Full Size Ford Bronco Forum banner

1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Administrator
Joined
·
1,139 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)

As SUV sales continue to rise, Ford's looking to grab even more of that demand with the 2020 Ford Bronco. Recently, spy shots shown test mules rocking proportions consistent with images of production ready prototypes, leaked at a late 2018 Ford dealer event. This comes after years of Ford teasing the new model on their website

Compared to even the very first model back in 1966, it seems a reasonable amount of Bronco DNA has lived on. Looking back, the first generation from 1966-1977 was intended to rival the Jeep CJ at the time with a few body styles to choose from, later reduced to just the wagon that shares a white top with the 2020 Bronco.



Successful sale warranted a second generation model with a simplified body style. Short lived but in a way it shaped the Bronco DNA we all know and love today; bigger pickup style body on the F-100 chassis, glass window that rolls down into the tailgate and a removable hardtop.



The third generation came to the rescue, addressing concerns consumers had, relating directly to its overall poor performance. Moving to the Rangers platform further refined the Bronco's DNA to become lighter, compact and more powerful with a heavier duty drivetrain. The body also received equally significant upgrades.



As the Bronco's foundation was set, the fourth generation became sportier, adopting updates originally given to the F-150 at the time. Most noticeably, was the massive shift away from boxy designs and to a rounder, more aerodynamically sound exterior. The cabin was completely redesigned as well.



Aerodynamics were further improved on in the fifth and last generation. Although iconic, it did bring a mix of reactions, disappointment from the lack of a removable hardtop and incremental updates that were an early sign of the inevitable end, more family-friendly SUV's followed. Fortunately, the 2020 model changes that, set to bring the best elements of capability and style.

 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
23,920 Posts
Yo,

Back in the day, I corresponded with Don Wheatley, Bronco Engineering Supervisor in advanced Ford Truck;
Here is the significant info;
"...I was a new engineering supervisor in charge of the Full Size Bronco (the OJ Bronco) in advanced Ford Truck. We had a team of five very excited engineers who were told to come out with a vehcile to "match the Chevrolet Blazer" which was already on the market. Chevy had made a good start but we were not going to copy them! We tested the existing competition: the origional Bronco which was designed to keep tooling costs low, the Blazer, the IH Scout, Range Rover and so on. Enthusiasm was rampant and frankly no one was watching us too close at first. Our initial design concept was based on an F series with a short box welded at the back of the b-pillar with full fiber glass roof just like Chevy (that is what the planners wanted). Problem was the Chevy had a tendency to leak at the header and frankly the Ford doors and window mechanisms would have to be all new which equals expensive tooling. John Richardson suggested attaching to the Ford cab at the b-pilar. This carried over the door and solved the leak problem. We initially were looking at a Dana design for "v-drive" which had a torque shaft to drive each front axle. It worked slick on a stationwagon when I blew off a corvette on Telegraph. Poor guy tried twice and got beat twice. Too complex and too expensive. Had a BFO (bliding flash of obvious). Why not just put a U joint in the middle of the solid axle and make it a twin I beam 4x4? Immediately we were told it wouldn't ride right with unequal weights on the front axels. Solution have a stock 4x2 tested for ride and then weld 80 pounds to one of the axles. Ureka it rode better, but got chewed out for "ruining" a good baseline test vehicle. Any way this suspension allowed common frames between 4x2 and 4x4 vehicles plus gave us a independent 4x4 front suspension. We built two prototype vehicles over about a one year time frame. They had special seats to ease rear seat access. We added a foot well for better rear seating. We had a flip forward rear seat so you could use the rear for seating or cargo. I have a full set of photos of the vehicles taken by George Peterson. The second vehicle had the basket handle or raised roof over the b-pillar and that was the vehicle we showed to management. We were initially chastised by upper management for not bringing the fiberglass roof to the windshield header; but it stuck and Chevy copied us..."

