To revive an icon, Ford should look to the past
Sometimes simple things are the most distinctive—just look at the Ford Bronco. Over 30 years and five generations, its basic shape didn’t change much, always maintaining a squared-off profile that prioritized function over beauty. Still, it worked, and it gained fans around the world. The few aesthetic touches it wore added to its recognition, features that helped build the Bronco legend. If Ford wants its upcoming Bronco revival to succeed, it has to include these styling details.
Spare tire on the back
Beyond the added practicality of carrying a spare tire on the rear cargo door (which might come in handy in the event of a trailside puncture), it just looks cool. Whether or not the driver ever uses it, the spare adds to the Bronco’s outdoorsy charisma and has been a distinct design element since the first generation. What’s more, it makes space for drivers to personalize their vehicle. Ford would be wise to offer a range of tire cover styles, including the classic bucking bronco design that proudly conveyed the vehicle’s name.
Boxy—but not too boxy—shape
The classic Bronco’s design is about as simple as it gets: a box up front for the engine, with a box behind it for people and things. No question that approach would work for the 2021 revival, but too simple might not be a good thing. The look of the original Bronco is timeless, but now is Ford’s chance to bring the model into the modern era, applying its current design language to create something new yet instantly recognizable.
Two-tone paint jobs
We’ve opined that colorful paint increases driving fun, so for a fun-focused car like the Bronco, unconventional paint options are a must. The Bronco has always had a slew of funky pastel and metallic paints on the palette; continuing that tradition would be an easy win for Ford. But optional two-tone paint jobs would take things even further. In the past, Broncos were offered with a contrasting roof or colored trim along the running boards and wheel arches. Color has been part of Bronco tradition from the get-go and has to be in the future, too.
Rad graphics packages
For some drivers, paint alone simply won’t suffice—flamboyant decals are the only way to properly embellish their car. The Bronco has given them some terrific options. Just look at the second-generation Freewheelin’ Edition, which featured bright sunset-tone graphics set against dark brown paint. Or the ’90s-tastic Nite Edition, with a simple teal to purple fade stripe along the side. Special decal packages will make enthusiasts lose it without changing the Bronco’s mechanicals.
What is the Bronco: a pickup, SUV, or convertible? With its trademark removable roof, the Bronco combines all three, establishing its unique place in the market. Given the patent filings we uncovered, Ford will continue that arrangement for 2021. The retractable cloth roof it may offer would be much more practical than the fully removable hard cover it had in the past, allowing quick opening and closing without tools. It would also better position the car against key competitors. After all, what better way to enjoy trail driving than by letting the elements be part of the experience?