The Ford Bronco debuted in 1966 as Ford’s vision of the perfect utility vehicle. Ford said it’s Bronco was neither a conventional car nor a truck but rather a vehicle that combines the best of both worlds. The Ford Bronco first generation ran from 1966 to 1977.

1966 ford bronco specs
1966 Ford Bronco

The model shown here was standard in 1966. Available was an optional steel cab with doors and windows that rolled up and down. With that option the vehicle was essentially turned into a pickup truck but one with comfortable bucket seats and extra ruggedness. The tops and doors were bolted on and could be removed with relative ease.

A New Type of Vehicle

When the 1966 Ford Bronco came on the scene it’s competition included the Jeep CJ,  International Harvester Scout, Toyota, and Land Rover. The market at that time was about 40,000 vehicles per year. When Ford entered that market segment overall sales of those type vehicles escalated.

Ford really did a superior job marketing the new Bronco. The vehicle was described as a utility vehicle, an off road vehicle and as a new kind of sports car and with four wheel drive. If the Ford Bronco was used as a utility vehicle to haul things Ford suggested that the Bronco was a truck that you would just like to really have rather than need to have. Ford said that the 1966 Bronco be a part of any lifestyle. All of these attributes Ford championed at the time would be the first seeds of what would become the widespread popularity of the SUV.

The 1966 Ford Bronco weighed about 3000 lbs. The vehicle was rated to take an 800 lb. load. The rear axle could handle  2780 lbs. Ford also offered an option axle rated at 3,300 lbs.66 ford bronco styling

Ford was the first major automaker to jump into this new market niche which would do nothing but grow in the coming years.

The Bronco was a success and buyer interest came quick. Ford’s new Bronco was able to establish a reputation as a solid back country 4×4 vehicle.

1966 Ford Bronco Specifications

The available engine for the new 1966 Bronco was a 170 cubic inch straight six that put out 105 HP. A V-8 was not available with the first model. Top speed in third gear was rated at 80 MPH. During the first year run in the spring of 1967 a 289 cubic inch V-8 was offered as an option.

Transmission was a three speed synchromesh manual. Four wheel drive.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drums with 11 inch drums on the front and 10 inch drums on the rear.

The suspension gave the Bronco excellent ground clearance. The front suspension included  ”Mono-beam,” solid axle, twin radius rods with tubular shocks, coil springs
The rear consisted  of a s olid axle, semi-elliptic leaf springs, tubular shocks. Bronco’s Mono-Beam front axle allowed for a smoother ride over the bumps.

1966 ford bronco photosDimensions for the 66 Ford bronco included a 92.0 inch wheelbase. An overall length of 151.2 inches, a width of 68.8 inches and height of 69.2 inches.

Total 1966 Ford Bronco production totaled 23,775 vehicles. Out of that number about 4,100 were roadsters.

Related Auto Museum Online articles are found on the links below..

1951 Willys Jeepster

1951 Willys Station Wagon

Reference materials for this article includes..Ford Motor Company Collection, ca. 1903… – ca. 1954..Ford Bronco: A History of Ford’s Legendary 4×4 by author Todd Zuercher..Ford Bronco 4X4 Performance Portfolio 1966-1977.

 The 1966 Ford Bronco Collector Car

The 1966 Ford Bronco represented a huge milestone in as much as it propelled the automaker into an entirely new niche.

66 bronco specificationsCurrently, the 1966 Ford Broncos for sale have relatively hefty price tags. At this time the first generation Broncos are very popular. Depending on model and customization and overall condition you’ll find examples for sale in the range of about $40,000 to $100,000 plus. The Ford Bronco to this day has the reputation of being one of the most rugged and quality built SUVs on the road.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)