional 350 cu in (5.7 L) and 255 hp (190 kW) (horsepower numbers are before horsepower ratings changed in the early to mid-1970s.)

1978–1979

The redesign of the Bronco in October 1977 was based on a shortened full sized F-100 pickup, with which it shared many chassis, drivetrain, and body components. The entire front clip is indistinguishable from Ford's full-sized trucks for these years. It had a removable top and forward folding rear bench seat, similar to the competing Blazer. For 1978, Broncos were equipped with round headlights, with the exception of the Ranger XLT trim model. For 1979, all Broncos came 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. The base engine was a 351 cu in (5.75 L), with an optional 400 cu in (6.6 L). A Ford 9-inch 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.

The 1978 and 1979 Broncos also merged the rear glass hatch and tailgate of its predecessor into a single unit that allowed the rear glass panel to retract completely into the tailgate by use of an electric motor controlled by a key-operated switch on the tailgate's outside or a dash-mounted control switch. This did cause problems for some customers, as the weight of the glass panel often overheated the motor, sometimes subjecting it to failure. Customers also complained that the retractable glass panel allowed water to get inside and caused the tailgate to rust prematurely from the bottom up. Nonetheless, this design prevailed until the Bronco's end in 1996.

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

1980–1986

The Bronco received a major redesign in 1979 for the 1980 model year, 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. Though this engine came with more torque than the 302 cu in (4.95 L) V8 and comparable to the 351 cu in (5.75 L) V8 (until the High Output model), it was limited by a 1-bbl carburetor and restrictive single-out exhaust manifolds. Electronic emissions equipment added in 1983 (1984 model year) further reduced the power of the inline six. Ford used up their remaining stock of 351M engines before turning over to the 351W in mid-model year 1982. A "High Output" version of the 351W became an option in 1983 on 1984 models and continued well 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. 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 1984 as well. From 1979 to 1984, some Broncos had sliding topper windows.

Cosmetically, Ford returned to their use of the "blue oval" logo on the front of a slightly redesigned grille, and removed the "F O R D" letters from the hood in 1982. Power Low Mount Swing Lock mirrors were first offered in 1980 on 1981 models. Classic square mirrors and the optional power low mount swing lock mirrors were discontinued for 1986.

1987–1991

In 1986, 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 1984 with the 302). In 1990 (1991 model year), 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 from 1990 through 1992. 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 300 cu in (4.9 L) and 302 cu in (4.95 L) powered Broncos for 1987. 1988-89 351W trucks received a C6 transmission. In 1989 (1990 model year), the electronically controlled E4OD automatic overdrive came standard on the 351W, and 300. The AOD was mated with the 302 cu in (4.95 L) from 1986 through 1990. In 1990, all engines received the E4OD for 1991 models.

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

1992–1996

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 brake light embedded in the removable top, and for 1994, driver-side airbags. Because of the taillight and shoulder belts being safety equipment integrated into the top, the top was no longer legally removable (though it was still physically possible) and all literature in the owners manuals that had previously explained how to remove the top was removed. Torx "tamper proof" bolts, which required a special tool, were used in place of standard hex head bolts to secure the top in place, though ratchet sets were still recommended for top removal.

Cosmetic exterior and interior changes included a sweeping front end and a new dash. Maroon and blue leather seats were first offered in 1991 (1992 model year) through the end of production. Power mirrors were again offered from 1991 and from 1995 the Bronco became the first vehicle to incorporate turn signal lights in the mirrors. 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.

From 1995-1996, Eddie Bauer models have a vented front bumper. In 1996, XLTs received the vented front bumper as well.

1994-96 monochrome trucks are XLT Sport models offered in black, red, and white. In 1991, Ford offered a 1992 Nite edition bronco with an all black exterior and 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.

O. J. Simpson's Bronco

The Ford Bronco entered American popular culture on June 17, 1994, when a 1993 model owned and driven by Al Cowlings containing O. J. Simpson as a passenger, attempted to elude the Los Angeles Police Department in a low-speed chase. At the time, Simpson was wanted for the murders of his ex-wife and her friend. It is considered to be one of the most bizarre events in U.S. television history. The scene showed dozens of Los Angeles County police and California Highway Patrol cars following, not quite chasing, a white Bronco with Simpson reportedly holding a gun to his head and crowds massing along the route. The major broadcast networks and cable systems preempted their television shows for live coverage of this unfolding drama. Despite trying to maintain objectivity by the news commentators, the presence of television irrevocably altered the events, raising questions such as "would the LAPD so respectfully follow Simpson's Bronco without the escort of the media?" With an estimated television audience of 95 million, the event was described "as the most famous ride on American shores since Paul Revere's".

