Despite confirming it early on, Ford has so far managed to keep their upcoming Bronco model under wraps in a way that other auto manufacturers have not been able to in recent years. Endless leaks and spy photos have taken the surprise out of many new model launches in the age of the internet (see: C8 Corvette), though this is not the case with the highly anticipated Ford 4×4. Despite the Blue Oval being able to keep much of the off-roader’s secrets under wraps, plausible information about the Ford Bronco continues to come out via USPTO images.
We previously covered a story about a Ford patent application for airbag systems involving a vehicle with removable doors. That system would allow for an airbag to be deployed in an accident regardless if the door was in place, but it turns out it wasn’t the only patent Ford submitted involving the future off-roader’s doors. The Drive has reported that nine separate patents have been filed over the last few years that pertain to the Bronco’s removable doors.
We may also be getting a sneak peek at the design of the production Bronco, as evident by the silhouette of the USPTO image and the official Ford teaser image, both of them seen below. Additionally, there’s a rear three-quarter image depicting puddle lighting from a rumored A-pillar mounted driver’s side mirror.
Automotive News published back in March that select Ford dealers were able to see these innovations in action, as well.
These patents include various designs of the actual doors themselves, as well as storage methods for the body pieces once they have been removed. The most interesting patent involves a door that can be separated into two pieces above the window frame. This design looks very similar to the doors that once found themselves fitted to the classic Bronco roadsters, further suggesting the existence of a convertible model returning to the line-up. While the Jeep Wrangler has long offered removable doors, owners have never had a place to store them inside the vehicle. Ford looks to solve this issue with a trick storage unit found in the rear cargo area of the Bronco, a la the T-top holders found in the muscle cars of yore.
Despite these patents being filed, there is no guarantee that any of them will find their way onto the production Ford Bronco. What we do know so far is that the new Bronco is set to launch in the USA in 2020, and will be based on the T6 midsize truck platform that underpins the current Ford Ranger. Customers will be able to choose between a short-wheelbase three-door version and a long-wheelbase five-door model.
It is believed that Ford Australia is leading the development of the 2021 Bronco, as several test mules of the upcoming SUV have been spotted there, fitted with a smattering of different Ranger body panels to disguise the vehicles true identity. Ford has regularly undergone vehicle and component testing in Australia for years now, though this is the first time that the Bronco has been spotted testing there. Despite testing the new Bronco on the continent, Ford Australia has continued to maintain that the off-roader will not be coming to the Australian market.