The Ford Bronco was almost called the Wrangler

Ford is bringing back the Bronco name on an all-new SUV this year, but the original 1966 model was almost called something very different.

The production Bronco's design stayed true to this prototype.

The production Bronco's design stayed true to this prototype. (Ford)

Bronco was the code name for the project when it started in 1963, the idea being that it would join the Mustang in Ford’s stable as a “four-wheel-drive sports car,” and the off-road imagery of the name speaks for itself.

That was no guarantee the moniker would make it to the production car, however. Names often change once the marketing department gets involved.

The Mustang came so close to being called the Cougar, for instance, that Ford even built a prototype with a feline logo a couple of years before the name ended up on a Mercury. No reason to let a good idea go to waste, right?

(Ford)

Similarly, Ford archivist Ted Ryan said alternative names were considered for the Bronco, including one you’ll be familiar with today: Wrangler.

Ryan told Fox News Autos that it was one of the candidates, but that Ford’s product planner Don Frey decided to stick with the equine connection to the Mustang. Back then, the Jeep Wrangler’s forbears were called CJs, and it wasn’t until 1987 that the brand started using the Wrangler name on its own SUV.

MORE: THIS IS PROBABLY THE 2021 FORD BRONCO BEFORE YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO SEE IT

The Bronco R race truck is based on the upcoming model.

The Bronco R race truck is based on the upcoming model. (Ford)

Soon the Bronco and Wrangler will be battling for supremacy in showrooms and on rocky trails, with the all-new Ford set to be revealed sometime this spring.

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