Contrary to popular belief, the Bronco involved in the chase did not belong to Simpson, but he did own an identical model. O.J.'s own Bronco turned up incriminating evidence and this vehicle was part of Simpson's trial. Simpson's Bronco was destroyed after the trial.

The Cowlings vehicle still exists and as of 2016 is owned by a group of three men—Simpson's former agent Michael Gilbert and two of Cowlings' friends. Before the Gilbert group purchased the Bronco in 2012, it had been kept in an indoor garage at a Los Angeles condo complex; it has since been kept in a Las Vegas parking lot and in Gilbert's garage in Hanford, California. The Bronco has been driven less than 20 miles since the chase, and has been kept in running condition. It has been put on public display twice: first in front of the Luxor Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, and later at an arts center in Greenwich, Connecticut. The owners have arranged a loan deal with a crime museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee to place the Bronco on display a third time.

Discontinuation

In mid-to late 1996, Ford announced the discontinuation of the Bronco. On June 12, 1996, the last Bronco 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. Its replacement, the Ford Expedition, offered four-doors, as well as to compete with General Motors' Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, and larger Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon XL models.


Photographs

1971 Ford Baja Bronco by Stroppe 1971 Baja Bronco by Stroppe
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
2010 Muscle Car & Corvette Nationals
View photo of 1971 Ford Baja Bronco by Stroppe - 4,615KB
1971 Ford Baja Bronco by Stroppe 1971 Baja Bronco by Stroppe
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
2010 Muscle Car & Corvette Nationals
View photo of 1971 Ford Baja Bronco by Stroppe - 3,508KB
1971 Ford Baja Bronco by Stroppe 1971 Baja Bronco by Stroppe
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
2010 Muscle Car & Corvette Nationals
View photo of 1971 Ford Baja Bronco by Stroppe - 4,608KB
1971 Ford Baja Bronco by Stroppe 1971 Baja Bronco by Stroppe
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
2010 Muscle Car & Corvette Nationals
View photo of 1971 Ford Baja Bronco by Stroppe - 3,065KB
1979 Ford Bronco 1979
Ford Public Relations Photo
CAMPING IN STYLE -- That's what you can do with this Ford Bronco, a concept recreational vehicle designed to be compatible with its off-road environment.  The light gold metallic exterior features genuine oak wood and a converible cargo cover made of simulated canvas vinyl-top material.  The interior even has seats trimmed in simulated sheepwool with beige simulated leather facings accented by tangerine welts and saddle seat bands.
View photo of Ford Bronco - 3.3MB
Ford Bronco Modified
Photo ©2009 Bill Crittenden
4th Annual Grass Lake PTO "Cars for Kids" Classic & Hot Rod Show
View photo of Ford Bronco - 3,737KB
Ford Bronco Modified
Photo ©2009 Bill Crittenden
4th Annual Grass Lake PTO "Cars for Kids" Classic & Hot Rod Show
View photo of Ford Bronco - 3,671KB
Ford Bronco Modified
Photo ©2009 Bill Crittenden
4th Annual Grass Lake PTO "Cars for Kids" Classic & Hot Rod Show
View photo of Ford Bronco - 3,594KB
Ford Bronco Modified
Photo ©2009 Bill Crittenden
4th Annual Grass Lake PTO "Cars for Kids" Classic & Hot Rod Show
View photo of Ford Bronco - 3,040KB
Ford Bronco Modified
Photo ©2009 Bill Crittenden
4th Annual Grass Lake PTO "Cars for Kids" Classic & Hot Rod Show
View photo of Ford Bronco - 3,365KB
Ford Bronco Modified
Photo ©2009 Bill Crittenden
4th Annual Grass Lake PTO "Cars for Kids" Classic & Hot Rod Show
View photo of Ford Bronco - 4,596KB
Ford Bronco Ranger XLT Ranger XLT w/Dick Cepek DC-1 Wheels
Photo ©2008 Bill Crittenden
McHenry, Illinois Cruise Night:  June 21, 2008
View photo of Ford Bronco Ranger XLT - 3,774KB
Ford Bronco Ranger XLT Ranger XLT w/Dick Cepek DC-1 Wheels
Photo ©2008 Bill Crittenden
McHenry, Illinois Cruise Night:  June 21, 2008
View photo of Ford Bronco Ranger XLT - 2,482KB
Ford Bronco Ranger XLT Ranger XLT w/Dick Cepek DC-1 Wheels
Photo ©2008 Bill Crittenden
McHenry, Illinois Cruise Night:  June 21, 2008
View photo of Ford Bronco Ranger XLT - 5,248KB
Ford Bronco Ranger XLT Ranger XLT w/Dick Cepek DC-1 Wheels
Photo ©2008 Bill Crittenden
McHenry, Illinois Cruise Night:  June 21, 2008
View photo of Ford Bronco Ranger XLT - 3,613KB
Ford Bronco Model Car Photo ©2009 Bill Crittenden
2009 Cedarville Model Car Contest and Swap Meet
View photo of Ford Bronco Model - 3,400KB
Ford Bronco Model Car Photo ©2009 Bill Crittenden
2009 Cedarville Model Car Contest and Swap Meet
View photo of Ford Bronco Model - 3,395KB
1995 Ford Bronco XLT 1995 XLT
Photo ©2016 Bill Crittenden
2016 Lakemoor Charity Car Show
View photo of 1995 Ford Bronco XLT - 4.2MB
View 1995 Ford Bronco XLT Vehicle Sticker - 1.3MB
1995 Ford Bronco XLT 1995 XLT
Photo ©2016 Bill Crittenden
2016 Lakemoor Charity Car Show
View photo of 1995 Ford Bronco XLT - 3.0MB
View 1995 Ford Bronco XLT Vehicle Sticker - 1.3MB


