Rumor of late has had it that Ford has been working on a new Bronco SUV, and it turns out that rumor is true!

Sort of.

Ford Performance has unveiled a classic Bronco-styled buggy that Formula Drift champion Vaughn Gittin Jr. will be entering in the 2017 King of the Hammers off-road race.

The annual event is held on the Means Dry Lake in Johnson Valley, Calif., and is considered one of the toughest automotive challenges in the world. The 165-mile-long, all-day race combines high speed desert running with punishing rock crawling sections.

Gittin ran at the Hammers this past February and came away with a 10th place class finish, becoming the first non-regular of this style of driving to do so as a rookie. He says the car control skills he’s developed drifting his Ford Mustang RTR paid off on the flat sections, but his result suggests that he was clearly a quick study on the boulders, too.

The truck he’s bringing next February is nicknamed Brocky, and was built by Colorado off-road racing specialist Jimmy’s 4x4. Don’t worry, no original Broncos were harmed making it. Its custom fiberglass body is wrapped over a tube frame that has an independent front suspension with 20-inches of wheel travel and rides on 37-inch tires.

There’s a monster 600 hp Ford Performance 427 V8 under the chopped hood, a three-speed automatic transmission, and front and rear differentials, each with low and high ranges that can be independently engaged, depending on whether Gittin needs to tear across the sand at 100 mph, or tap Brocky’s 100-1 crawl ratio to climb over rock strewn hills.

Considering they could have made the buggy look like just about anything (Jimmy’s has done Jeep Wranglers, Chevy Silverados and even Cadillac Escalades in the past, so an F-150 or even an Escape wouldn’t have been a problem), the choice of a Bronco is interesting from a marketing perspective, as the UAW has all but confirmed that Ford will be introducing an all-new American-made Bronco for the 2020 model year.

----------

Ford Focus RS Test Drive: