But also very, very familiar.
Although the coronavirus pandemic has caused a delay for the official debut of the reborn Ford Bronco, the overall excitement for this iconic SUV's return remains as strong as ever. We've already seen some leaked images of the real deal along with a few other accessory-related details, such as a removable roof. It'll even have a manual transmission option. Life's good, ain't it. But it turns out there's something else many of you didn't know: the original 1965 Ford Bronco was nearly named something else. In fact, it's a nameplate we're all very, very familiar with. What was it? Wrangler.
Fox News spoke with Ford archivist Ted Ryan who revealed the Blue Oval considered a number of different names for its original SUV, and Wrangler was one of them.
But wait? Wouldn't that have been a major issue with the Jeep Wrangler, a vehicle that dates back to WWII? Nope, and the reason being is that the Wrangler wasn't called the Wrangler back then, but rather the CJ-5. Jeep didn't begin using the Wrangler nameplate until 1986 with the YJ generation. Ford's product planner at the time, Don Frey, decided against using Wrangler or any other name. Why? Because he wanted to retain the "equine connection" to the one and only Mustang, which debuted at around the same time.
You see, Ford first envisioned the Bronco as a "four-wheel-drive sports car" that would sit side by side to its first-ever pony car in dealerships. Not only did the pairing serve as a major departure from the-then relatively bland Ford model lineup, but also helped to lure younger buyers, a demographic Ford desperately needed at the time.
Needless to say, the plan worked beautifully. The Ford Mustang has since achieved global icon status and the Bronco, until it was discontinued in 1996, retained a deeply loyal following of its own. Pretty soon, nearly 55 years since both vehicles debuted, they'll once again be sold alongside one another.