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Celebrate 50 Years of the Ford Bronco with the 1981 Montana Lobo

Posted in News on August 12, 2015
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Photographers: Ford Archives

When the early Bronco made its debut 50 years ago the love affair with this great little SUV began. Through five generations Ford managed to make a vehicle that was capable of taking on harsh desert terrain, tackling mud, and climbing steep ledges. Just after the release of the third generation Bronco, the team from Ford debuted their concept Bronco Montana Lobo at the in 1981 Chicago Auto Show that gave the functional Bronco a futuristic and space-like design.

The Bronco Montana Lobo was based on the chassis of 1977 Bronco and powered by a 5.0L V-8, with a solid Dana 44 front axle keeping the classic off-road Bronco functionality, but that’s where the similarities end. The traditional Bronco body was ditched for a wild, angular body with styling that included a wedge-style hood, slanted windshield, side rails with louvers (must have added at least 10 horsepower), a roll bar that housed off-road lights, and custom bumpers with an integrated winch in the front.

The most unique features the Montana Lobo had were its removable Plexiglas bubble doors and T-top roof giving the driver and passenger an open-cab feeling even with the doors closed. The open bed featured bench seats covered in a Hemp fabric along each side adding plenty of extra seats to the compact Bronco. Passengers could access their seats in the bed through the traditional tailgate or the unique sliding glass door from the cab.

If the golden-mustard color, sliding glass door, bench seats in the bed, and bubble doors aren’t futuristic enough for you, then Ford added functional aspects that are seen in pickups and SUVs today. Exterior storage compartments and a built-in loading ramp were added to the exterior, while ventilated seats and digital instruments completed the futuristic interior which you would be hard pressed to find in a SUV or pickup without today.

While the Montana Lobo concept never came to life, many of the futuristic upgrades they included have come to Ford vehicles over the years, except for those sweet exposed dual side exit exhaust pipes that put the Lighting version to shame.

Looking at the Montana Lobo has us wishing the Ford Bronco was still in production, with great functionally, big V-8 power, and plenty of off-road capability, we sure wish they were still available new.

Source: Fox News

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