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DOES THIS CONCEPT HIDE THE FORD BRONCO RAPTOR?

A Lift, 37-Inch Tires, And Unique Looks Have Us Thinking

2023 Ford Bronco Raptor
Photo copyright Manoli Katakis, Muscle Cars & Trucks.

What if it’s been under our nose this whole time? The Ford Bronco Raptor, that is. While not expected until the 2023 model year, this dune jumping SUV may already have been teased via an accessories concept that was in plain sight during Ford Bronco Day that happened earlier this summer.

What we’ve got is a highly modified 2021 Ford Bronco SUV that is assumed to preview some of the 200 accessories that will be available when the vehicle launches in spring of 2021. Looking a little closer, this unique Bronco has a 2-inch lift, 37-inch BFG Baja Champion tires, beadlock capable wheels, wider fenders, and a unique lower front fascia with different tow hooks and bumper than the others. It may not be the 2023 Ford Bronco Raptor, but it’s likely an easter egg. In two-door flavor, no less. One can easily presume that a four-door will be offered, also. In terms of proportions, this off-road SUV is commandingly tall for a midsize SUV, and had far more presence than more base Broncos nearby. Pictured for your enjoyment is a man next to it, giving you a relative sense of scale.

2021 Ford Bronco Accessories Concept
Photo copyright Manoli Katakis, Muscle Cars & Trucks.

Ford Bronco engineers decided on an independent front suspension not only because it handles like a champ on the road, but because it’s more adept at handling uneven terrain at high speeds off the road. This is compared to the live axle front suspension found in the JL Jeep Wrangler. A casual onlooker may perceive the Bronco and Wrangler to be incredibly similar, but their respective formulas when it comes to offering an off-road SUV solution actually contrast wildly. Everything from suspension, to mirror mounts, to engines, differ greatly. And thus they are better suited for different off-road situations on paper. Whereas the Wrangler is arguably more fit for low speeds, tighter trails and articulation; the Bronco can traverse the open vistas of nowhere at a rate of speed that a stock Wrangler is unlikely to match.

Ford Bronco R Holly Oaks
Photo Copyright Manoli Katakis, Muscle Cars & Trucks
2023 Bronco Raptor
Photo copyright Manoli Katakis, Muscle Cars & Trucks.

Under the hood of the Ford Bronco Raptor is unlikely to be the 5.0L Coyote V8 that enthusiasts are rabid for. You can thank the government’s obsession with vehicle footprints for that. Instead, look for a 3.0L twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 that’s currently found in the Ford Explorer ST that’s good for 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque in this application. Or, as seen in the Bronco R, a 2.7L EcoBoost V6. A 10-speed automatic would likely be the single transmission offering.

The Ford Bronco R is another precursor to the 2023 Ford Bronco Raptor. Designed to tackle long-form desert races like the Baja 1000, the Bronco R is Ford’s official entry into off-road racing, but isn’t opposed to offering up the vehicle program to other race teams.

What do you think? Is this a Bronco Raptor Easter Egg? Or is this a simple design study? Let us know in the comments below.

2021 Ford Bronco Accessories Concept Wheel Tire
Photo copyright Manoli Katakis, Muscle Cars & Trucks.

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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