AutoFair Showcases Three Decades of the Ford Bronco with Anniversary Preview
Amid rumors of its possible return to the showroom, Ford's beloved Bronco sport-utility vehicle will be commemorated during a special display in the Nationwide Showcase Pavilion during the Sept. 24-27 AutoFair at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Trucks in the exhibit will include a Bill Stroppe Baja edition, a freshly restored classic Bronco, and the Screamin' Demon—a 1966 model updated with a Ford Mustang powertrain.
Tom Broberg, co-publisher and co-owner of Bronco Driver magazine, will display his publication's Screamin' Demon project at AutoFair. The truck is a first-year Bronco, wearing Ford's Screaming Yellow paint, and powered by a 2007 Mustang V-8 engine hooked to an automatic transmission. The 300-horsepower, four-wheel-drive Screamin' Demon has reached 110 mph, gets 20 mpg on the highway and can be diagnosed and maintained at any modern Ford dealership.
Ford's original SUV went on sale in August 1965 as a '66 model to compete with Jeep's rugged CJ-5 and International Harvester's Scout. Ford did well against Jeep and IH in the market; even the 1969 introduction of Chevrolet's larger, truck-based Blazer did not hurt the Bronco, whose annual sales through the end of 1977 fluctuated between 12,000 and 22,000 units.
The brief second-generation Bronco ran for model years 1978 and '79, notable for its improved road comfort and larger chassis. Borrowing heavily from Ford's truck parts inventory, the Bronco was essentially a short-wheelbase F-100 pickup with a wagon body. One notable addition to the Bronco recipe was a station wagon-like tailgate that housed a powered rear window.
Broncos received their own styling once again with the 1980-'86 models. The third generation's most significant mechanical improvement was a switch to a true independent front suspension for greater ride comfort and handling. The Bronco received a more aerodynamic body for its 1987-'91 version. Another effort to increase gas mileage was the addition of electronic fuel injection to the entire line in 1988 and an optional five-speed manual transmission for the base six-cylinder and V-8 engines.
Ford redesigned the fifth generation of 1992-'96 Broncos with more safety features, including driver-side airbags, car-like front "crumple zones," shoulder belts for rear seat passengers, and center high-mount stop lamps built into to the hard top.
In 1997, the Bronco was replaced in Ford's lineup by the Expedition but public demand for a Bronco revival has been strong. In 2004, Ford unveiled a Bronco concept with a 21st century twist, such as a four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine and six-speed manual transmission, but the idea never saw production. Last month, however, business journals and national newspapers began reporting that Ford was considering a Bronco and mid-size Ranger pickup line at its Wayne, Michigan, factory.
Fans can see the Bronco display along with a NASCAR Hall of Famer vehicle exhibition, a collection of NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon's personal and racing vehicles, an extra-terrestrial vehicle and more inside the Nationwide Showcase Pavilion.
The AutoFair features more than 50 car club displays and more than 7,000 vendor spaces offering an array of automotive parts and memorabilia. More than 1,500 collectible vehicles of all makes and models will be available for sale in the car corral that rings the 1.5-mile superspeedway.
Hours for the Sept. 24-27 AutoFair are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday. Ticket prices are $11 per day (including tax) for adults and children 13 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Fans who buy three tickets get the fourth day free. Parking for the event is $5. For more information on the four-day event, contact the speedway events department at (704) 455-3205 or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.
To purchase single-day tickets or four day passes, fans should call the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or the website.
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