The Ford stand at this year’s SEMA Show is a tale of forbidden fruit with the company’s star attraction being the limited edition Bronco DR, designed to tackle the Baja 1000 race.
The DR — for Desert Race — is a skunk works project based on the production car’s frame and underlying body structure.
While the DR’s resin transfer moulded (RTM) fibreglass panels are clearly styled to resemble the car available in North American showrooms, there are only a few items carried over from the road-legal car, including the headlights, grille, tail lights, and trail-sights.
Aside from the fibreglass body, other lightweighting measures include the removal of windows, air conditioning and practically all convenience features.
The spartan interior has a race-spec roll cage, and two Sparco racing seats with a built-in harness. The shift lever and instrumentation panel are some of the few elements to make the leap from the showroom car.
All up, Ford expects the Bronco DR to have a race weight of around 2812kg (6000 pounds).
Under the bonnet there’s a 5.0-litre Coyote V8 with a target output of over 300kW (400hp), making it the first model of the current-generation Bronco to be fitted with a V8. Indeed, it’s the first Ranger-based vehicle we can think of to sport eight cylinders.
The Coyote V8 is connected to all four wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission, and an electric shift-on-the-fly transfer case borrowed from the F-150.
There’s also independent electronically locking front and rear differentials, each with 4.70:1 final drive ratios.
Large intakes on the sides and roof feed air into the rear-mounted radiator, while a larger 246L fuel tank resides underneath the cargo bay where the spare tyre lives.
Thanks to its short front and rear overhangs, and jacked up suspension, the Bronco DR will have an approach angle of 47 degrees, departure angle of 37 degrees, and a breakover angle of 33 degrees.
The DR rides on beadlock wheels shod with 37-inch BF Goodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 tyres.
Multimatic has rejigged the suspension to include new Positional Selective DSSV dampers and billet aluminium lower control arms. These changes are said to be improve suspension travel at both ends by at least 55 per cent.
The first 50 Bronco DRs will be available for sale from the third quarter of 2022, and Ford expects the starting price to be around US$250,000 ($340,000) before taxes.