What the Ford Bronco Was Supposed to Be Called

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No delay is going to wane the public’s excitement for the much-awaited arrival of the reborn Ford Bronco. But even before the official launch date was pushed back, a lot of information about the SUV has already been leaked publicly.

Everyone has likely seen some of the images of the model, read about its unique accessories like the removable roof, and learned that the SUV is getting a manual transmission option.

With all these details, however, there appears to be one thing that the public does not know about: that the original 1965 Ford Bronco was almost given another name. As it turns out, the nameplate was supposed to be… Wrangler.

In an interview with Fox News, Ford archivist Ted Ryan revealed that the automaker considered several names for its first-generation SUV and Wrangler was one of the frontrunners.

Closeup of Jeep Wrangler emblem
It wasn’t until 1986 that Jeep started using the Wrangler nameplate with the launch of the YJ generation.

Had Ford went with the Wrangler name then, wouldn’t it have caused a problem with the Jeep Wrangler that dates back to WWII? Apparently not because at the time, the Jeep Wrangler was still called the CJ-5. It wasn’t until 1986 that Jeep started using the Wrangler nameplate with the launch of the YJ generation.

It was also revealed that the former product planner for Ford, Don Frey, decided against the Wrangler name or any other name, saying he preferred to keep the would-be Bronco’s connection to the Mustang, which debuted around the same time.

When the Bronco was still in development, it was planned to be a “four-wheel-drive sports car” that would be positioned side-by-side with the company’s first-ever pony car in dealerships. This pairing served as the beginning of a new Ford from its bland model lineup and allowed it to attract younger customers.

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