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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

The U260 was a proto-Bronco that deserved to live | Hagerty Media

Automotive enthusiasts and sci-fi fans alike understand the unintended consequences of participating in Bradburian time travel. (Ah, the pitfalls of wandering off our intended path, stepping on our respective butterflies, and permanently altering history!) Alas, if there is one unrealized dream from the early 2000s that deserved to see the showroom floor, it is Ford's U260 Bronco prototype.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/car-design/the-u260-was-a-proto-bronco-that-deserved-to-live/
36 REPLIES 36
Brandan
Hagerty Employee

Thanks for digging this up, Sajeev! I'd never heard of this before.
Sajeev
Community Manager

Happy to do it!  Hopefully I can get more cool stuff like this from manufacturers in the future. 

0luke1
Pit Crew

I was underwhelmed with the new Bronco, bought a 2 door Wrangler instead. This version would have been better.
BuckeyeBinder
New Driver

Looks like a Scout II.
WAB
Intermediate Driver

That was the first thing I thought when I saw it......possibly a cross between a Scout 80 and a Scout II..........
TacoSueno
Pit Crew

beter than that butt ugly heap they call bronco now
JohninNC
Advanced Driver

I sure hope Toyota doesn't do the same thing to the next gen 4runner. Lots of hype, not much meat.
Reinhold_Weege
Advanced Driver

Love reading this kind of content. The links get forwarded to many car-loving friends.

I'm sure you could develop quite a list of mysteries to investigate if you threw the doors open, so I'll start...

1) Let's see some renderings for the next-gen K-based Chrysler sedans that would have been if not for the LH platform.

2) 1998 SVE Thunderbird. Inside scoop on why it didn't happen.

3) What did we miss out on from Olds, Pontiac, Saturn?
Sajeev
Community Manager

I like the K-car idea, I am sure someone had a rendering of a refresh for it. 

 

OldCarMan
Instructor

There were NO further K car derivatives. It was obvious to all that a new platform was needed. In the Advance Studio, we did the BH car. Along the way, we got a new plant in Bramalea Ontario that had good quality and automation...
Forester
Pit Crew

Ok, I just don't get it. When something is so obvious like the Early Bronco design is so popular, why didn't Ford management just do a identical bronco body with modern electronics and drivetrains??? It would be selling like hotcakes, unlike the new bronco isn't selling at all.
Is this a case of "The King Has No clothes"
Help me figure this out.

Capt. Obvious
Rick2
Detailer


It is obvious that the Captain doesn't know that the real new Bronco is not for sale yet.
Forester
Pit Crew

So that small two door Bronco that looks like an Escape is not a REAL Bronco? Hmm, guess I can't read either. Anyway, those aren't selling either.
gtf
Pit Crew

A few facts - the Bronco Sport 2021 is 4 door, not two and through May Ford has sold 52,000. Could have sold more except for building pauses to keep parts flowing for assembly. And yes I own a 2L version and at it's price point it's a pretty good truck - if Ford hadn't said it was in Escape family you would never know from outside. As others pointed out the Bronco hasn't shipped yet. And no I don't work for Ford, but do drive a 65 mustang GT I restored.
Reinhold_Weege
Advanced Driver

Much of what is required for a new vehicle simply doesn't fit within the envelope of the old body. Crash/impact standards wouldn't be attainable within that package either. There must also be economies of scale, e.g., the ability to use some hard parts (like an HVAC box, or turn signal switch) from another vehicle built in greater volumes to achieve a profit. Such parts are obviously not backwards-compatible with something made 50-years earlier. 

Forester
Pit Crew

I think the engineers know how to make new tech fit in old body style. I'm willing to bet it was the front office brain trust that thought they knew better than the buyers. Just look at the mustang. They did it with the 2005. Not that tuff. They just blew it.
MATTMERICA
Instructor

Of course it was the front office, or the C-suite, or whatever you want to call it. Here is the cold hard truth: if old man ford cold be summoned up today he would lay waste to about 90% of ford. He would instantly vaporize the dipsh!ts that killed off all the cars but the mustang and handed those entire segments to the koreans and the japanese. And then they would start building cool stuff - again.
uweschmidt
Detailer

BS
dough
Intermediate Driver

It's painfully clear Ford spent way too much on Public Relations and far too little on design when it comes to the new Bronco.

It. is. just. butt. ugly.

Seriously, I could've drawn its silhouette in third grade.
Balocco
Pit Crew

Pretty cool. Four-door version reminds me of the FJ60 Land Cruiser.
TRAGAR
Pit Crew

Great looking truck and much more appealing than what will soon be available. That said, I can't help but wonder about the aerodynamics of the square tail and upright grill and windshield. Boxy lines are visually appealing and lead to practical interiors, but often get lost in the quest for mpg.
MattK
Detailer

Lol, Sajeev, "A Sound of Thunder." I'm sure Bradbury's novel was better then the Movie.
Sajeev
Community Manager

Never saw the movie, the written work was pretty good and apparently made an impact on me when I was 15. 

