Although many argued that the original Bronco gave barely enough power, it made up for its optional features. Its three body styles and engine upgrades made the Bronco more customizable for the average American.
1978 - 1979: The 2-year Bronco
One of the rarest around, the second-generation Ford Bronco was built as an answer to the growing preference to the Chevrolet Blazer. It could have matched the Blazer with its bigger size, Cleveland-based 351M/400 engine, and solid front axle. But it wasn't fuel efficient. With the growing need for lighter, more economical cars, the Bronco models from 1978 to 1979 were already outdated before it was even released. Nevertheless, the second-generation model started the shift of the Bronco from a compact SUV to a full-size 4x4 vehicle.
1980-1986: A Ford Bronco for on- and off-road applications
After the 1973 to 1974 oil crisis, the market demanded more fuel-efficient SUVs. Drivers no longer wanted to pay extra for gas just to get the power from a 4-wheel drive. Ford's solution to this industry-wide problem was the third generation Bronco. Aside from being thriftier on fuel, this Bronco also came with changes in its power train and suspension. One of the most notable changes was its change from a live front-axle setup to a Dana 44 Twin Traction Beam (TTB). This made steering a third generation Bronco easier to control and more comfortable both on and off the road.
1987 - 1991: The newer, stronger Ford Bronco
The Ford Bronco underwent major restyling in 1987 and introduced the fourth-generation Bronco. As the trend shifted to a more aero look, the Bronco was redesigned to reflect a similar body style. Other Ford Bronco parts were also redesigned to match the demands of the SUV market. One notable change was found under the hood of the Bronco. Carburetors were now things of the past, and all Bronco models were now fitted with an electronic fuel injection system. The addition of an electronically controlled E4OD automatic overdrive also gave the Bronco a newer and more heavy-duty transmission that helped it earn the title of one of the sturdiest SUVs around.
1992 - 1996: The last of the Broncos
The fifth, and last, generation of the Ford Bronco was redesigned with the objective of providing a safer SUV for American drivers. The new generation featured front crumple zones and rear shoulder seat belts, and it was even fitted with driver-side airbags by the end of 1994. The fifth-generation Bronco was also the first vehicle to debut with turn signal lights incorporated in its mirrors.
During its 30-year run, the Ford Bronco remained to be a true SUV and off-roader, with all generations being equipped with a 4-wheel drive and low range. This fact made the Bronco the poster boy for simplicity and economy in SUVs.