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Yee haw! The Ford Bronco turns 50

Classic 1966 Bronco Body Shell Available Soon

 (Ford)

The Ford Bronco is turning 50. Well, it would be if it were still in production.

The iconic SUV was introduced on August 11, 1965 as something of an off-road version of the wildly popular Mustang. The press release announcing its launch touted that it joined the pony car “providing modern, active Americans with driving adventure as well as practical transportation.”

The Jeep CJ-5 and International Harvester Scout competitor was shorter in length than today’s Ford Fiesta, and came in soft-top roadster, hard-top wagon and half-cab pickup versions, each with four-wheel-drive, a three-speed manual transmission, and a 105 hp straight-six. The base price when it hit showrooms in September, 1965 was $2,194.

More powerful V8 engines were added over the years, and the Bronco was fully redesigned, and enlarged in 1978, as it became more closely related to the F-Series pickup. Three more generations followed, with a smaller, Ranger-based Bronco II joining the mix from 1983-1990. The run finally ended with the OJ chase-era truck that was succeeded by the Expedition in 1996, as the SUV market shifted from two-door to four-door SUVs.

Ever since then, rumors of a revival have abounded, spurred by a retro-futuristic concept unveiled by Ford in 2004 and the arrival of the high-performance F-150 Raptor SVT pickup in 2010, which many saw as the perfect platform for a 21st century Bronco. One fan has even gone as far as dropping a 1993 Bronco body onto a 2011 Raptor chassis, earning much acclaim from off-road truck fans.

Alas, Ford has announced no official plans to bring it back. But while it can be tough to find an original in good, unmodified condition, you’ll soon be able to build your own brand-new replica. Automotive parts outfit Dynacorn is planning to sell full, officially-licensed 1966 Bronco bodies for anyone up for the challenge.

Since it already offers a 1965 Mustang body kit, you might as well make it a pair.

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Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com's Automotive Editor.