The vehicle above is a concept many people may have forgotten about. Ford unveiled this Bronco Concept at the 2004 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. At that time, the Bronco had only been gone a handful of years and it generated some serious excitement among Blue Oval off-road fans. It took 16 years for the basic outline of that concept to become reality, but a very different Bronco could've risen from the concept's ashes.
That's the word from Bronco's design boss Paul Wraith. Muscle Cars & Trucks recently spoke with him about the 2021 rebirth, and though there's clearly a strong similarity between the new SUV and the concept, other designs were on the table. Actually, Wraith states the new Bronco isn't derived from the concept despite sharing chunky, boxy proportions. Short overhangs, a flat roof, straight pillars; these are basic elements of the off-roading formula and a side-effect of creating something to conquer rugged terrain. So while the concept had an off-road retro design, it also had definitive futuristic overtones.
The new Bronco wasn't envisioned to be futuristic, and for awhile at least, it also wasn't envisioned to be retro. Wraith says some designs were considered that had no retro flavor at all. Sadly, there aren't any photos or sketches to visualize this approach, but Wraith describes the alternatives as being "really wild" and a "bubbling blob." Take that as you will, but to us, it sounds like organic designs similar to the Ford Escape.
It's been just over a month since the boxy, retro-tastic Bronco officially debuted and frankly, it's difficult to image the off-roader not being square. And with over 165,000 deposits for the Bronco and Bronco Sport already on the books and a possible wait time of 18 months for delivery, it's safe to say we're not the only ones who feel that way.