Ford’s Instagram channel posted a photo, a date, and three words on Saturday: “07/09/20. The Wild Returns.” It’s been nearly five years since we found out about the steed’s resuscitation in a proposed labor agreement with the United Auto Workers union, and a few months of the reveal date jumping around. Finally, in 25 days, media will be invited to witness the new SUV “strapped with thrilling power and go-anywhere capability, uniquely equipped to carry true adventure seekers deep into the wild and untamed places their souls long to be.”
You’d be correct in thinking that sounds like a tagline disgorged from the archives of some not-quite-so-Mad Men. In fact, it’s copy describing the 2021 Bronco on a page on Ford’s web site devoted to the late 1960s era where this rodeo started. That is the automaker’s genteel take on the new SUV for the public, in contrast to after-hours swagger during drinks in the lounge with Wall Street analysts, pointing at a Jeep Wrangler parked outside and saying, “We will soon introduce what we believe is a much superior product.”
The 2021 Bronco will undoubtedly make hordes of historical references to the original. In order not to miss any inside jokes, check out that Ford page covering the foaling years, including two historical brochures with 20 pages devoted to the rig you can “Put your brand on for fun or work” that “takes you beyond the end of the road!”
Come July 10, it’s the Wrangler (definition: a person in charge of horses or other livestock on a ranch) versus the Bronco (definition: a wild or half-tamed horse of the western U.S.). We might just throw on some chaps for this. Giddy up.