October 1979: "Fords Of The Future" Make Their Debut
Thirty years ago this month, a new breed of 4x4 made its debut in these pages-specifically, the newly re-engineered Ford Bronco, which was rolled out for the 1980 model year and included its revolutionary Twin-Traction Beam independent front suspension. The new system, we noted at the time, "does away with CV joints, several moving parts, and reduces unsprung weight (by) 50 to 150 pounds, depending on truck model." We also liked the "built-in skidplate on the front diff," as well as the TTB's underlying concept: "fewer moving parts and stronger one-piece construction."
Also garnering praise on the new 'ute were its improved visibility ("with the shorter hood length"), reduced aerodymaic drag (25% less than last year's models"), and the new 2.61:1-geared NP 208 transfer case, which "helps make up for the taller axle gears" and "eliminates one of the big bugaboos of towing a distressed 4x4" by allowing for flat-towing due to the presence of a Neutral gear. ("You can not tow at speeds in excess of 40 mph," we added as a caution.) As for options, we concluded, "there are 46 available this year" (those were the days, huh?-Ed.) "so you can trick out your '80 Bronco to the limits of imagination and monthly payments!"