Ford Authority

2001 Ford Bronco Research Model Shown In Public For First Time Ever

The sixth-generation 2021 Ford Bronco was a hit, stylistically speaking, with most everyone when it was revealed last summer. Regardless, the 2001 Ford Bronco research model also left a very favorable impression when it was revealed decades ago, and most were hoping that it would reach production. Alas, that didn’t happen, and the model had never even made a public appearance – that is, until Ford Authority caught the 2001 Ford Bronco research model at the Hagerty Concours d’Elegance of America in Plymouth, Michigan.

This cool retro-modern Bronco research model did a masterful job of combining everything we love about the first-gen model and its boxy, upright appearance with just enough modern updates to make it look like a new vehicle. Amazingly, the vehicle’s styling has held up incredibly well despite the fact that it’s two decades old, too.

Up front, the 2001 concept features a rectangular grille that looks almost like a carbon copy of the original’s, along with round headlights and a beefy bumper with a pair of fog lights in the center. Fender flares cover up a set of steelie-style wheels and all-terrain rubber, accentuated by slab-shaped sides that look pretty similar to the 2021 Bronco’s.

A simple roll cage is another throwback and necessary safety item, but as for the interior, well, it’s really only half done. This research model was never built to actually run or drive, so the cabin is really just a placeholder filled with standard early 2000s Ford pieces that don’t actually do anything, along with a giant board covering the bottom of the steering wheel down. The research model was created by famed (and now retired) Ford designer Moray Callum.

Ford designated this model U260 and it was proposed to launch in 2001. At that time, the automaker was considering introducing two- and four-door versions of the Bronco built on a future Ford Ranger platform, but neither the 2001 Bronco nor a redesigned Ranger would up coming to fruition.

The Ranger soldiered on with the same architecture it received for the 1998 model year before it was discontinued years later in North America, later returning as the current mid-size model for the 2019 model year. As for the Bronco, the 2021 version retains much of this model’s retro looks, but in a more modern way.

Even though the Bronco research model never saw the light of day, it still undoubtedly had some influence on the 2021 Bronco, regardless, and at least to us, is a design marvel worth celebrating.

We’ll have much more on the Bronco soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford Bronco news and around-the-clock Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Johnny

    Man this one is it! Put this body with the production interior and that would be perfect.

  2. Jdp

    Looks too much like an International scout.

  3. Robert Levins

    This model is definitely great for 2001. The 2021 is definitely the winner here. I hope they turn out to be well built because if they don’t people will come away saying “ They never learned their lesson, still building questionable vehicles “ Come on FORD! You can do it! I’m banking on you.Hey, I might just buy one.

  4. Robert Levins

    I would like to give FORD a “ High Five “ for there new models. I’m very impressed with there line of thinking on the new MAVERICK! The pricing is “Right On “. It definitely is the “New Affordability “ range. NOT comparing previous incomes and adjusting for inflation type of thinking, but rather “Today’s generation of affordability “. We are in a new era now and the newest generation has a way higher cost of living than previous generations compared to income, not leaving much to justify any car payment.

  5. DG

    This looks a lot like an International Scout. In fact, this could be IH’s concept Scout.


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