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Parts: 866-418-5048
History of the Ford Bronco | Joe Cotton Ford, Your Local Ford Dealer in Carol Stream, IL

If you are excited as we are about the Ford Bronco coming back you might enjoy a stroll down memory lane.


The rumors are true: the Ford Bronco is coming back!


“We’ve heard our customers loud and clear. They want a new generation of vehicles that are incredibly capable yet fun to drive,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of The Americas. “Bronco will be a no-compromise midsize 4x4 utility for thrill seekers who want to venture way beyond the city.”


The Ford Bronco was first introduced in 1965 as a 1966 model. The original Bronco became an icon of an adventurous lifestyle and off-road capability. Available options during the 10-year production of the first Bronco included a CB radio, an auxiliary gas tank, a power take-off, a winch and a post-hole digger. The Bronco would continue in production for 30 years, seeing a total of five generations, and growing from what was considered in 1966 to be a compact SUV to eventually share height and width specs with the Ford F-150. The Ford Bronco will be manufactured at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, which is the same plant where the 1966 through 1996 models were built.


The rugged new Bronco will be a midsize SUV, and will be part of the global Ford vehicle portfolio in 2020. Before we look forward, let's look back at the Ford Bronco History.


We included the 12 years of the Bronco First Generation Brochures for a reason - hint, hint!!!


Side note: We done some research and can not figure out why '74 -'76 brochures were the same???



1966 Ford Bronco Brochure - Joe Cotton Ford Bronco History1967 Ford Bronco Brochure - Joe Cotton Ford Bronco History
1969 Ford Bronco Brochure - Joe Cotton Ford Bronco History
1970 Ford Bronco Brochure - Joe Cotton Ford Bronco History1971 Ford Bronco Brochure - Joe Cotton Ford Bronco History1972 Ford Bronco Brochure - Joe Cotton Ford Bronco History1973 Ford Bronco Brochure - Joe Cotton Ford Bronco History
1974 Ford Bronco Brochure - Joe Cotton Ford Bronco History1975 Ford Bronco Brochure - Joe Cotton Ford Bronco History1976 Ford Bronco Brochure - Joe Cotton Ford Bronco History1977 Ford Bronco Brochure - Joe Cotton Ford Bronco History

First Generation (1966-1977)

The Bronco was the brain child of the Ford product manager Donald N. Frey in the early 1960s, (a busy guys back then, he also conceived the Ford Mustang), Lee Iacocca approved the final model for production in February 1964. The original 1966 Ford Bronco was an ORV (Off-Road Vehicle), even though the ’66 Bronco brochure says, All Purpose Vehicle. It was intended to compete with the Jeep CJ and the International Harvester Scout.

The four-wheel-drive ‘66 Bronco had a 92-inch wheelbase and was 152.1 inches long. It was powered by a solid-lifter version of Ford's proven 170-cubic-inch overhead-valve six-cylinder engine that developed 105 horsepower at 4,400 rpm.

In 1966, Ford offered 3 body types, including a two-door wagon and half-cab pickup, and open-body roadster. At its $2,194 base price, the Bronco sold approximately 24,000 vehicles the first year.

1969 3 - Bronco body types >

1969 Ford Bronco Research History at Joe Cotton Ford
1966 Ford Bronco Research History Joe Cotton Ford1968_ford_bronco_norra_baja_1000_joecottonfordresearchhistory1972-ford-bronco-researchhistoryatjoecottonford1971-ford-bronco-researchhistoryatjoecottonford



Second Generation (1978-1979)



1978 Ford Bronco - Research our History - Joe Cotton Ford

12 years later, the second generation of the Bronco debuted. The redesign was now a single, three-door model with a removable hardtop. The second generation introduced a new Bronco staple, the rear window that lowered into the door.

1979 Ford Bronco



The long awaited 1978 Ford Bronco was released in mid 1977, it was to popular that many customers had to

wait six months to get one from their local Ford Dealer (like Joe Cotton Ford). Customers weren't the only

ones loving the '78 Bronco, car & truck magazines were singing the praises to, probably why the '78 Bronco

won most of the 4x4 & truck of the year awards.


Third Generation (1980-1986)


The third generation redesign included an actual Ford logo, opposed to the F-O-R-D spelled out that was common amongst Trucks and SUVs at the time. The Bronco now had a six-cylinder engine to complement the capable V-8. The third generation also made the off-road vehicle more compatible for on-road driving. The Ford Bronco II came came along in time to deal with the high prices of gas.

