What is the Centurion Classic?Last Updated August 4, 2019 | Sam Padgett
While Ford was a tad late to the SUV game as we know it now, they inadvertently paved the way for the large vehicles that we see on the roads today. Ford didn’t really push these boundaries themselves, rather they provided the tools for a truck conversion company, Centurion, to build the prototype for the large three-rowed luxurious and rugged family movers that we now take for granted.
This vehicle, in particular, is the Centurion Classic. This vehicle is a combination of an F series truck with a Bronco. Unlike other car splices that you may have seen online (the ones that make Frankenstein's monster look well put together), the Centurion vehicles are effectively their own thing. The F series trucks and the Bronco did share the same platform during the time the Centurion was being produced, so they weren’t that dissimilar to begin with.
A Four Door Bronco?
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. Both of the F series trucks used for half of the Centurion Classic would be crew cabs in order to provide the larger interior space.
Many people simply call both the C150 and the C350 a four-door Bronco, which, to be fair, may prove to be confusing upon the release of the 2021 Bronco and its possible four-door configuration option.
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
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 make-shift 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! Think about that, you could lay on a bed, drinking a cold beverage while watching a VHS movie from the back of a Bronco and an F-150. The Centurion Classic really had it all.
The Centurion is more than just some odd conversion based off of 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.
Larger vehicles are in right now, and the sedan apocalypse is in full swing. Even with the new Ford Expedition approaching a six-figure MSRP when fully-loaded, it's unclear how much longer the market can sustain these massive and pricey SUVs. Who knows, after the 2021 Bronco, maybe we'll see the 2022 Ford Excursion?
The Centurion Classic was an odd vehicle made from the bodies of both a second generation Bronco and an F-series truck. This interesting amalgam not only was an early example of large luxury SUVs, but it also was a vehicle not officially made by Ford themselves.
This bold red truck has become a cult classic. The Dodge Lil’ Red Express was a symbol of American muscle during a time marked by vehicular austerity and modesty.
This F-150, born in Detroit and dressed in Milwaukee, is a product of a collaboration between Ford Motors and Harley Davidson. Since being on hiatus since 2012, this wonderfully American combo is back with a 2019 model. All in all, this truck is the perfect vehicle for the Harley fan who, like most people, needs a good truck every now and then.
The Baja Bronco was a limited run first-generation Ford Bronco built by Bill Stroppe. These classic Broncos are rare and only 450-650 were ever manufactured.