One of the most anticipated vehicles right now is the 2021 Ford Bronco. Ever since its discontinuation, the desire for a Bronco has been percolating, and each new nugget of information has only stoked the car community’s desire for a 21st century Bronco. That all being said, the official release of the 2021 Bronco is nigh, and the special edition Bronco R could be the closest glimpse we’ve seen yet of the upcoming full-size Bronco.
While this is a special edition vehicle that isn’t guaranteed to be fully representative of the production version, it’s still the best look at a new Bronco we’ve had yet. If anything, the Bronco R looks eerily familiar to plenty of those renders that’ve been floating around.
The Bronco R is both an interesting special edition vehicle in its own right and an exciting glimpse of the 2021 Bronco. This vehicle’s release is certainly a sign that things are ramping up with Ford.
Up to this point, the closest views of the upcoming Bronco we’ve seen have been camouflaged test mules. There is an image of the smaller Bronco Scout’s frame, but beyond that, it’s been radio silence. This Bronco R, on the other hand, is right out there in the open. Premiering at SEMA 2019, the Bronco R is in many ways the first real look we’ve ever gotten of the 2021 Bronco.
The Bronco R's Background
The Bronco R is first and foremost a Baja-conquering trophy truck. Intended to compete in the Baja 1,000, this special Bronco is built to speed over some of the roughest terrain at high velocity.
The Bronco has a storied history running the Baja 1,000. The Bronco R’s release marks the 50th anniversary of the Bronco’s iconic Baja victory in 1969. In some of the side by side photos, the evolution of the Ford Bronco is clear. While both share the same simple, boxy build, the Bronco R has many bits and pieces of modern design. It’s certainly inspired by its past while not remaining a carbon copy (or throwing out the playbook entirely like the unfortunate new Chevy Blazer).
This truck though does seem to be mostly representative of the 2021 Bronco. Regardless of the modifications made for the Baja race, the rough underpinnings of the vehicle are likely going to make an appearance on the production models. The lightweight bodywork on the R is ostensibly for the Baja race alone, but there is plenty to learn about from this Bronco.
What is the Bronco R?
Let’s take a look at what the Bronco R itself has to offer. This race truck was built on the T6 architecture which is the underpinning of the Ranger. This, in turn, comes with an independent rear suspension which has been hinted at before.
While the exact engine powering the Bronco R isn’t specified, it is known that it has twin turbos. The 3.5L EcoBoost engine is expected to be offered on the 2021 Bronco, which does dovetail with this Bronco’s use of forced induction.
Given that the Bronco R is meant to run the Baja 1,000, it comes with enough light bars to illuminate a sports stadium and burly 37-inch tires. Supporting those massive these tires is a fine-tuned suspension system. The Bronco R has 14 inches of suspension travel in the front and 18 in the rear.
Inside this Bronco’s spartan cockpit are two Recaro racing shell seats. These are absolutely necessary as Baja drivers can be racing for up to 20 hours!
Ford vehicles are no strangers to the desert. The Raptor has been a Baja mainstay since its release, and special editions like the 2018 Baja Shelby Raptor have really made some havoc in the desert.
Sources: Motor1 | Car and Driver