The Ford Bronco DR poses like a classic statue with a badass stance in the showroom of Peoria Ford in Arizona, one of America’s highest-volume Ford Dealerships. It stands as a culmination of stunning engineering and quality factory parts in a living, breathing-proof book. The Bronco DR is a solid, modern SCORE-compliant, factory off-road racing behemoth — and already sold out, limited to just 50.
This particular Bronco DR is owned by Peoria Ford Managing partner, Patrick Hickey, a bit of a local celebrity in the Phoenix Valley. The Peoria Ford dealership is noted for special-interest allotments including Shelby Mustangs and Trucks, Dark Horse Mustangs, and Raptor Rs at a very nice clip. He is excited to have his rare factory off-road machine gracing and attracting attention in the car-buying area of the dealership.
Ford Bronco DR Initial Inspection
Casual observation reveals a well-thought-out off-road racing machine. Built on a production four-door Bronco frame and powered by a 5.0 Liter Coyote mated to the standard issue 10-speed automatic, the Bronco DR showcases its independent electronically locking front and rear 4.70:1 differentials from a stock Ford electronic shift-on-the-fly transfer case.
The upper front suspension A-arms are production-Bronco while a billet aluminum lower control arms and a forward section of chassis stiffening, cut from the rear rollover frame of the production Bronco, are visible in the front wheel wells. The rear axle is stock F-150, giving the DR a widened track of 73.3 inches. The brakes are Alcon calipers and discs with race-compound pads.
Though Hickey says they are stored away, the regular 37-inch BF Goodrich Mud Terrain tires have given way to a wheel-tire kit of KMC Wheels and 37-inch Goodyear Wranglers specifically fitted for the 2023 SEMA Show.
Patrick Hickey, Managing Partner of Peoria Ford
“This is a great acquisition to display at the store. I am well known for performance offerings and this bad boy has taken center stage,” said Hickey. A success story himself, Hickey started on the car sales floor more than 40 years ago. He leveraged his prowess into a decade of ownership of two top Ford dealerships. He is also an avid car collector.
There is a significant percentage of America’s off-roaders in Arizona, and in large numbers are Bronco and F-Series pickup customers as well. Hickey has capitalized on bringing these customers great offerings while employing more than 300 people in the Northwest Phoenix Valley. Hickey proclaims, “Our staff is our core and is here to serve.”
The Ford Bronco DR Lineage
The team at Ford’s skunkworks, Ford Performance, swung at a hard pitch in 2020 when they entered SCORE’s Baja 1000 with the prototype Bronco R. That effort concluded with the Bronco R blazing the 898-mile course in 32 hours, 31 minutes. The previous year’s race had resulted in a DNF for a much earlier Bronco race version, due to cooling problems.
Ford Performance’ tireless development with racing partner, Multimatic Motorsports, has produced the limited-production race-ready Bronco DR in a 50-vehicle run for professional-level teams — and serious collectors. The corporate duo also produces the Dark Horse-based GT3 Mustang for sports car road racers.
Ford has had a storied involvement in international racing — it has seen worldwide championships and race wins — exponentially more than the others in the Big Three combined. Bronco is no stranger to wins at Baja either.
A Legendary Predecessor
In 1971, Parnelli Jones, driving the iconic “Big Oly” Bronco, won the Baja 1000 with team owner and co-driver Bill Stroppe. Parnelli and Big Oly would win back-to-back Mexican NORRA 1000s, a Mint 400, and a Baja 500. Looking back, the iconic Stroppe-Holman-Moody’s “Big Oly” car sold for $1.87 Million at Mecum Auction’s Spring Classic in 2021 — the highest price paid for a Bronco to that point.
Designs and clay models of the first Ford Bronco date back to 1963 in Dearborn, Michigan. The brainchild of product manager Donald Frey and the green light from Lee Iacocca, Ford released its first generation in the 1966 model year.
Alongside many legendary early crawlers, the Bronco has developed a significant culture around itself. To this day, first-generation Broncos command large sums at auction. The resto-modded versions, such as top-builder Gateway Bronco, can melt a checkbook too. The $150,000 Gateway base model features a 302 c.i. Coyote making 435 hp — complete with the new car smell. The prices can go as high as $400,000 — depending on the build.
The Ford Bronco DR Is A Limited Production High-Performance Marvel
All of that provenance goes into this racing-developed sixth-gen Bronco. With a Ford Performance touch, this SUV utilizes many of the parts typically found on a Bronco or F-Series. Past the powertrain and suspension, this racer is well laid out in the cockpit. Recaro racing seats and six-point harnesses compress your body into one with the vehicle. Because the Bronco incorporates the Ford-GM 10-speed automatic there are electronic paddle shifters on the suede Momo steering wheel — and just two pedals in the footwell.
The display is a MoTeC C187, which plays the role of a tachometer, yet can pan through numerous aspects of the vehicle and performance via a cluster of quick reference push buttons for ease of use at speed. Gigantic scoops behind the side windows grab air and cool the rear-mounted radiator. This protects from all the debris an off-road race can throw at the car from the front.
Lighting the course at night comes from powerful LED light bars mounted above and below the absent windscreen. This particular Bronco DR, which came with a white body, is wrapped in a flat royal blue.
The brakes are manual and are harder to push but give the driver a more gritty feel for the road and anchor. Putting the foot down on the loud pedal reveals a Coyote making over 400 hp with incredible stability through the assorted whoopty-doos of off-road racing… very rapidly.
Ford’s High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension (H.O.S.S.) 4.0, borrowed from the Bronco Raptor, features Positional Selective 80-millimeter Multimatic DSSV Dampers with finned fluid cooling channels resulting in 15.8 inches of travel in the front and 17.4 inches in the rear. The beefy components, in concert with the fiberglass body, bring the race weight of the Bronco DR to 6,200 pounds.
Like all series-compliant machines, the Bronco DR features a full tubular roll cage, complete with nets; a fire-suppression system, and a 65-gallon fuel cell.
Bring A Race Hauler
The Ford Bronco DR SUV can immediately line up at any SCORE event but is not street-legal. If you are a collector of unique machinery, you will need a hauler to leave the showroom floor. Hickey, who has no plan to race it, says he is open to offers.