Discontinued Shortly After OJ Chase, The Ford Bronco Is Making A Come Back

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Ted Goodman Contributor
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The Ford Bronco is making a comeback, with a new model set to be released by 2020, according to the automaker.

Introduced in 1966, the iconic Ford Bronco came to represent America’s grit and was intended as a symbol for the modern cowboy. Ford will also build new models of the Ranger, it announced.

The Ford Bronco was forever ingrained in American pop culture when football superstar and actor O.J. Simpson, driven by friend Al Cowlings, attempted to elude police in a low-speed car chase on a busy Los Angeles interstate.

Simpson was wanted for the murders of his ex-wife and her friend five days earlier. The national news networks (including cable upstart CNN) pre-empted their live television programs in order to show the police chase to 95 million Americans.

The media dubbed the chase “the most famous ride on American shores since Paul Revere.”

The Ford Bronco was discontinued two years after the world’s most watched police chase, in 1996. (RELATED: Chrysler To Invest $1 Billion In Michigan, Ohio)

Before O.J.’s alleged murder drama, Ford Bronco sales were slumping. The company produced the Bronco on the same platform as the F-150 pickup, and when the company decided to overhaul its popular F-150 truck, it changed its production equipment according to its new F-150 model. The Bronco had to either be modified for the new platform, or the company would have to maintain the old platform for an SUV that was struggling to sell.

Ford had previously rolled out its four-door SUV, the Explorer, in 1991, which was a big hit as Americans gravitated towards larger vehicles. Foreign automakers and General Motors, with its Chevy Suburban, caught up to Ford by the 1990s, and so the company officially ended production of the Bronco in 1996.

Twenty years later, the company is bringing it back. The company said it will start production by 2020 at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich.

The announcement came just days after Ford announced plans to invest over $700 million in Michigan and bring over 700 jobs to the state. The company also canceled plans to build a new factory in Mexico, a move President-elect Donald Trump took some credit for. (RELATED: Mexicans Are Worried About Losing Their Jobs To U.S. Under Trump)

“We have to do two things well, we have to make great cars ad trucks today and tomorrow, and we have to create this new future,” Chairman Bill Ford told ABC 7 in Detroit.

“He’s very interested in whats going, and he’s very accessible,” Ford said of Trump. “I’m very hopeful as we enter this new administration that we are going to have a great dialogue.”

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