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Santa Claus Visits Ford and the Bronco 52 Years After the Original

Turns out Santa's an off-road 4x4 man.

Ford's archive manager dug out a nifty old photo: Santa Claus visiting Ford's cold-test room on November 4, 1968, loading up a first-gen Bronco with presents, and presumably engaging the engineers' help to check his list twice. Cute. Well, wouldn't you know it, Jolly Ol' St. Nick just happened to visit the Ford cold room again to pose with the new-for-2021 Ford Bronco, and Ford just happened to have a photographer there. (And, this time, the engineer on the left just happened not to have a cigarette stuck between his fingers.)

Perusing this 50-year span of photos, we have a few observations.

  • Santa is a car snob. Why else has he stayed away from Ford for 52 years? Think of all the vehicles Ford has made in the past five decades that haven't been interesting enough to lure him. "Hey Santa, check out the Taurus SHO! Yamaha V-8, five-speed stick!" "Pass." "Mustang five-point-oh?" "Pass." "GT?" "Pass." "GT500?" "Pass. "
  • Even if Santa prefers off-roaders (and who can blame him?), he's snubbed two generations of the F-150 Raptor. Ouch, Nick.
  • Santa's younger than we think. Note the lack of reading glasses in the 1968 photo. Logical inference: If your grandparents told you Santa visited them as kids, they were lying.
  • No front plate on the new Bronco. That's a ticket-able offense in 30 states. If you live in Alaska, New Jersey, California, or Utah and don't get any presents, now you know why.
  • Santa Claus drives a stick-shift. The Bronco didn't get an automatic transmission until 1973.
  • The cold room now has a door. We understand Ford engineers have been requesting one for years. They almost got one twenty years ago, but then the Ford GT went over budget.
  • Santa Claus loves him some bling. Note how much bigger his belt buckle has gotten over the last 50 years—and yet, over the same period, he's de-emphasized the beard. See, we told you facial hair isn't cool.
  • Note the bull bar on the front of the 2021 Ford Bronco. Does he need that for present delivery in Australia, or is Santa getting a little more road-ragey as the years go on?
  • We count half as many varieties of wrapping paper in the 1968 photo than in the 2020 photo. Santa Claus must have fared as badly in his union negotiations as Ford did.
  • No winch on the new Bronco. If you get stuck while off-roading on Christmas Eve, don't bother flagging down Santa Claus. He's busy, and sure as hell isn't going to delay present delivery because you didn't have the good sense to walk through your obstacle before driving into it.
  • Ice scrapers have gotten a lot more substantial in the past fifty years. The fact that they still need one probably means the Bronco's defroster hasn't.
  • Santa must be wanting to get something a little rough and tumble to park next to his new one-off Bentley.
  • The Chevrolet Blazer is so getting a lump of coal for Christmas.