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The Ford Bronco: History, Buying Tips, Photos, and More

All things Ford Bronco on Automobile.

Ford Bronco Essential History

The Ford Bronco arrived in showrooms for the first time in 1965 for the 1966 model year, where it was marketed as an all-purpose, four-wheel-drive vehicle. The Bronco was built on a unique platform and aimed at a market segment inhabited by the International Harvester Scout and Jeep CJ-5, which offered lots of fun and versatility for not much money. Roadster, two-door wagon, and half-cab pickup body styles were available, along with six- and eight-cylinder engines.

By 1978, the second-generation Bronco had arrived. Larger in size and now based on the Ford F-100 pickup chassis (with borrowed styling cues as well), the Bronco retained four-wheel-drive for all models, but now was only offered as a two-door wagon. Two V-8 engines were offered, and while a four-speed manual was standard, a three-speed automatic was optional for the first time.

In 1980, a third-generation Bronco arrived with a more emissions-friendly range of engines including a standard straight-six. It continued to rely on the F-Series for styling and parts influence, and shared trim levels with these pickups as well. In 1982 the Bronco II was released, which was essentially a smaller and less-expensive variant based on the Ford Ranger compact pickup.

The fourth-generation Bronco launched in 1987, aligned with the launch of the new eighth-generation F-Series trucks. Changes were made to styling which resulted in improved aerodynamics, and the interior was updated for greater comfort. A four-speed automatic replaced the three-speed during this generation. Both six- and eight-cylinder engines continued to be offered.

The fifth generation Bronco arrived in 1992, with more incremental improvements over the fourth-generation models. The Bronco ended production in 1996, but a new sixth-generation model has been announced for the 2021 model year and will be launching soon along with a smaller, "Baby Bronco" model based on the compact Ford Escape.

Ford Bronco Highlights

Perhaps the Bronco's biggest claim to fame is when Al Collings and O.J. Simpson led police on a slow-speed chase through Los Angeles in a fifth-generation 1993 model in 1994. Some 95 million viewers are said to have seen the now-famous white Bronco evade police on the 405 freeway. While the event boosted the model's popularity, the Bronco's cancellation in 1996 was due to the higher sales of more family-friendly SUVs such as the Ford Explorer and Expedition.

Ford Bronco Buying Tips

Classic SUVs are hot in the current market and are typically sought out as more usable collector cars for family-oriented buyers. Generally speaking, as the Bronco's evolution progressed, it became larger and more feature-packed. The earliest models are generally seen as the most purposeful and pure, and are typically used in stock or modified form as fair-weather toys. The later examples are still more than capable of being daily driven with fuel-injected engines and optional push-button four-wheel-drive. There are now many aftermarket companies supporting Broncos of all ages, and parts are generally affordable and easy to find. Updated "resto-mod" versions of early Broncos can give the best of both worlds, with modern suspension and powertrain components but classic looks.

Ford Bronco Articles on Automobile

The big Bronco's Escape-based baby crossover SUV sibling leaks before its debut.

It looks like the new Bronco will be available in one of 10 hues.

These spy photos show the Ford Bronco will indeed be a rugged box on wheels.

The 2021 Bronco R previews the new production Bronco SUV.

Order this fully electric neoclassic 4x4 today and start chasing Teslas around.

Be forewarned, though - they aren't cheap.

Aggressive, bad-ass, and customized with a rad color scheme too.

Old becomes new with these 1966-1977 builds.

Ford Bronco Recent Auctions

Ford Bronco Quick Facts

  • First year of production: 1965
  • Last year of production: 1996 (2021 model coming soon)
  • Total sold: More than 1.1 million
  • Original price (base): $2,480
  • Characteristic feature: Chunky features, off-road prowess
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Ford Bronco FAQ

  • How much will the new 2020 Ford Bronco cost?

Ford has not yet announced a price for the 2020 Ford Bronco, but we expect to know more in the coming months. Our best guess is that it will start in the high $20,000 range and go up from there based on configuration and options.

  • When can I order a 2020 Ford Bronco?

We expect orders to begin by April 2020 after a March 2020 debut, though that may be pushed back due to the current global crisis.

  • What will the 2020 Ford Bronco look like?

The 2020 Ford Bronco has not yet been released so we don't know for sure. Take a look at some of the linked articles above for clues.

  • Will the 2020 Ford Bronco have 4 doors?

We expect the 2020 Ford Bronco to be available in both two- and four-door configurations.

  • How much is a 1966 Ford Bronco worth?

The price of a classic Ford Bronco varies greatly with options, modifications and condition. We suggest $15,000 as a starting point for projects, with fully restored vehicles costing multiples of that.