1996 Bronco XLT
Miami, Florida, United States
1996 Bronco XLT
Well, look at what we have here. Judging from these spy shots, Ford is indeed working on the next generation of its off-road-ready F-150 Raptor pickup truck. We've made no attempt to hide our appreciation for the Baja-style truck, which combines most of the usability of a fullsize truck with heavy-duty suspension components to make a kind of performance vehicle that is unique in the market.
What we haven't known, until now, is whether Ford would push forward with its Raptor program now that it has a completely new F-150 to serve as its base. And that's especially true since Ford made the bold move of switching the bodywork of its best-seller from tried-and-true steel to aluminum. As you can see above, the front and rear of this silver truck are clad in current-gen Raptor bodywork, while the center section that houses the occupants appears to come from the upcoming 2015 F-150.
Dissecting the views above, we note a few interesting tidbits. First, there looks to be a bulge in the truck's hood. Second, we see a new grille between the current Raptor's headlights, sporting a mesh finish and two horizontal bars. Lastly, our eyes can't help but lock in on those burly A-arm suspension pieces down below, not to mention all that ground clearance the specialty suspenders bring to the table.
History has a way of repeating itself, especially in the auto industry. When Jaguar was owned by Ford, the British brand attempted to field a competitor for the BMW 3 Series, called the X-Type. Based on the bones of a Ford Mondeo, it aped the styling of Jaguar's flagship model, the XJ, while borrowing liberally from the Ford parts bin. That was 2001.
Now, in 2013, Jaguar is planning a new 3 Series challenger based on the platform previewed by the C-X17 Concept, while Ford is attempting to take the latest Mondeo upmarket. The moves have both brands recognizing where, why, and how the X-Type failed. "It didn't look mature or powerful or anything. It was just a car," Jaguar's current head of advanced design, Julian Thomson, told PistonHeads. Basing the X-Type on a front-drive car while giving it styling that was meant for a rear-driver lead to proportions that "were plainly wrong," Thomson told PH. Ford's European head of quality, Gunnar Herrmann, added that the X-Type was "a fake Jaguar, because every piece I touch is Ford."
For what it's worth, the X-Type's successor in the segment will sport rear-drive, with plenty of input from Ian Callum. Thomson described the new model, which would challenge the 3 Series as having, "Big wheels right to the ends of the car, low bonnet, short overhangs, very low cabins." Sounds good to us.
Alan Mulally will not be following his successful term as president and CEO of Ford Motor Company with a run at an even bigger presidency. Rumors that the 68-year-old former Boeing exec would make a run at the White House sprouted after his apparent dodging of a reporter's questions about a potential candidacy during a forum in Indianapolis.
"I really think it's important that we all pull together. We really need to pull together around a compelling vision for our country and a comprehensive strategy to do it and work together. We really need to do it," Mulally said at the conference, according to The Detroit News.
He's since clarified by saying, "[I'm] honored at the suggestion, but that is not a role I am considering."