Ford Bronco: A Wild History
While the 2021 Bronco makes for one thrilling adventure partner, this isn’t its first rodeo. In 1966, this new breed of off-road vehicle stampeded onto the scene and into wild hearts everywhere, setting the mold for the modern SUV.
Generation 3: Comfort Upgrade
From the Trail to the Interstate
The third generation of Bronco was lighter, more fuel efficient, and had more interior options than ever, yet Bronco never strayed from its unbridled passion for the wild.
Taming the Wild RideTo create a more comfortable ride, Bronco engineers switched out the solid front axle for an independent front suspension—a first for a full-size sports utility vehicle. The system featured a Twin-Traction Beam, a simple, durable design that also allowed for a lower ride height than Bronco predecessors. But despite the tamer ride, Bronco remained as wild as ever. Ground clearance stayed the same, so it still could take on rough or rocky terrain. ...less
A Lighter Fuel Economy FootprintIn an effort to lower fuel economy, engineers sheared off 500 lbs. from the 1980 Bronco model and reintroduced a 6 cylinder engine and a 302 V8. Generation 3 models also got an exterior design overhaul, sporting a new, more aerodynamic bodystyle. The last major fuel economy-lowering update came in 1985, when a 4-speed automatic OD transmission was introduced along with fuel injection for the 302. Ford’s 302 V-8 led the charge into a new era of engine induction with the introduction of electronic fuel injection for the 1985 model year as the age of the carburetor was rapidly drawing to a close. ...less
Rugged Capability Meets Smart Convenience3rd Generation Bronco made life on the trail a little easier with a variety of new amenities. An updated instrument cluster offered more gauges and, for the first time, an available tachometer. Other game-changing options included auto-locking front hubs, power windows, a CB radio in 1980, and premium stereos in later years. ...less
The Inside Story: Trim Packages
Ranger XLT/XLT LARIATThe luxury version of the 3rd generation XLT took Bronco into high-end territory with a host of premium extras. Highlights included flashy chrome accents, ultra-plush carpeting, color-keyed upholstery and a simulated leather-wrapped steering wheel. ...less
Free-Wheeling PackageThe Free-Wheeling Package helped outdoor enthusiasts answer the call of the wild—in both style and substance. Outside, sporty design elements like pinstripe and striping kits teased adventure-enhancing features like an anti-sway bar, quad front shocks and heavy-duty rear shocks. Inside, the outward-bound story continued with Sport instrumentation and a simulated leather-wrapped steering wheel. ...less
XLS PackageThe 1983 Bronco Brochure stated: “This youth-oriented Bronco is a real head-turner with eye-catching blackout treatment and special XLS tape striping. Black low-mount Western swing-away mirrors and argent-painted styled steel wheels and finishing touches to the unique exterior.” The XLS package is rare among 1982 and 1983 Broncos and highlighted a vehicle treatment that would become more popular in vehicles 25 to 30 years in the future. ...less
Eddie Bauer PackageOne of the most crowd-pleasing and noteworthy packages of the 1980s, Eddie Bauer came on the scene in Generation 3 and lasted through Generation 5. Highlights included its hallmark two-tone paint treatment, special velour upholstery, unique tire carrier, argent-painted styled steel wheels and even Eddie Bauer-branded luggage. ...less