What Is the Centurion Classic?

What Is the Centurion Classic?

Last Updated August 8, 2023 | Andrew Boyle

Though Ford didn't produce a four-door SUV until much later, Centurion took it upon themselves to create one. The Ford Centurion Classic combined a Bronco with an F-series pickup, creating a three-row luxury-packed SUV. This combination worked incredibly well, and it wasn't long before Ford discontinued the Bronco in favor of creating its own massive SUVs, effectively killing the Centurion.

Because the Bronco and the F-Series pickups shared a platform during the Bronco's final generation, they were perfect candidates for a fusion that looked OEM.

A Four Door Bronco?

C15 Centurion Classic SUV

The Centurion Classic was produced from 1987 until 1996 when the Bronco was dropped by Ford. There were two models of Centurion Classic: The C150 and the C350, which used an F-150 and an F-350 respectively. Regardless of which model F-series was used, it needed to be the Crew Cab configuration in order to provide the additional interior space that was needed.

The C150 and C350 look like four-doored Broncos. People responded well to this design and many have noted that it simply "looks right." Perhaps that's what has provided the inspiration for Ford's rumored four-door Bronco in 2021?

Centurion saw the market for a larger vehicle at the time, and while Ford wasn’t interested in competing with the Chevy Suburban at the time, Centurion was willing to take up the charge.

Centurion Classic: More Than the Sum of Its Parts

Centurion Classic SUV Conversion

There were a few changes to make the Centurion Classic more than just the sum of two Ford vehicles. Though this wasn’t the case for the early models, the later models of the C150 and the C350 replaced a lot of the fiberglass components of the Bronco with stronger steel.

The only engines that were offered on the Centurion Classic were various V8 engines. The C150 came with either a 5.0L or a 5.8L V8 engine while the C350 came with a 7.3L or a 7.5L V8 engine.

The interior had three rows of seating, the first two rows being captain’s style chairs while the third row was a bench. That third-row bench could be folded down into a makeshift bed as well. Even though the SUV became a serious trend, trunk beds have yet to catch on.

Large and In Charge: An Early Luxury SUV

There were plenty of other interior amenities on the Centurion as well. Both models came with a CB radio, a TV and VHS player, and interestingly enough, a cooler! The Centurion Classic really had it all.

The Centurion is more than just some odd conversion based on Ford vehicles. This vehicle in many ways set the stage for the large SUVs that we see on the roads today. In a sense, the Centurion Classic C350 is the unofficial predecessor to the Ford Excursion. Even though the Excursion was only around for a brief stint, other vehicles like the Cadillac Escalade and the GMC Yukon bear striking similarities to the Centurion Classic.

The Centurion classic is an odd footnote in the history of Ford trucks. Looking back, it's interesting that Ford (or any automaker for that matter) would hesitate to create a vehicle themselves that filled the role of the Classic.

Image Credit: Creative Commons

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