The Ford Bronco Wagon was a two-door SUV that was first introduced in 1965 as a direct competitor to the Jeep CJ-5 and International Harvester Scout. The first generation of the Bronco Wagon was produced from 1966 to 1977 and is often referred to as the “early Bronco.”
The first generation of the Bronco Wagon was available in three different body styles: a roadster, a pickup truck, and a wagon. The wagon was the most popular of the three and was available with either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.
Under the hood, the first generation of the Bronco Wagon was powered by a range of inline-six and V8 engines, with the most popular engine being the 170 cubic inch inline-six. Transmission options included a three-speed manual or a three-speed automatic.
One of the defining features of the first generation of the Bronco Wagon was its compact size and nimble off-road capabilities. Its short wheelbase and high ground clearance made it ideal for navigating rough terrain, and it quickly gained a reputation as a capable off-road vehicle.
The first generation of the Bronco Wagon was replaced by the larger and more powerful second generation in 1978, but it remains a popular classic SUV among enthusiasts today.
The first-generation Ford Bronco wagon was built on a traditional ladder frame chassis that was specifically designed for off-road use. The chassis featured a short wheelbase and a relatively narrow track width, which helped to improve maneuverability in tight spaces and on rough terrain.
The front suspension of the first-generation Bronco used a solid front axle with coil springs and radius arms, while the rear suspension used a leaf spring setup with a solid rear axle. This configuration provided excellent off-road capability and durability, as well as a comfortable ride on paved roads.
The chassis also featured high ground clearance and ample approach and departure angles, which allowed the Bronco to tackle steep inclines and rocky terrain without getting hung up on obstacles. The chassis was also designed to be easily modified and upgraded, allowing off-road enthusiasts to customize their vehicles with aftermarket suspension components, wheels, and tires.
The first-generation Ford Bronco wagon was initially offered with two different engine options: a 2.8-liter inline-six and a 4.7-liter V8. Later in the model run, a 3.3-liter inline-six and a 5.0-liter V8 were also added to the lineup. These engines were paired with either a three-speed manual transmission or a three-speed automatic transmission.
The 2.8-liter inline-six produced 105 horsepower and 158 lb-ft of torque, while the 4.7-liter V8 produced 170 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque. The later 3.3-liter inline-six produced 150 horsepower and 223 lb-ft of torque, and the 5.0-liter V8 produced 205 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque.
The first-generation Bronco also featured four-wheel drive as standard equipment, with a manual transfer case allowing the driver to select between high and low ranges. The Bronco’s four-wheel drive system was well-regarded for its durability and off-road capability, with features like locking front hubs and a limited-slip rear differential helping to provide traction in a variety of conditions.
The first-generation Ford Bronco wagon was introduced in 1966 and was designed as a versatile and rugged vehicle for both on and off-road use. The body of the Bronco was built with a steel frame and a body-on-frame construction, which provided excellent durability and strength.
The Bronco wagon featured a two-door body style with a removable hardtop or soft top. The top could be removed by unbolting it from the body, allowing drivers to enjoy the open air and sunshine while driving off-road. The body also featured removable doors and fold-down windshield, which further increased the Bronco’s versatility.
The overall design of the Bronco was relatively simple, with clean lines and a boxy shape that emphasized its rugged capabilities. The front grille featured a classic Ford design with the Bronco nameplate emblazoned across the center. The Bronco wagon was available in several different colors, including classic hues like Wimbledon White and Raven Black, as well as more vibrant colors like Rangoon Red and Emberglo.
The interior of the Bronco was spartan but functional, with a simple dashboard layout and basic controls. The seats were covered in vinyl or cloth upholstery and could be configured in several different ways to accommodate passengers or cargo.
The first-generation Ford Bronco wagon was offered in several different trim levels during its production run from 1966 to 1977. Here are some of the most notable trim levels:
- Bronco: The base model Bronco was relatively spartan, with few amenities beyond the basics like vinyl seats and a heater. It was available with either a six-cylinder or V8 engine.
- Sport: The Sport trim level added several cosmetic upgrades, including chrome bumpers and exterior trim, as well as more comfortable bucket seats in the interior.
- Ranger: The Ranger trim level added even more comfort and convenience features, including full carpeting, a glove box, and a cigarette lighter. The Ranger also featured upgraded interior and exterior trim, as well as a more powerful V8 engine.
- Explorer: The Explorer was the top-of-the-line Bronco trim level and featured even more luxury features, such as woodgrain interior trim and a tachometer. The Explorer also featured upgraded suspension components for improved off-road performance.
In addition to these main trim levels, Ford also offered several special-edition models during the Bronco’s production run, including the Baja Bronco and the Stroppe Baja Bronco. These special editions were designed for off-road racing and featured upgrades like reinforced frames, roll cages, and high-performance engines.
The first-generation Ford Bronco wagon was a popular vehicle during its production run from 1966 to 1977. However, Ford did not release sales figures for individual models during this time period, so it is difficult to estimate exactly how many Bronco wagons were sold.
That being said, the Ford Bronco was a successful vehicle for Ford, and it was a popular choice among off-road enthusiasts and outdoor enthusiasts. Its compact size, rugged construction, and off-road capabilities made it well-suited for exploring the great outdoors, and it quickly became a favorite of outdoors enthusiasts and adventurers.
The Bronco also gained a reputation for reliability and durability, which further enhanced its popularity among off-road enthusiasts. Today, the first-generation Bronco wagon is a highly sought-after vehicle among collectors and enthusiasts, with prices for well-preserved examples often reaching into the tens of thousands of dollars.
The first-generation Ford Bronco wagon was a popular vehicle for off-road racing and was used by many drivers and teams in a variety of competitions. Here are some of the most notable racing achievements of the first-generation Bronco:
Baja 1000: The Baja 1000 is one of the most famous off-road races in the world, and the first-generation Bronco wagon has a long history of success in the event. In 1969, driver Vic Hickey and co-driver Rod Hall won the race in a modified Bronco, and the vehicle went on to win the race several more times over the years.
Mint 400: The Mint 400 is another famous off-road race, and the first-generation Bronco has also had success in this event. In 1971, driver Bill Stroppe and co-driver Mike Fairbairn won the race in a modified Bronco, and the vehicle went on to win the race again in 1972 and 1973.
SCORE International Off-Road Racing: The first-generation Bronco also had success in the SCORE International Off-Road Racing series, winning several events over the years. In 1973, driver Parnelli Jones and co-driver Bill Stroppe won the series championship in a modified Bronco.
Trans-Am Series: The first-generation Bronco was also used in the Trans-Am Series, a road racing championship in the United States. In 1969, driver Dan Gurney raced a modified Bronco in the series, finishing in sixth place overall in the championship standings.