The Rare, Interesting and Cool Four-Door Broncos
When Ford officially announced the 2021 Bronco and showed official photos, lots of Bronco fans were surprised that the 4-door version would be offered. In fact, 2021 will bring us two four-door models -- the standard Bronco and the Bronco Sport.
That extra pair of doors will do wonders for the Bronco lineup, since it will offer not only more usability and interior space, but also allow the Bronco to compete against the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Land Rover Defender, and Toyota 4Runner TRD.
Interestingly, common knowledge tells us that this marks the first time Ford has offered such version of the Bronco. But is this true? Well, yes and no. Yes, because Ford never officially sold four-door Broncos before the 2021 model year. No, since you could get one if you wanted and even Ford`s development team seriously considered introducing this body style.
During the `70s, it became apparent that Ford was losing sales to the Chevrolet Suburban and International Travelall, both of which were offered in four-door form and could seat up to 9 passengers. Even though Ford’s engineers constructed several prototypes, the project was canceled.
The market void was filled by several independent coachbuilders offering pretty convincing and immensely practical Broncos with four doors.
Over the years, these companies sold them successfully all over America, and today, we'll tell you more about them.
Ford Bronco Metropolitan
Designed and sold by Magnum Motor Coach in Michigan, the Bronco Metropolitan (as it was called) was one of the more popular custom jobs offered in the late `80s and early `90s. Even though it was sold as a Bronco, it actually used Ford F-150, F-250, and F-350 chassis, combined with numerous Bronco trim pieces and a signature fiberglass rear-end roof section.
The Magnum took the double cab, four door pickups Ford was currently offering and converted them to the Bronco spec models. The result looked like a stretched Bronco, with the same aluminum trim, tailgate, rear-end roof and badges. Interestingly, Magnum Motor Coach used as many Ford OEM parts as possible, which is why the Metropolitan Broncos looked like Ford had produced them.
Most examples used the 5.8-liter V8 engine and an automatic transmission. All cars were equipped with a standard four-wheel-drive system.
The Bronco Metropolitan was in production for about ten years, during which time the Magnum assembled and sold around 500 units. The exact number is unknown, but the remaining examples are sought-after by collectors, and they repesent what is probably the closest thing you can get to an OEM, factory stock, classic four-door Bronco.
Ford Bronco Centurion
Most dedicated Bronco fans will recognize the Centurion name, since it was the most popular company doing 4-door conversions in the `80s and `90s. Centurion Vehicles was a Michigan-based outfit specialized in producing special vehicles. Their most popular product was Bronco Centurion, but they also produced interesting vans based on Ford`s E-Series models.
Centurion used either the F-150 or F-350 truck chassis for their Bronco conversions, and their process was quite simple. In the case of the F-150 version (called Centurion C-150), they cut the truck bed off and mounted the rear end of the Bronco with the plastic roof. However, if you ordered the F-350-based version (called Centurion C-350), technicians would shorten the wheelbase to 140 inches and repeat the process.
The result was the Bronco Centurion, with seating for nine passengers, lots of luggage space, and a removable plastic section of the roof, just like the standard Bronco. Centurion was also known for offering bullet-proof models, as well as being willing to entertain any customer`s requests. That's why you could potentiall see luxury-trimmed Centurions with leather interiors, TVs in the back, and lift kits.
In terms of the drive train, standard offerings were 5.0 and 5.8-liter V8 engines and two and four-wheel-drive. However, for C-350 models, buyers could get a 7.5-liter gasoline engine or 7.3-liter diesel option, which were better suited to such an enormous vehicle. When Ford discontinued the Bronco in 1996, Centurion followed suit, after around 5000 C-150s and C-350s had sold.
Knowing, as we do, that Centurion conversions weren’t cheap, such a high production figure definitely demands respect.
Ford Bronco DaBryan
Located in Missouri, DaBryan Coach Builders was known for its work on limousines and specialty vehicles. However, in the late `80s and early `90s, this company offered its own unique vision of a four-door Bronco. We deliberately use the word “unique”, since the DeBryan Bronco was actually based on the regular production Bronco, not on the F-150 or F-350, like Metropolitan or Centurion.
The talented Missouri craftsmen took the standard Bronco and stretched its frame, and then added two extra doors, floor panels, and an interior. This involved a more thorough job than its competitors, and the result was a bit shorter but better handling vehicle, with the driving dynamics of an SUV, not of a truck.
As it would turn out, DeBryan wasn’t so successful in selling its Broncos, and the overall production figure is quite low – only 35 vehicles. So far, just a couple have been accounted for, so if you find a four-door Bronco in a scrap yard, take a good look -- you might discover a unique piece of Ford`s history.
Ford Project “Midhorn"
In the early `70s, Ford was busy working on its second-generation Bronco, and the success of the competing Chevrolet Blazer and Suburban influenced the design process. This meant that Ford was serious about building a four-door Bronco and made several prototypes under the name Project “Midhorn.”
Unfortunately, the idea was abandoned, and the prototypes were crushed, but we can see that the resulting vehicle looks pretty competent and production-ready. The Midhorn was basically a four-door SUV version of the F-150 truck, but it seems pretty cool regardless.
Maxlider Brothers might be considered just another Bronco restoration shop that occasionally does some custom work if it wasn't for its unique 4-door Bronco restomod. Ford never produced a 4-door classic Bronco, but this company thought it should and decided to make it a reality. Using a custom stretch chassis, top-of-the-line engine and suspension components, and an extra pair of doors, the Maxlider Bronco is a real show stopper.
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