1978-1979 Bronco Sketch; "..a designer named Dick Nesbitt, who was one of the original designers of the full-size Bronco, came up with an ingenious idea of a wrap-around Targa style roof band which ultimately shaped the unique design of all full-size Broncos from 1978 to 1996. The wrap-around Targa design allowed for a fixed-roof cab that allowed the use of the F-100 doors and solved one of the main problems with the Blazer which was leaks that developed along the thick rubber seal on the removable top. There was more than just one proposed design for the new Bronco top, however. The picture to the *right shows some of the proposed designs, including an opera window design, the targa-style design which is similar to the production version, a plain pointed corner design that is very similar to the design used on the '80 & up models, and a plain rounded corner design that was incorporated into the targa-style design that was used on the production version. Testing centers at Ford determined that the targa-style design was best to seal the top to the cab and that the rounded corner glass design was best for resisting stress-related cracks. Another engineering obstacle that had to be overcome was finding the proper location to mount the radius arms that held the front axle in place. Several ill-handling prototypes were built and tested before the engineers at Ford got it right."
miesk5 note: * see attached.

Another engineering obstacle that had to be overcome was finding the proper location to mount the radius arms that held the front axle in place. Several ill-handling prototypes were built and tested before the engineers at Ford got it right.

With nearly all of the problems worked out and all of the original requirements for the full-size Bronco now satisfied, the 1974 model year came and went, and STILL no full-size Bronco! Why wasn't it released on time? To answer this question, we have to understand what was going on in the world during this time. Beginning in 1973, the world suffered from the worst energy crisis ever experienced in modern times. Homes across the country started experiencing electrical brown outs and people had to pay ever-increasing prices for fuel for their automobiles. Price control systems that were implemented at the time only aggravated the problem, and by October of 1973 The Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) implemented an oil embargo that nearly crippled the country. Everywhere people went there were lines at gas stations that were sometimes miles long and many times there was no gas left at the stations at all!

It has been speculated by many that the onset of the 1973 OPEC oil embargo was by far the main reason that the introduction of the full-size Bronco was delayed until the 1978 model year. By 1977 the energy crisis had eased up and the first generation Broncos still being sold were terribly out dated by this time. Sales were sharply falling due to the extreme popularity of the much more modern and versatile Blazer. Ford also finally had a new, environmentally-friendly engine in use in its 4x4 trucks by 1977, the 351M/400, which could only mean one thing: The second-generation Bronco's time had finally come!

In mid 1977 Ford introduced the first full-size Broncos for the 1978 model year. The long awaited '78 Bronco was so popular that many people had to wait six months or longer to get one from their local Ford dealers. Consumers just couldn't get enough of them. Even the automobile and truck magazines of the time raved on and on about the new full-size Broncos. The '78 Bronco practically swept-the-boards with 4x4 and truck-of-the-year awards. Pickup, Van, & 4WD magazine even stated, "It's a guess, but perhaps a very safe bet, that Chevy, Dodge, and Jeep engineers have '78 Broncos in their labs now, taking a look and calculating ways and means for catching up".

One of the main reasons for the new Bronco's instant celebrity status was the combination of functionality and ruggedness the vehicle offered. The F-Series 4x4s had a long standing reputation for being the best built full-size trucks on the market. With the introduction of the full-size Bronco, consumers could now have a vehicle with all the ruggedness of the F-Series trucks combined with luxury features such as A/C, cruise control, roll bars, AM/FM/CB stereos, delay wipers, bucket seats, center consoles, and even tilt steering -- all in a short wheel base package that was easy to maneuver both on and off the road. Consumers could also choose exactly how they wanted their new Bronco equipped with two basic models being offered; the Custom, which was marketed towards the "outdoor enthusiast" and the Ranger XLT, which was marketed as more of family-oriented daily driver. Ford also offered a "Free-Wheelin" package on both the Custom & the Ranger XLT that featured tri-color striping, black bumpers, black low mount western-style mirrors, sport steering wheel, special glove box appliqué, and custom wheels. There were also some ultra-luxurious Lariat Broncos built to help promote the new Bronco at Ford dealers around the country.

The 1979 Bronco was basically a direct carry over from the 1978 models. The big difference for the 1979 model year was a full array of emissions equipment, including smog pumps and catalytic converters, that were now standard on all 1/2 ton trucks. Probably the most amazing accomplishment for the '79 Bronco was that Ford managed to satisfy the EPA emissions requirements with very little, if any, loss of performance over the previous model year. Automotive and truck magazines of the time continued to rave about the '79 Bronco. 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine said during their 1979 Bronco road test that, "If you've already come to the conclusion that we like the Bronco, you're right. In fact, the more time we spend in it, the better we like it".

