Yes, cars do change over the decades, especially so SUVs, as this pairing a half century apart makes rather obvious. The gen1 Bronco was arguably the progenitor of this CRV.
The sun got into this picture, but it shows the stark contrast between this gen1 Bronco and a current Honda CRV from the back too.
The Bronco can rightfully be called the first civilized compact SUV, as its new coil-spring front suspension rode more comfortably than the IH Scout’s leaf spring front axle, never mind the Jeep’s. The difference may not have been really big, but it clearly showed the direction the market was going: away from bone-shaking work machines to vehicles that could be used by an increasing number of buyers as a primary car. It bridged the gap between the passenger car and the Jeep better at the time than anything else, although I’m sure one or more Scout fans will chime in to differ.
The base 170 inch six in the Bronco was a curious choice, as it really was a bit weak-chested, but then Scouts and Jeeps were still fielding rough and tumble fours at the time, so certainly it was a whole lot smoother. And the optional 302 V8 was in a league of its own, in terms of being light-weight and smooth-running. The Bronco’s coil spring is clearly visible here. It offered better articulation too than a leaf spring axle, which is why it’s so unusual to find a gen1 Bronco that hasn’t been turned into a mud-hopper.
It’s a bit hard to tell from this shot, but the Bronco’s interior also showed an effort to civilize the military-grade interior of the Jeep and base Scout.
And then there’s those recycled Ford passenger car wheel covers. A glimpse of the future, but who in 1968 would have thought compact SUVs would be the best selling vehicles in 2018?
Great find Paul. I’d take the Bronco.
Not sure if you have a licenced version of Photoshop. By using the ‘Actions’ palette, you can pre-set a number of photo adjustments in advance. For example, to quickly brighten and sharpen a set of images in a folder. There is a good Photoshop ‘Actions’ tutorial here:
I very quickly tweaked your images here… Nice find.
I use Ribbet.com,less $’s.less options but does a good job and easy to use.
GIMP is free, though the interface isn’t great
Seems very ironic that Ford would have one of the most advanced/civilized early SUVs on the market. Yet, it took them 10 years to refresh the design.
And that refresh put him out of the “compact” class, which was why it took so long ; the big Bronco was ready for 1974 or ’75 but delayed in response to the first oil crisis.
Trucks in general didn’t go for the usual 3-5 year cycle for changes. Some ran the same basic design for 10, 15, and maybe even 20 years. It was a crowd that didn’t look for newness or sophistication. Since my thing is Rangers, I find it comforting that they were mostly the same during their production run. I know what is interchangeable and what to look for maintenance wise.
I really miss the simplicity of these rigs. I don’t care for (p)leather. Or connectivity or screens. A phone can do that. The stock tape deck in my ’93 Ranger quit working a year ago, so I pulled it out. Oddly, I don’t mind the silence. I like rubber floor mats.Sometime soon I want to find me a Bronco II.
I identified with these first Broncos immediately partly because of my father’s new 66 Country Squire. Shared wheelcovers made the family resemblance clear. I still feel like a kid when I see an unmolested early Bronco.
I found it funny that Ford kept those 1966 sedan wheelcovers in production for the entire life of the Gen1 Bronco. I never thought of this until now, but what a great way to amortize the part that perfectly fit the Bronco’s front hubs – put them on a Galaxie 500 for a year and stamp them out by the hundreds of thousands.
That Bronco is a really nice survivor, a true CC. It seems to be quite a factory-loaded example, too. Besides the Galaxie 500 wheel covers and whitewall (!) tires, it also has dual gas tanks, along with the 302/auto drivetrain and what appears to be a factory center console. Strangely, though, there’s what appears to be a radio block-off plate. With all that other stuff, you’d think it would have come from the factory with at least an AM radio.
But maybe, back in the day, first gen Broncos (and Ford trucks, in general) didn’t come that way, instead letting the stealership make a few extra bucks by installing their own, craptacular radios. You know, the ones that didn’t even have push-button tuning.
Those wheel covers were also used on well- trimmed F-100 and F-150 trucks until 1970, In 1971 the pickups started using the new full-size car wheel covers, which were modified in 1977 without the pop-out center caps, then used until to at least 1986. Interestingly enough, these same wheel covers were also further modified to fit the larger diameter F-250 wheels as well.
