Top 10 Ford Broncos We Would Die For
The Ford Bronco's storied history has to be one of the most exciting in all of the SUV realm. From its modest beginnings in the mid-'60s to its newly rekindled automotive superstar status, Bronco has always been a recognizable, tough, and dependable machine. It looks like a 25-year hiatus hasn't affected its popularity and desirability, and more 230,000 new buyers in just its first year back on the market prove it.
As lifelong die-hard Bronco fans, we often find that debating about which are our favorite Ford Bronco models is a topic of conversation. It's likely that no true Bronco fan can limit that list of favorites to only one car, so we decided to compile the most exciting Broncos we'd be most excited to pull into our garage. We've expanded our list to concept cars, since many are just too cool to leave out.
Here is our Bronco dream garage; what's yours?
1994 Ford Bronco Eddie Bauer
Even though Ford offered the Eddie Bauer trim package for the first time in 1985, we feel that the early '90s models are among the coolest of this special edition of Broncos ever made. For those who don't know, Eddie Bauer was the upscale luxury trim level for Broncos, and it included numerous creature comforts, a leather interior, special color choices, and other luxury details.
It was at this time that Ford realized that luxury models were becoming a big part of the emerging SUV market, so they decided to offer such a model to Bronco customers. Some fans even call it the "Bronco with Lincoln luxury". That's why this was a consistently popular model all the way until the Bronco was discontinued in 1996.
If you're a Bronco enthusiast, you probably already know a little about the ICON BR. Created by Jonathan Ward, a Californian entrepreneur with a taste for bespoke machines, the ICON BR is a restomod Bronco built to the highest standards. It may look like a classic Bronco from the outside, but it's a thoroughly modern machine, with a brand new 5.0-liter V8, trick suspension, custom interior and state-of-the-art components.
The only roadblock for most potential buyers would be the price. If you want an ICON BR, prices starts at $190,000, but despite this ICON has produced more than 100 of them so far.
We really need one -- that modern V paired with classic looks is the perfect combination!
Ford Bronco Centurion
Most dedicated Bronco fans will recognize the Centurion name, since it distinguished itself as the most popular company undertaking 4-door conversions in the '80s and '90. The 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 the Centurion C-150), they cut the truck bed off and mounted the rear end of the Bronco in its place, topped with a plastic roof. If you opted for the F-350-based version (called the Centurion C-350), Centurion technicians would shorten the wheelbase to 140 inches before undertaking the same process.
As a result of their handiwork, their Bronco Centurion featured seating for nine passengers, lots of luggage space, and retained the removable roof section featured on the standard Bronco.
Centurion was also known for offering bullet-proof models as well as catering to individual customers' requests. That's why you'll sometimes find luxury-trimmed Centurions featuring a leather interior, a TV in the back, and enhanced ground clearance via an added lift kit.
Big Oly Bronco
The Big Oly Bronco started as an evolution of Baja-winning Stroppe's Broncos from the late '60s, but it turned out to be a highly influential and revolutionary car. The 1969/70 season was tense for Bill Stroppe; his team won the Baja race in 1969 but also was shocked by tragedy when Richard Smith, a young racer, was killed in a Bronco. Deeply affected by this, Stroppe worked hard to make his racing Broncos not only faster, but safer.
The result was the Big Oly Bronco, the predecessor of today's TT off-road racers. Stroppe realized that he could do only so much with standard Bronco chassis, so he decided to build an entirely new one made out of steel tubes -- lighter and stronger than any produced by Ford. He moved the engine to the center of the vehicle, creating perfect weight distribution. Powered by a mighty 351 V8 engine, a revised suspension and brakes, the Big Oly Bronco, in the hands of renowned Ford ace Parnelli Jones, dominated the 1971 and 1972 seasons.
2021 Ford Bronco Badlands (with the Sasquatch Package)
After 25 years of absence, Ford finally brought back the Bronco for the 2021 model year, and although it was a long wait, it was well worth it. The new Bronco and Bronco Sport are very cool, even in base trim with their standard engine offerings; however, the Badlands model really caught our attention as the coolest one among seven trim levels.
