It has become a trend in recent years for an auto manufacturer to announce that a fan favorite nameplate will return, only to then drag the release of that vehicle out for years. This happened with the Acura NSX and Toyota Supra, and is now currently happening with the 2021 Ford Bronco. While there was plenty of information available about the two Japanese sports cars before they were officially released, the team at Ford seems to be holding their cards closer to their chest. Despite Ford’s attempt to keep the Bronco totally under wraps until its debut, we now have information about its removable doors via a patent application.
AutoGuide was the first to discover the Ford patent filing for an inflatable safety device, or what you would call an airbag, mounted to tubular doors – something Jeep currently does not offer. This indicates that Ford will offer the Bronco with optional tube frame doors, similar to those available for the Jeep Wrangler or Gladiator. Unlike the parts available from Mopar however, it seems like Ford is hoping to maintain a high level of crash protection with their open-air door set-up.
The same application also includes information about a collapsible rod that will provide crash protection even if the Ford Bronco has its removable doors detached, which would be a first for an off-roader of any kind. It is hard to argue against the benefits of an added airbag, especially if it will make the open-air experience safer for passengers.
The new Ford Bronco was always going to need to be a real off-roader if it was going to satisfy the model’s devout fans, and it appears that Ford is taking their time to get it right. While this patent application doesn’t confirm that the Bronco will have removable doors, it does point in that direction. Ford has confirmed that they will begin Bronco production in 2020, so it is only a matter of time before we get our first look at the rebirthed Wrangler rival.