2021 Ford Bronco Concept’s Colors Pay Tribute to Rod Hall’s Race Bronco
It’s been over 50 years since Rod Hall won the Baja 1000 in his early Bronco.
If Rod Hall ever had the opportunity to race a new Ford Bronco, maybe it would have resembled this rendering. And odds are, he would have left the competition in the dust. Rod Hall dedicated his life to racing four-wheel drive vehicles, accomplishing one of the most impressive racing resumes ever seen in the professional off-road racing world by winning over 160 major events and a variety of SCORE, HDRA, and BiTD championship titles.
One of his coolest accomplishments was racing in every single one of the first fifty SCORE Baja 1000, one of the most prestigious off-road races in the world. From its inception in 1967 (then called the NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally) to his last start racing a Hummer in 2017 when he was nearly 80, Hall collected 25 class wins and thousands of memories. One of those wins in the Baja 1000 was his overall race win in the 1968 Baja 1000 behind the wheel of a Bill Stroppe-built Ford Bronco. It stands as arguably the only overall win in a factory-chassis four-wheel-drive vehicle.
With all the chatter surrounding the new 2021 Ford Bronco, Rod Hall's nostalgic Bronco has surged in popularity. The stars aligned perfectly to celebrate the classic early race Bronco while welcoming the new Bronco to market. First, Rod Hall raced his Samco Fabrication restored, race-winning 1968 Ford Bronco in the 2016 NORRA Mexican 1000 rally. Then, the Geiser Brothers-built Ford Bronco R, a slight foreshadowing of the production Bronco to come, paid homage to the race Bronco by racing in the 2019 Score Baja 1000 with Cameron Steele's Desert Assassins team. And now, with the official unveiling of the 2021 Ford Bronco, we're seeing what Hall's early 1968 Bronco could look like as a new Bronco, over 50 years later.
Designer Abimelec Arellano, creator of the 6x6 Bronco, whipped up this Ford Performance, GT500-powered Rod Hall Ford Bronco digital concept, clothed in clean, modern, 2021 Bronco aesthetics—and pushing more power than the restored early Bronco's carb'd 347. It hardly resembles the super burly Bronco R—but to be fair, there's not much Bronco to that Bronco. That's like referring to a NASCAR entry as a Toyota Camry. Hardly.
And it's definitely not race-prepped like Hall's restored race machine, a detail that keeps the Bronco less cluttered and more valet-ready than race-ready. The paint scheme, however, gives homage to the original Hall Bronco, and the KC HiLiTES HID lights are spot-on with the restored version. The tires are BFGoodrich, of course, but that offset could be a little too much, and we wonder how those fenders would hold up in rugged Baja terrain. Like the restored Bronco, the tailgate and back seat have been removed to allow for a spare tire. The suspension is definitely less of a kidney-buster than the original's stiff-as-a-board setup.
Although it's been over 50 years since Rod Hall won the Baja 1000 in his early Bronco, renderings like this help bridge the gap between then and now. Whether you prefer the early Bronco or the new, bigger, contemporary Bronco, it's fair to say that this Rod Hall Ford Bronco concept has all the right vintage vibes to remind us of off-road racing's glory days.