This tough and ready Ford is the perfect example of the Bronco philosophy in modern form. Equipped with a heavy-duty suspension, advanced components (like hydraulic front sway-bar disconnect system), steel front and rear bumpers, big tires, and the optional Sasquatch package, the 2021 Badlands is definitely one to have. Immensely capable off-road, but with excellent on-road manners, this is the coolest SUV of our times.
Ford Bronco Freewheelin' Package
In the late '70s, all domestic manufacturers were hit simultaneously by the oil crisis and environmental standards, resulting in substantially lowered engine power outputs. Ford was no exception, and to compensate for its Bronco's lack of power and underwhelming performance, it offered numerous limited-run appearance packages, graphics options, and trim levels.
One of the most popular was the "Freewheelin" package, which was available on the F-150, Econoline vans, the small Courier pick up, and the Bronco.
Customers could choose one of five primary colors and then get a rainbow stripe graphic package that was distinct for every model year. Ford also offered special rims, tires, side-pipe exhaust, and a whole host of accessories, so you could really dress-up your Bronco in typical '70s fashion. Although undeniably cool, Freewheelin' Broncos featured standard engines with just 156 or 158 hp.
Ford Bronco Montana Lobo Concept
The Bronco Montana Lobo Concept was one of the 1981 Chicago Auto Show stars, due to its unique appearance and numerous custom touches. Designed as a revival of the Bronco Roadster from the mid-'60s, the Montana Lobo was actually built on the 1977 model chassis. It had unique bodywork, removable Plexiglas doors, a more-inclined windshield, and sidepipe exhausts.
But the real show-stopper was the digital dash (amazing stuff for 1981), special bumpers with a featured winch and an integrated ramp, so you can load your dirt bike in the back.
Unfortunately, the Montana Lobo remained just a concept.
Ford Bronco Boss
Back in the late '60s, Ford was neck-deep in the muscle car performance wars, prompting its engineering department to delve into all kinds of cool projects. One of them was the Bronco Boss. This yellow Ford is definitely one of the coolest Broncos ever produced, and it is, in fact, a cross between the 1969 Shelby GT350 and regular Bronco.
With 290 hp, 302 V8 engine, 3-speed automatic gearbox, modified suspension and drivetrain, and short 4:11 gears, this Bronco could outrun many muscle cars in stoplight drag battles. Unfortunately, Ford decided that production would be very costly and that the market was not yet ready for high-performance SUV models. That's why the project was abandoned after two prototypes, which were considered lost but resurfaced recently. We need to get hold of one of them!
Ford Bronco R
The future of Bronco racing was introduced in 2019 with this fully-operational concept, called simply the Bronco R. Since this was a prototype, it was engineered to fulfill the Class 2 division rules, and the introduction was perfectly timed so it could enter the 2019 Baja 1000. Ford was very confident and decided to enter the Bronco R with pretty much a stock drive train and a V6 EcoBoost engine. Of course, the steel tube chassis was a must, as were various other safety components.
Since the Bronco R was revealed nine months before the official introduction of the road-going model, Ford mounted a body made of composite materials that closely resembled the standard Bronco but didn't show much in the way of finishing details. Despite being very fast and showing that it was capable of running with the best, the Bronco R was plagued with mechanical troubles (namely a broken suspension) and numerous crashes, barely managing to finish the race.
1966 Ford Bronco V8
The Ford Bronco was introduced in August of 1965 and offered with 170 cubic-inch straight-six engine with just 105 hp. But very soon (March 1966), Ford introduced a V8 option. This was precisely the engine the Bronco needed to complete the package.
The venerable 289 cubic-inch delivered 200 hp -- not an overwhelming output, but more than enough to provide decent on and off-road performance. The classic '60s Bronco shape, paired with the rumble of a V8 and permanent four-wheel-drive, was a winning combination that started the Bronco legend.
For a lot of Bronco fans, the original '60s models are the coolest of them all, and looking at this boxy little off-roader, we can understand why. We would keep ours stock and completely original as a perfect tribute to this legendary model.