The mightiest road-going version of the new Ford Bronco, the Raptor, won’t use a V8. A twin-turbo ‘Ecoboost’ V6, probably the ‘Nano’ unit mooted for the new Ranger Raptor, is the most likely powerplant. However, if you’re happy with a V8 Bronco that isn’t road legal, Ford has just the ticket. Presenting, the Bronco DR.
The two letters slapped on the end stand for ‘Desert Racer’ because this Bronco is specifically designed to take on the gruelling Baja 1000. For that task, it needs a powerful yet fairly simple engine, and the Mustang‘s 5.0-litre ‘Coyote’ V8 fits the bill nicely.
The ladder chassis and the core shell of the Bronco are still here but clad in all-new fibreglass body panels inspired by the Bronco R Baja prototype racer. The transformation includes an open area at the back for a spare wheel and a new radiator, and four huge wheel arches.
The big arches are necessary for two reasons. Firstly because the beadlock wheels wear giant 37-inch BF Goodrich Mud Terrain T/A tyres, and secondly because suspension travel has increased dramatically. You get 400mm at the front, an increase of 55 per cent compared to the stock Bronco, while at the rear there’s 440, a jump of 58.6 per cent.
The increase is thanks to new dampers from Canadian company Multimatic (which also builds Ford’s GT supercar) with fancy spool valves, 80mm bodies and finned cooling channels. The billet aluminium control arms come from the same company. Post-DR makeover, the Bronco has approach, departure and breakover angles of 47, 37 and 33 degrees, compared to 37.2, 27.8 and 37 degrees in the stock vehicle.
That Mustang-borrowed V8 drives all wheels via a 10R80 10-speed automatic gearbox and transfer case pinched from the F-150 and front and rear locking differentials. The front half-shafts are new and unique to the DR to cope with the uplift in torque and suspension travel. Keeping the new powerplant fueled meanwhile is a whopping 246-litre tank below the cargo area.
Inside, little of the standard Bronco interior remains. The two occupants sit in Sparco bucket seats with harnesses, surrounded by a Multimatic-built roll cage. The digital instrument cluster has been switched for a motorsport-friendly display from Motec mounted to the right of the steering wheel. Next to that is a bank of switches for things like the diff locks, which are suitably large and chunky to make for easy operation with a gloved hand.
With the SEMA show happening this week, you might think this is some bonkers one-off to make Ford’s stand in Las Vegas look a little snazzier, but no - it already has a bunch of Bronco concepts for that job. Instead, the DR is a turnkey racer you can actually buy. Provided, that is, you have a spare $200,000, and you can get your name down before the production run of 50 models sells out.