Some additional new features for 1979 was the introduction of captain chairs, standard square headlights (they were optional on the 78), and a more aggressively marketed "Free-Wheelin" package that featured optional chromatic striping in place of the '78s tri-color striping.


By mid 1979, the second-generation Broncos seemed to be on top of the world. Sales of the new Bronco were breaking all-time records and both General Motors and Chrysler Corporation were still trying to figure out what hit them. But the end of the second-generation Broncos was just around the corner. Even before the very first full-size Bronco was released in mid 1977, Ford designers were finalizing the design of the third-generation Bronco which was to be based on the all new line up of F-Series trucks scheduled to be released for the 1980 model year.

The combination of the OPEC oil embargo of 1973-1974 and the engineering difficulties Ford had to overcome delayed the introduction of the second-generation by four years, which meant that even before it was released it was already obsolete. The new third-generation Bronco that was released in late 1979 was a much better reflection of the times. The previous year's standard 351 CID V8 engine was now replaced by a 300 CID I-6 engine and the beloved, torque-laden 400 CID V8 engine was now a thing of the past. Also laid to rest was the solid front axle which was replaced by a quirky "Twin-Traction Beam" that was far better suited for the road than it was for the trials. The third-generation Bronco was lighter, more fuel-efficient, and was cheaper to produce. The second-generation Broncos didn't stand a chance against it.

In retrospect, it's nothing short of a miracle that the 78-79 Broncos were even produced in the first place. In 1979 another energy crisis and a failing economy hit the nation. Although not as severe as the 1973-1974 crisis, consumers were still hit with skyrocketing fuel prices and double-digit inflation. Had this happened just two years earlier, it is almost a certainty that Ford would have delayed the introduction of the full-size Bronco until the 1980 model year. Still, for two wonderful years the second-generation Broncos turned the 4x4 and SUV market upside-down. They were, and still remain in the eyes of many, the undisputed King of SUVs."
Saved from projectbronco.com

An article written by SONESVT:
"...Vintage Design: Nesbitt's Carrousel.
The Ford Carrousel is the vehicle that would have resulted from the stillborn Nantucket Project from the mid 70's, that could have given Ford the credit for turning the van into a mainstream family vehicle, as we have previously discussed in FoMoCo News. The minivan would have been merely a downsizing (like many others that happened in the late 70s and early 80s) of this Ford idea.

I find interesting how in the side sketches the design tries to smooth out the severity of the Econoline design in which this vehicle was to be based, with beautifully sculpted side panels.

My favorite is sketch "C" with its isolated window in the style which latter was to be referred to as limousine stile that became big in the 80s in car like the European Ford Sierra and the Ford Tempo among others. Also in sketches B and C you can see the window design that was latter included in the passenger windows of the Ford Bronco which was also a Dick Nesbitt design.

Sketch B @ https://www.fullsizebronco.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=18488&d=1319035460
Sketch C @ https://www.fullsizebronco.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=18489&stc=1&thumb=1&d=1446735506

Also note in the top design how Nesbitt was proposing in 1972 the use of the blue oval in American Ford models 11 years before it finally happened in 1983..."

https://www.fullsizebronco.com/forum/15-general-discussion-bronco-wheeling-related/200388-1978-design-prototype.html
 

Attachments

·
I did done broke it
Joined
·
2,240 Posts
It's rather incorrect to say the top doesn't come off on Aeronose Broncos...you just can't be a ***** about it
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,419 Posts
"Ford also finally had a new, environmentally-friendly engine in use in its 4x4 trucks by 1977, the 351M/400,"

compared to what, a M1 tank engine!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
"Ford also finally had a new, environmentally-friendly engine in use in its 4x4 trucks by 1977, the 351M/400,"

compared to what, a M1 tank engine!
I guess for the time it was viewed as "environmentally-friendly" but these days even being slightly better on gas is enough for the media to use wording like that.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top