Behind-the-Scenes: How the Bronco Was Designed to be Customized

Ford recently gave insight into the design and production of the all-new 2021 Ford Bronco, which was designed on a modular platform to allow Bronco owners to customize to their hearts’ content.

“Whether your goal is to build the ultimate desert racer or rock crawling rig – or both with the same vehicle – the Bronco modular design provides the ease and confidence to create a 4×4 that is as unique as each of our customers,” said Bronco design chief Paul Wraith. “Because of that ease and flexibility, no two Broncos should ever be alike.”

Another day, another adventure. The Bronco can be easily stripped down to its base, allowing for the addition of alternate doors, fenders, and grille in one day. The next day, the Bronco can be customized again, with alternative body and roof setups.

Ford says that both the two-door and four-door Broncos were “designed and engineered from a clean slate to make off-road customization easy, quick, and attainable for all enthusiasts with a wide variety of interests and skill levels.” A single person can unlatch and remove available modular roof panels as well as rear quarter windows. Add an extra set of hands, and removing the rear hardtop assembly by removing a few fasteners is a breeze.

All four fender flares are easily removable in minutes thanks to quarter-turn fasteners. And Ford has taken the guess work out of which parts allow for easy removal by stamping them with a Bronco logo to indicate modularity. These parts also include frameless doors, fenders, bumpers, grille, and grab handles. The fenders can all be removed by simply removing the bolts, without the need for welding upon reinstallation.

Want to feel the wind in your hair? Removing the frameless EZ Air doors is as easy as removing two bolts and disconnecting and electrical connection. The process will take you two to four minutes per door. Adding accessories like LED pod lights and roof racks is easy thanks to threaded Bronco logo mounting points from the factory. The available modular front and rear bumpers feature threaded taps for mounting winches, safari bars, and LED lights.

Even after removing the fenders, quarter panels, doors, and roof for off-road use, the Bronco retains all required Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Also, sideview mirrors are cowl-mounted so even if you remove the doors or replace them with other options, the mirrors remain in place.

“I expect a lot of Bronco owners are going to have a lot of fun engaging with the DIY aspects of the modular design because it gives them the opportunity to create the perfect 4×4 for their unique needs without requiring a lot of mechanical expertise or experience,” said Wraith.

Like its Ford brethren, the Mustang and the F-150, the Bronco will bring with it healthy aftermarket support to step up the customization factor.

You might have already seen one of several custom Bronco concept vehicles showing off the personalization capabilities of the platform and displaying Ford-licensed accessories at events like Bronco Day and Bronco Super Celebration. Meanwhile, the aftermarket are preparing to share their own offerings on ULTRA4 Bronco 4600 series vehicles.

LGE-CTS Motorsports co-founder and custom builder Theresa Contreras was included in a panel of off-road experts who shared a performance aftermarket voice during Bronco product development to influence the Bronco’s design with customization in mind.

“The way Bronco is engineered with the modular platform will create a lot of new opportunities for performance parts manufacturers and custom shops – giving them something new to hang their hats on,” she said. “And from a design perspective, the vintage Bronco design combined with some incredible new technology will give custom builders a lot to work with to create some really extreme off-road machines.”

Perhaps one of the coolest aspects of the way Ford designed the new Bronco is that it allows for the creation of midcycle product updates. This means even rapid-prototyped and 3D-printed components! The base structure can remain, extending the platform’s life and allowing Bronco owners to modify with new features for years to come.

“Because of modularity, you can hang onto your Bronco longer and keep it fresh and up to date with new body parts, accessories and new technologies – some that can be made in low volume and others downloaded,” said Wraith. “The possibilities for this platform stretch as far as your imagination.”

While the Bronco Sport is already arriving in dealerships everywhere, the 2021 Bronco two-door and four-door models will be rolling onto showroom floors beginning this summer.

About the author

Stephanie Davies-Bardekoff

Stephanie Davies-Bardekoff got her start in automotive media while attending Rutgers. She worked for Roush Performance for a while, before eventually landing here at Power Automedia. Her Coyote-swapped 1992 Fox-body drag car is her prized possession.
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