Reinhold_Weege
Advanced Driver

Fahrenheit 451 did the same for me at a similar age. That's probably why the newest TV in my house is a 1974 Zenith. 

uweschmidt
Detailer

many years ago I used to sit in on Ford Dealers -Salesmen Meetings (Peptalks) the theme always was YOU get control of the Buyer Or you take the Lead or ask for the Keys of their trade in ( so it can be apprised) and make sure you hang on to them aslong asyou need another one : give em a hot Coffee so they can't leave in a Hurry Point is the whole Car Business consists of " Handling the Masses if nessesary with smoke and Mirrors BS from Ford: they could not bring the Troller to North America (becouse it would be to expensive to build it conforming to NA Environmental Standards Should it not cost roughly the same to make the Troller conform then it would cost for any substitute and if we are ever going to get a handle on the environmental problems we have should'n everything be built to thesame high standards of environmental concerns, safety and reliability or are some conidered children of a lesser GOD
Maestro1
Instructor

Sajeev, well done.
It's the Bronco that should have been made instead of the nightmare currently in the market. And I can live without the interior design, although it's very interesting that it made it into a Nissan. Both Ford and Chevrolet are tied for first place in Ugly
Sajeev
Community Manager

I think the Bronco that's coming any day/week/month now is just as good as the U260, maybe even better. The Bronco Sport isn't for purists, and its unfortunate it made production before the "real" one. 

WAB
Intermediate Driver

Not a Ford guy....the Bronco Sport looked good in pictures........in the real world it looks too much like a square tiny crossover........Hope the big one looks better....now if GM would only build a 2 door Blazer / Tahoe........oh that's right they wasted the Blazer brand on a 4 door ladies car / crossover......darn
MATTMERICA
Instructor

Typical ford though, would you expect anything less? This is the company who literally gave away the entire passenger car market to anybody who wanted it, and of course kia and toyota have been the biggest beneficiaries. Ford succeeds despite their best efforts.
DublD
Intermediate Driver

Love that nose on this thing, definitely should have been produced. Yesterday I walked up to the new Bronco Sport, and I felt nothing, felt so disappointed. How can the same company that captured the essence of the Mustang so beautifully, have missed the mark on the RetroBird, and now the Bronco? The new Bronco may be a very capable on and off road vehicle, but it looks so passive in real-life.....
chrlsful
Instructor

I see the genesis for John's frnt end over at ICON in these grills.

Also see nothing wrong w/a continuously produced bronk (they went onto 2nd gen & B II, Y not keep going after '96?). I guess I'm not corporate when I say there should be continually produced small niche market vehicles (hi loyalty, hi R&D, customer driven) funded by other endeavors (not even automotive - we saw GM change to a financial co) such as - huge production of fleet, affordable, general market vehicles (inc EVs). Ford needs to cont the ol "halo" production as chebby did w/up-level cadillac (challenged beemer, MB, etc) & the vette.
CitationMan
Instructor

The appeal of the U260 is it’s simple, honest design, which unfortunately does not fit into our current culture. The masses want big, bad, look-at-me trucks. Maybe the new Ford Maverick will be closer to the simplicity of the U260 design, but I have my doubts. 

SuperDeLuxe
Detailer

Too bad the top management at Ford don't read these posts, they would discover the new Bronco is a disaster. Oh wait, it seems Ford is production is up +15% over last year. Maybe they should cancel it and start over with suggestions found here?
uweschmidt
Detailer

BRONCO !! Ihad several one 1985 threw out the Passenger (no bottom end) car engine that came with it installed a 2.2 ltr Diesel from a Mazda put a turbo on it and that was the best vehicle I ever owned And I had Many its still unning and has over a Million ks on it (new owner loves it) Mind you it took 3 rejuvenated engines to do it it even pulled my portable Sawmill over Hill and Dale the basic Mazda was 58 hp ( real useable HP mind you) not modern BS PONY HP for anyone that might not know 1HP is 33000 ft pounds a minute and that is a lot of Power modern HP at some ridicoulous RPM is hardly ever useable
SJ
Advanced Driver

Interesting, I owned a '71 Sport for 17 years, so anything Bronco interests me.
ctaarman
Intermediate Driver

If Ford really wants to make Bronco customizable, they will release the control firmware and bus interfaces for the Bronco. But don't hold your breath. Fourth and Fifth generation low mileage Mustangs are starting to see main computer failures. Ford doesn't offer replacements for most, but no aftermarket maker can duplicate them without the code, which Ford won't release. Jags and RR's whose computer controls were designed under the same regime are also seeing failures which totally prevent the vehicle from operating.

And don't expect the current US administration to force automakers to release code even when automakers no longer offer replacement parts It is happy to see otherwise perfectly good gasoline powered cars scrapped to push the electric car agenda.