20 years from now that bronco is still going to be on the road but that new suv will be long gone
I never noticed how the steering column is positioned on these. It pops right through the middle of the dash. Looks kind of akward to my eyes. This is my favorite generation of Broncos though.
Gas is only $3.19 a gallon up there.
Here in NW New Mexico premium gas is $3.15 a gallon as of this moment (regular is $2.75)
It might be argued that a better example of the first compact SUV was the 1960 Toyota J40 Land Cruiser, if for no other reason than it was made by the same company that later introduced what many consider to be the first ‘modern’ CUV: the 1994 RAV4.
Really, though, the J40, Bronco, et al, aren’t technically CUVs, at all, because, unlike the RAV4 and its car-based ilk, all of the earlier vehicles, while small, had rough-riding, true off-road truck suspensions.
Wow, you sure found two great examples of the changes of SUVs! The Bronco seems so simple and the Honda so sophisticated. As usual my tastes are in the middle. I could work on the Bronco myself VS never having anything break on the Honda. Given one or the other I would sell the Honda, buy the Bronco and the rest to the bank.
It’s just about Wrangler sized – If you put a modern 2-door Wrangler next to it, the size and overall shape would look almost identical with many of the same “civility” upgrades. I guess that’s more to do with the fact that the Wrangler on purpose tries to carry the 75yr old look forward than any sop to progress.
The CR-V’s true equivalent in the 1966 Ford line is the Fairlane wagon, not the Bronco.
More like the Falcon wagon, given that both are compact vehicles. Honda’s midsize is the Pilot.
If we’re talking 1966 and after, the Falcon and Fairlane wagons were the same size. I believe the front clip was the only difference; the wheelbases, and the bodies from the cowl rearward, were identical.
That’s a fascinating tidbit which makes perfect sense, particularly as the ’66-’67 Falcon and Fairlane 2-door sedans had an identical center section. Ford was really playing some games with their compacts and intermediates back then.
And imagine the disdain someone might feel if they bought a strippo Fairlane wagon, only to discover they could have saved some coin by getting a nearly identical Falcon wagon (at least on the inside).
You’re absolutely right; I forgot about that. My mind was focused on first-gen Falcons and Fairlanes for some reason. The ’66-70 Ranchero and wagon occupied a WB in between standard Falcons and Fairlanes.
That is an incredibly original first -gen Bronco! Well used, but for it’s age, a well cared for survivor. It’s worth a CC write up in itself!
Excellent find, Paul!
Having driven both; I’d rather have the CRV as a daily driver.
A matching set of Bronco Half Cabs parked on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica last Christmas.
And more Bronco:
That’s some good Broncin’…
Those are actually Bronco Sports/Utility the first combination of the Sport and Utility I’ve seen any any marketing of any vehicle of this type. The Version featured in this post is the Wagon.
As you expected I’d say that the Scout was the first civilized 4wd. It was marketed as a car and while it is not quite as nice riding as the original Bronco but it was light years ahead of the Jeep in refinement and car like qualities. It was intended and marketed as a car, an alternative to the other compact cars like the Falcon and Valiant that was more versatile.
That said the Bronco was a significant step forward compared to Scout 80 and many of the changes to create the Scout 800 were a direct response to the Bronco, particularly the major engineering and tooling required to fit in a V8.
A 1966 Bronco was my daily driver from 1998-2002. I loved it, nothing made me happier than driving it after a stressful day at work. the steering clutching and shifting was better than working out at the gym. it was like driving a brick, and it took a long time to brake, so you had to think way ahead. And nothing reminded me to drive safely more than that long solid steering shaft that ran from the front axle straight toward my heart. it went in snow when none of my other vehicles would, but ironically, i usually only drove it on dry sunny days. Underneath it had more nooks and crannies than an english muffin and you can only bondo so much before it became unroadworthy. it got a lot of attention, and everyone wanted to talk to me about it. Once a cop stopped me just because he missed the one he used to have and wanted to have a good look. I wrote a top ten list of why i loved it: #1 it matches my rumpled suits.
My Mother’s father had one as his “winter” vehicle so he wouldn’t have to drive his Mustang in the winter. That Bronco was still around come the blizzard of 76 in NW Ohio but after he passed (April 77) my Grandmother quickly sold it off, at that point the tin worm had gotten to it.
It seems like so many of that 1st generation were painted that shade of blue.