1984 Ford Bronco II

Fourth Generation (1987-1991)

The fourth generation brought few new design elements. It looked like an SUV version of the F-series pickups. However, they did upgrade interior element in order to help the SUV hit its top speed at 100 mph.



Fifth Generation (1992-1996)


This Bronco got rid of the removable hardtop making it a fixed roof. However, many who liked their Bronco to have more truck-like features still gravitated towards the older models.In mid 1996, Ford officially made the decision to discontinue the Bronco. The last Bronco of the 20th Century rolled off the assembly line June 12, 1996 at Michigan's Ford Truck Plant, where the new 2021 Ford Bronco will be built. It was replaced by the Ford Expedition, in hopes it would compete better against the Chevy Tahoe.

Sorry to say but the fifth generation is probably most known for the O.J. Simpson car chase before his arrest.

1996 Ford Eddie Bauer Bronco

Interesting to Know

Ford designed a deployable airbag mechanizm for off - road vehicles with removable doors. 


Ford Patent Shows Airbags for Removable Bronco Doors2021 Ford Bronco removable doors airbags patent


Bronco is coming back, strapped with thrilling power and go-anywhere capability, uniquely equipped to carry true adventure seekers deep into the wild and untamed places their souls long to be. 

 Here’s what we know: Ford is gearing up the Bronco to win over a growing number of people who love spending time outdoors and getting away with their families and friends. This means that the new Bronco – in a new century and decade’s redesign – will have much of the same capability and utility as past Broncos with a new edge that only Ford can provide. What we don’t know is what that edge will be. Ford has many fans, customers, and dealers alike anxiously waiting to see what they have in store for us. Based on images from the Bronco R prototype in its test drive in Jackson Valley, CA the edge will be a beautiful body with an engine like no other. Scroll down to see the prototype and read our thoughts on it.


Prototype - 2021 Ford Bronco
2021 Ford Bronco Research

Dealership Information


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Definitely 5 stars. They made the process of buying a new car easy. They took time helping us choose the car that fit our needs and budget! Rich, Danny, Rick and Mike were the best and huge thank you!! We would highly recommend Joe Cotton Ford!

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Great experience from beginning to end. On their Website, I saw one of their Internet specials advertised, so I went in, set up a test drive, asked my questions, set up financing, and -- only around 3 hours after I'd walked in -- drove away with my new car. The purchase went quickly and efficiently.

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I went in for my 6 month check up as required for my maintenance package. Quite some time passed and I remembered that I needed new wiper blades. I went back and asked if that could be added and my service guy just smiled and added it. It was all covered in my plan. I'm bad at getting names but I have had nothing but great experiences in the dealership and service department. Highly recommend them. Not everyone is perfect, nor does everyone have a good day everyday. I have read the bad reviews and am thankful I have not had the same experiences. Keep up the good work and get these reviews up! 5 star for this household!

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I have been servicing my 07 Navigator L at Cotton since I bought it new. Great service still going strong. Wouldn't take it anywhere else! Service manager Davy Malloy is one of the main reasons that I still service my Ford and Lincoln vehicles at Cotton. Great attention to detail.

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Really like Jason our salesman. No pressure trying to sell us something we didn't want and found our Edge we love it and no problems with it. Like the free 2 yrs service for oil changes. We got 3 and only have 13,000 and its 2 years old. We even went to one of there summer open houses free food etc and won 5 free oil changes!!Well buy our next car or truck there for sure! Fair price great service

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A great experience. The sales team is well versed and very helpful. I will be purchasing all of my vehicles from Joe cotton in the future and would recommend them to anyone looking for a new vehicle.

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Multiple successful visits to their service and parts departments. Great and friendly customer service and fair pricing on every visit. Thank you!

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Always helpful, and good selection of new and used cars

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"Fast, quick and never met nicer people to deal with. I don't believe I will go anywhere else."

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"Best sales and service at Joe Cotton Ford. Best Ford dealership to buy a new or used car. Best price and best service. Employees are all great."

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"Everyone was very kind! I was in and out for an oil change in 45 minutes. Great service :)"

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I've been a customer for nearly 30 years. Most of my business is service now. I think they're honest and forthright people. The auto business is tough and very competitive. Joe Cotton continues to get my business because they know my car very well.

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