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Ford Bronco R concept hints re-born icon

The Ford Bronco R race prototype previews the upcoming production model.

This is the best look yet at the re-born Ford Bronco due to arrive in 2020.

It’s called the Ford Bronco R race prototype and it simultaneously celebrates the 50th anniversary of the original Bronco’s victory in the famous Baja 1000 off-road rally but also gives a glimpse and the design and proportions of the upcoming production model.

The Bronco R prototype will compete in various stages of this year’s Baja 1000 with the Shelby Hall behind the wheel, she is the grand-daughter of the 1969 winner Rod Hall. While there are some obvious race elements - such as the big wheel and tyre package and the rollcage - underneath the prototype features the same Ranger T6 platform the production Bronco will utilise. 

While based on the same underpinnings as the Australian-developed Ranger, the Bronco won’t be a rebadged Everest - as the look at the Bronco R silhouette makes clear. Ford is giving it a unique look more reminiscent of the original.

That’s because Ford also wants to use the event a test for the production parts ahead of its unveiling in the first half of 2020.

“Bronco’s win at Baja in 1969 was epic, something that even after 50 years has not been repeated,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford chief product development and purchasing officer. “Rugged endurance racing is such a big part of Bronco heritage. The Baja 1000 gives us not only the perfect setting to honor Rod Hall’s win, it also provides an authentic test bed to demonstrate our upcoming Bronco’s desert racing capability and durability.” 

Ford is adding the Bronco and Ranger ute to its US line-up to compete against the Jeep Wrangler, sitting beneath its already popular Explorer SUV and F-Series pick-ups.

The Bronco is expected to be powered by Ford’s 2.3-litre EcoBoost turbo-petrol engine mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission

Unfortunately for Australian Ford fans, despite spy photographs revealing the Bronco has been tested locally with T6 engineers, there has been no official word that it will be built in right-hand drive.