Documents

DateDocument Name & DetailsDocuments
3 October 1966NHTSA Recall 66V004003 1967 Ford Bronco
SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC:PEDALS AND LINKAGES
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Recall Page - 1 page
24 November 1966NHTSA Recall 66V026000 1967 Ford Bronco
STEERING:LINKAGES:LINK:DRAG:CONNECTION
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Recall Page - 1 page
classified date 1992In-Depth Accident Investigation
1984 Ford Bronco II
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 15.6MB - 106 pages
October 2007Remote Combination Adaptive Driving Equipment Investigation
1990 Ford Bronco
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 852KB - 10 pages
3 March 2008NHTSA Recall 08E019000 Intercontinental Auto Parts ALG 44/1, Purolator F10024, 1978-1980 Ford Bronco, 1977 Ford Country Squire, 1977-1980 Ford E-Series, 1978-1982 Ford F-Series, 1980 Ford Fairmont, 1979-1980 Ford Granada, 1977, 1979-1980 Ford LTD, 1980 Ford Mustang, 1975 Ford Pinto
1979 Ford Ranchero, 1977-1980 Ford Thunderbird, 1980 Lincoln Versailles, 1975 Mercury Bobcat, 1977, 1979-1980 Mercury Capri, 1977, 1979-1980 Mercury Colony Park, 1977-1980 Mercury Cougar, 1977, 1979-1980 Mercury Grand Marquis, 1979-1980 Mercury Monarch, 1980 Mercury Zephyr
FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE:DELIVERY:FUEL PUMP
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Recall Page - 1 page
May 2008On-Site Not in Traffic Surveillance Back Over Investigation
Vehicle - 1994 Ford Bronco
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 1,635KB - 21 pages


Merchandise

Type & Item #NameDetails
Model Kit - Revell 7308L.A. Sheriff's Bronco1:25 scale, 3rd Gen
Die Cast - Hot Wheels 25407-0910Ford Broncosmall scale, white w/green top, purple bike on rear,"Santa Fe"


Article Index

DateArticleAuthor/Source
13 January 1994Ford Motor Company; Receipt of Petition for Determination of Inconsequential NoncomplianceFederal Register: NHTSA (Barry Felrice)
5 April 2016Dream Cars, April Fool's EditionBill Crittenden
12 July 2016The Most Notorious Bronco is heading to Pigeon Forge!Alcatraz East




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