|2020 FORD BRONCO 2-Door Current Renderings|
Gary Newsome, Editor
FORD BRONCO FIRST OFFERED DURING THE 1965 MODEL YEAR
NEW FORD BRONCO TO BE UNLEASHED IN 2020, FIRST ANNOUNCED HERE
FORD HAS RACED THE Bronco INTO THE RANGER SINCE THE EARLY STROPPE DAYS AND CONTINUE TO RACE THE GREATEST OFF-ROAD EVENT IN THE WORLD TODAY, DAKAR
|2020 FORD BRONCO 4-Door Current Renderings|
In 1965, two early examples of the Bronco were delivered to Long Beach, California, at racecar builder Bill Stroppe's shop, who was a legend for his success fabricating race machines of all types. "Bill Stroppe was very much like the Carroll Shelby of the Bronco world," says Bronco historian Todd Zuercher, who also owns an original Stroppe racing Bronco.
In the mid-1960s, off-road racing was in its infancy. Before most Americans had ever seen a Bronco, Bill Stroppe had won at an off-road race in Riverside, California and campaigned the Bronco in the very first Baja NORRA Mexican 1000 in 1967. But it was when Stroppe teamed up with his old friend, famed driver and veteran Indy 500 racer Parnelli Jones, that Ford began to dominate off-road racing with the Bronco.
"I think the Bronco's stout drivetrain really lent itself to the rigors of off-road racing," says Zuercher. "I'd much rather race down the Baja peninsula in a Bronco than a Jeep CJ-5 just from a ride and handling standpoint." The first Broncos Stroppe built and raced with Jones were nearly stock, but Jones' aggressive driving style was rough on the Broncos and he needed something lighter and faster to withstand the rigors of Baja.
The design changes forced the Big Oly to be born. "The Big Oly" (named for sponsor Olympia Beer) was a pure chrome tube-frame race machine with far more suspension travel than a stock Bronco. Under the hood was a 351 cid V8 with almost 400 horsepower.
The Big Oly Bronco was a radical departure for off-road racing vehicles, and it influenced the direction of the sport for years to come. Stroppe and Jones campaigned the truck from 1970-1974 and took the overall win Baja 1000 in 1971 and 1972.
The Bronco's success in off-road racing inspired Ford to produce around 400 Baja Broncos from 1971-1975, each one painted to match Stroppe's flashy red, white, and blue race team colors.
Today, Baja Broncos are the most desirable of all Bronco models.
More on the racing pedigree of FORD and its OFF-ROAD, downsized, framing, later.
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