Ford Bronco: A Wild History (1978-1979)

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Generation 2: Bronco Goes Bigger

1978-1979

Information on this page was sourced from “Ford Bronco: A History of Ford’s Legendary 4x4” by Todd Zuercher.

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Bronco Grows Up

Following its successful debut, Bronco sales reached record levels after the launch of the 2nd generation Bronco in 1978. The first two years of the larger and more luxurious Bronco were some of the most popular 30-year production run. Bronco shifted to a larger platform and body-style sharing components with the F-Series truck while maintaining key off-road capabilities including maneuverability, and approach, departure, and breakover angles.

Rugged Adventurer

Second Generation Bronco upped its toughness game with off-road-ready features including optional dual shocks for the front suspension, heavy-duty rear shocks and front and rear sway bars to improve ride and handling. The front and rear axles, along with other key components, were carried over from the F-Series, and horsepower was amplified with two standard V8 engines.
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Untamed Style

Generation 2 offered new exterior styling terrain with a wide assortment of bold two-tone paint treatments. A Ford truck-inspired grille and fibreglass top added to its ruggedly handsome—and seriously capable—good looks.

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Engineered for Ease

Several key updates made life on the road (and trail) more convenient than ever. An automatic transmission, along with a part-time and full-time 4x4 system, let Bronco adapt to different road conditions on the fly. Standard power tailgate glass could be operated from the driver’s seat or liftgate area, making loading and unloading gear a breeze. Bronco also offered a total of five radio options—which were three more than its leading competitor.

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1978 Four Wheeler of the Year

The introduction of the ’78 Bronco was heralded in off-road vehicle publications and landed a variety of awards. Touted in ads as the “first 4-wheeler that puts it all together,” the vehicle boasted an Big cube 5.8L (351) V-8 standard engine, Choice of part-time 4 WD with optional automatic, Rear foot-well for seating comfort, Four-speed transmission, Front quad shock option, Free Wheeling package option, Off-road handling package option, Front stabilizer bar, and more.

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Luxury Bronco

The latest “luxury Bronco” added chrome bumpers, window and body mouldings plus plush cut-pile carpeting. It also featured exclusive vinyl upholstery and spare tire cover, additional insulation for a more comfortable cabin and sleek wood-tone accents on door panels.

Bronco-worthy style, Inside and Out

Interior amenities and standout package options levelled up life on the trail.
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Interior Choices

Front seats came in several configurations: low-back bucket seats, a bench seat, high-back buckets and, in 1979, captain’s chairs. In back, a flip/fold seat offered room for three and plenty of cargo area versatility, while a footwell upped the comfort factor. Other standouts included optional sliding rear windows and a padded “GT” bar.

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Free-Wheeling Package

Available on the Custom or Ranger XLT Broncos was the Free Wheeling Package. This package featured tri-colour striping available in orange/tan/cream or blue/white/green depending on which of the 18 base colours were selected. Black bumpers adorned the front and rear, and the low-mount side mirrors were also blacked out. Optional wheels included a 15x6-inch white-spoke wheel with raised-white-letter tires, 15x8-inch white-spoke steel wheels, or yellow-painted wheels.

OLD SCHOOL ENTHUSIASTS

Dig deep into some historical, all-purpose Bronco specifications.