Illustration by Ryan OlbryshAutomobile and Driver

Take into account the arc of Ford’s Bronco in 2020. Because the 12 months dawned, it was extremely anticipated. Because the 12 months ends, it stays extremely anticipated. Between then and now, lots occurred. There have been delays, for causes apparent and never so. There have been plans—large ones. Most of these got here collectively. There have been oddities and incongruities, due to course there have been. We do not title a automotive of the 12 months right here, but when one car had a 2o20 of a 12 months, it was the Bronco. A fast look again on the twists and turns.

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The Cowl Story

Our February 2020 cover story dug into what we knew concerning the revived Bronco (plus a number of extremely educated guesses) and commenced with a giant query: “Who has the tougher job: a Disney producer assigned to the Star Wars franchise or a Ford engineer tasked with creating the new Bronco? Efficiently modernizing a timeless traditional means operating a razor-thin line between blasphemy and anachronism. Basking within the heat, rosy glow of nostalgia, legions of die-hards with opinions cemented over a long time stand able to crucify the ultimate product if something is amiss.”

The Rise of Skywalker turned out to be a mess, and so in that individual matchup, Ford’s workforce took an early lead. And as Joey Capparella wrote, all accessible proof at that second advised the Bronco was rounding properly into form. The official reveal was anticipated within the spring. Artist Nick Kaloterakis introduced the preview package deal house with some incredible renderings.


The Leak(s)

On February 9, in response to new spy images, we made one easy request: “Hey Ford, Show Us the Bronco Already.”

In mid-February, we acquired an thought when Ford would officially unwrap the new Bronco household. Automotive Information reported the 2021 Bronco can be launched in March, adopted by the Sport’s reveal in April. Most likely on the New York auto present.

However time and official publicity plans look forward to nobody—so long as that one particular person has a digicam on their cellphone and is keen to take a threat or two to get the shot. (Additionally, generally it is simply good enterprise to get a number of images out into the world, a technique or one other.)

On March 9, photos of the Bronco Sport—the “child Bronco”—appeared on the Bronco Sport Forum. Later that day, photos of the big Bronco popped up on Instagram by way of The Raptor Connection.

And sure, it did look a superb bit just like the renderings that accompanied our cowl story.

Twenty-four years for the reason that final Bronco rolled off the road, and some years since phrase of a revival leaked, a product launch was imminent.


The Oops

The March reveal by no means occurred. Everyone knows why. Auto exhibits have been cancelled. Ford shifted to producing medical supplies. Months handed. And when issues lastly started to tilt ever so barely towards what would really feel like regular in 2020, properly, you needed to really feel for Ford right here.

It introduced the Bronco would lastly lastly be revealed on July 9. Within the midst of a world pandemic, it could not presumably have occurred to anybody concerned to verify and see if July 9 was O.J. Simpson’s birthday. But it was his birthday.

In order that was an issue. We all know why.

On Twitter, Ford said, “The reveal of the all-new Bronco lineup will now occur on Monday, July 13. That is as a substitute of July 9. We’re delicate and respectful to some issues raised beforehand concerning the date, which was purely coincidental.”


The Way of life Model

Do you wish to get dusty? Do you get pleasure from instruments that provide help to get dusty? How about T-shirts and hats celebrating the instruments that provide help to get dusty? Stuff it’s also possible to get dusty.

“Right this moment’s uninspired SUV panorama wants the Bronco ingenuity,” Ford’s soon-to-be CEO Jim Farley said in a July 6 video introducing the Bronco as one thing greater than only a revived badge. Like Martha Stewart and Margaritaville earlier than it, the Bronco was going to grow to be a way of life model.

First we dissected the video for clues concerning the automobiles. Then we dug into the Very Bronco Life that Ford wants you to live, from the “Constructed Wild” advertising tag to 4 off-road parks dubbed Off-Rodeos.

Additionally, merch.

To strengthen the purpose that this was larger than a traditional reveal, and that Ford was aiming for an viewers properly past fanatics, it introduced what’s recognized in advertising circles as a roadblock. Ford teamed with Disney to run the Bronco out on ABC, Hulu, Nat Geo, and ESPN.


The Historical past

Look, one other rendering. This one is from Ford’s archives, and it is one of many Bronco Popemobile ideas designed for Pope John Paul II’s go to to america in 1979.

If you are going to take purpose at Jeep and construct a way of life model within the course of, you possibly can’t begin from scratch. Ford had lots to work with. Why was the brand new Bronco such a giant deal (past Ford’s apparent advertising purpose of producing tons of consideration and piles of cash)? Read on.


The Ready

Possibly you liked Walton Goggins in Justified. Or perhaps you liked him in The Righteous Gems. It may even have been anything Walton Goggins was in. The purpose is, Walton Goggins is nice.

In John Bronco, a 40-minute mockumentary that debuted on Hulu in October, Goggins performs a man pulled from obscurity when Ford decides to make him the face of the Bronco starting within the 1960s. He turns into one of many world’s greatest stars, a pitchman, because the tune says, “minimize from stone/with unbreakable bones/diamonds for eyes/and titanium thighs.”

Tim Meadows co-stars John Bronco’s agent.

For those who’re extra serious about a documentary to assist cross the time earlier than the Broncos arrive, Ford had you lined there, too. Bring Back the Bronco is an eight-episode podcast hosted by Sonari Glinton.

So now it is October and we have had a whole lot of hype, some delays, and, lastly, a multi-channel, multi-platform reveal that generated a ton of pleasure and $15 million price of refundable reservation deposits. All that adopted slightly extra model constructing within the guise of sunshine leisure. However nonetheless no product.


The Nonetheless Ready

See that Bronco there? It is driving off towards a future date when the Broncos will lastly pull into the driveways of all these folks anxiously awaiting their new toy.

In early December, Ford introduced that COVID-related supply chain disruptions would delay the Bronco. Initially scheduled for a spring 2021 launch, the two- and four-door fashions will not arrive till the tip of the summer season. The Sasquatch model with the guide transmission will arrive later nonetheless.

A bummer, to make sure. However while you’re born wild in a wild 12 months, stuff’s going to occur.


The Child Bronco At Final

The availability chain didn’t journey up the Bronco Sport, which you’ve got perhaps already seen on the highway. There are three sitting on a vendor’s lot not removed from the workplace we have not seen in months.

Our first impression? The Sport has earned its badge.

To essentially push it—and herself—round, our columnist Elana Scherr joined up with Ford’s team for the Rebelle Rally. A trek overlaying greater than 1500 miles throughout the mountains and deserts of the Southwest. Additionally, there have been ants. The biting sort.

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