Images are from the brochure collection of Hemmings Motor News
It was a half-century ago, 1966, when Ford took a chance on creating an International Scout- or Jeep-like on/off road “all-purpose vehicle” that would quickly come to dominate the burgeoning 4 x 4/sport-utility category that took off in the 1970s. This truck was initially available in open-top, no-doors, folding windshield Roadster form, as a pickup-style Sports Utility with doors and roll-up windows, and as a Station Wagon, with a full-length steel roof and opening rear window. The roofs of both the Sport Utility and Station wagon could be removed.
It was powered by a 105 hp, 170-cu.in. straight-six mated to a three-speed manual with standard four wheel-drive. A 200 hp, 289-cu.in. V-8 became available in March 1966. The Sports Utility was renamed the Pickup for 1967, while the Station Wagon became the Wagon. A new instrument panel improved interior safety for 1968, the last year the Roadster was offered. Strengthened bodies were used in 1969, the year that upscale “Sport” trim levels were added, while only minor changes appeared in 1970. The famous Bill Stroppe and Associates “Baja Bronco” introduced in 1971 had numerous key modifications to improve its off-road prowess and appearance.
When this brochure was printed for the 1972 model year, Ford was emphasizing the all-terrain abilities of the Bronco and Bronco Sport, noting their free-running front hubs and sturdy, smooth-riding Mono-Beam front suspension. The straight-six engine, now net-rated at 82 hp, was not available in California, where the otherwise optional 139 hp, 302-cu.in. V-8 was standard equipment. Prices ranged from $3,538 (roughly $20,360 today) for the Pickup and $3,712 (~$21,362)for the Wagon, to $6,156.35 (~$35,429)for the Baja Bronco.
This generation of Bronco would remain available through 1977. Ford’s proto-SUVs remain hugely popular today, even inspiring the exclusive resto-modded ICON Br. Have you ever driven a first-generation Bronco?
Click on the brochure images below to enlarge.