The SEMA (Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association) Show in Las Vegas had plenty of surprises each year. Many of them are over the top custom builds that garner a lot of attention, but rarely ever make it into mass production. Sure, you can always buy a one-off and be the Cool Dad in the neighborhood.
Ford has been talking about its upcoming Bronco production model for months, if not years now. I think we might be getting close to actually seeing that bucking horse in the next few months. so Ford has put out a Bronco R race prototype in the Nevada desert to celebrate 50th anniversary of Rod Hall’s historic Baja 1000 win, an overall victory in a 4×4 that’s never been duplicated in 50 years
It was no mirage. Bronco – in the form of a race-inspired Bronco R prototype – is back, as a tease, the Bronco R – developed by Ford Performance with its heritage-inspired design and proportion hints of what enthusiasts can expect to see when the future Bronco makes its world premiere next spring
The team focused on creating a race-ready look with an overall heritage-inspired design language. With its compressed body height and long-travel suspension, Bronco R features an ultra-wide stance, while a variety of aero components reinforce its performance intent. The prototype’s lightweight composite body includes a clamshell hood and roof, as well as clean body panels that harken back to the first-generation Bronco models (1966 – 1977). A cut-roof design allows rear-seat passengers to use a second-row hatch for access.
The exterior incorporates 15 LED light bars from Rigid, including a grille sequence framing the new BRONCO brand lettering boldly. To underscore that this is a one-of-a-kind racing prototype, the “R” is given a sharp graphic treatment. Washers inscribed with the Bronco name are visible at various points around the exterior and secure the composite skin to the roll cage beneath it.
A unique race-focused interior features lightweight off-road racing shells from Recaro for all three seating positions. Simple surfaces of the instrument panel nod to the first-generation Bronco and the integration of a MoTeC data acquisition system enables real-time monitoring and measurement of the prototype’s performance attributes.
The racing prototype is built on a modified Ford T6 architecture that will provide the base for the production model. Beefed up for Baja, Bronco R features an independent front suspension with 14 inches of travel and a production-based five-link rear chassis design with up to 18 inches of travel, plus custom Fox shocks, 17-inch Beadlock-capable aluminum wheels, and 37-inch BFGoodrich tires.
“Like the original Bronco, we kept Bronco R’s design authentic and simple, with a roll cage on a production-style frame, and a five-piece lightweight body on top,” said Brian Novak, Ford Performance off-road racing supervisor. “For the endurance needs of Baja’s 1,000 grueling miles, we built in a limited number of race-focused parts. But even the twin turbos of the EcoBoost® engine are representative of what the production Bronco will offer.”
As a test, the Bronco R will head back to the Baja Peninsula later this month to take on the near 1,000-mile grueling off-road course and challenge the production of Bronco’s powertrain and architecture.
For the vehicle that was, and the vehicle that will be – it’s the vehicle that is. The Bronco R race prototype is no mirage. The sand is flying again, and the heat is on. It was built for this.
Content for this post came directly from our friends at Ford’s Media Center in Dearborn Michigan. We thank them for including us in upcoming info about the Bronco.