1966 Ford Bronco

The Bronco is back but, no surprise, I vastly prefer the originals.  This outstanding first-generation example in Grabber Blue dates to the very beginning, 1966:

Ford Motor Company launched the 1966 automotive year in August of ’65 by unveiling a completely new line of 4-wheel-drive utility vehicles called Broncos. Designed to operate on or off the highway, the Bronco was available in an open roadster, a fully enclosed roomy wagon, and this short-roof utility model.

It was described as looking much like the jeeps that Ford built 250,000 of during World War II.  Initially powered by a 6-cylinder 170-ci 105-hp engine with a 3-speed manual synchronized transmission, the 289 V8 became an option within a matter of months. A three-passenger bench seat was standard, but options included twin bucket seats and a rear two-person bench seat.

March of 1966 advertisement for a Bronco with a 289 V8.

Contemporary news sources referred to the Bronco as the Mustang’s little brother which, frankly, didn’t make much sense until I found an explanation by Donald Frey, Ford Division General Manager, who said, “The Ford Bronco has been designed to join the Mustang in providing modern, active Americans with driving adventure as well as practical transportation.” Frey and Ford correctly predicted that utility vehicles were gaining in popularity with Americans, cars that could “serve as a family sedan, a sports roadster, a snowplow, or as a farm or civil defense vehicle.”  Sure, but you would also look pretty cool tooling around in this: