The First Generation
The idea behind the Bronco began with Ford product manager Donald N. Frey. Developed as an off-road vehicle, the early Broncos came in wagon, truck, and roadster versions. They excelled at navigating uneven terrain and inclement conditions and were relatively cheap (around $2,404) at the time—the perfect competitor to the Jeep CJ-5 and International Harvester Scout. Ford made nearly 24,000 of them that first year. Today a compact SUV in terms of size, Ford marketing shows a very early example of promoting a civilian off-roader as a “Sports Utility.”
Initially selling well, following the introduction of the Chevrolet Blazer, Jeep Cherokee, and International Scout II (from 1969 to 1974), demand shifted towards SUVs with better on-road capability, leading to a decline in demand for the Bronco.