New Ford Bronco May Get a Retractable Cloth Roof Option
Patent reveals a dual-layer cloth cover that doubles as an awning.
Recently, we found a patent for removable doors that we're pretty sure Ford plans to offer on the new Bronco. The two-door-pickup-like shape of the vehicle shown even appears to be a nod to the Bronco II, even if it doesn't include much detail. But according to a recent report, the Bronco will come with a removable roof as well as removable doors. After doing some more digging, we may have found a patent that shows Ford's plan for that, as well.
If this had been a simple patent for an SUV with removable roof panels, we probably wouldn't have paid much attention to it. Even if Ford had developed some clever mechanism or method for removing them, the patent itself probably wouldn't have shown anything all that novel. But these drawings reveal something much more interesting. Assuming this feature is intended for the Bronco, it looks like owners will have the option of using a removable cloth cover once the hard top is removed. And instead of a single sunshade, there will be two layers—one made out of mesh and another made from cloth.
So even with the roof off, you'll still be able to decide whether you want a completely open experience, a little bit of wind and sun protection, or a full cloth cover. It also doesn't look like the cloth and mesh roof will have to stay installed at all times, either. Ford appears to have borrowed its design from the retractable cargo covers that are popular on hatchbacks and crossovers, allowing the entire piece to be unclipped and removed.
That idea is pretty cool on its own and definitely worthy of coverage, but it appears there's more. The part that really caught our attention is Figure 15 (at the top of this post), which shows the cloth roof pulled back the other direction and supported by stakes. It's far from a fully enclosed tent that you could sleep in, but turning the cloth roof into an awning is pretty creative. If you take your Bronco fishing or camping, it could be pretty useful, too.
As we said yesterday, there's no guarantee that Ford intends to use this patent on the Bronco. Even if it does, the dual-material removable cloth roof may be a pricey option. But like the doors, it's a seriously cool idea that may help the Bronco give the Jeep Wrangler a real run for its money.
Source: Google Patents