Ford Bronco: A Wild History (1987-1991)

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Generation 4: The Aerodynamic Age

1987-1991

Information on this page was sourced from “Ford Bronco: A History of Ford’s Legendary 4x4” by Todd Zuercher.

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Streamlining Confidence

For Generation 4, the previous years’ trend toward aerodynamic design forged ahead, with sculpted edges (both inside and out) replacing boxy corners. On the engineering side, new powertrain and safety updates took centre stage.

The New Shape of Adventure

Affectionately known in enthusiast circles as the “brick nose,” the 1987 Bronco boasted a more aerodynamic silhouette than its “bull nose” predecessors. Right angles and jutting edges gave way to dynamic sloping lines for the body, bumpers and mirrors, and headlights were flush with the front end. A revamped interior featured rounded surfaces in the dashboard, instrument cluster and climate controls.

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Beyond Horsepower: New Powertrain Tech

Generation 4 saw a bevy of powertrain advancements, from engine to transmission. The 300 six and 351W 5.8L V8 engines were paired with electronic fuel injection in the 1987-88 model years. A 5-speed manual transmission was introduced in 1988 and an all-new Borg Warner 1345 transfer case with optional Touch Drive electric shift replaced the New Process 208 case.

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Anti-lock Braking Technology

In 1987, the Bronco gained a new safety feature with the introduction of a rear anti-locking brake system (ABS). Active in 2WD only, the ABS system used a combination of sensors, the vehicles computer, and hydraulic pressure-controlled valves to modulate the hydraulic pressure in the rear brake lines. This new safety feature boosted stopping power, safety and overall confidence on the trail.

The Inside Story: Special Editions

The 1991 model year saw the introduction of two new trim packages for Bronco owners, each catering to unique demographics in the decade. It was the 25th anniversary of Bronco which Ford celebrated with offering a limited-production model called the Silver Anniversary Edition. On the opposite side of the spectrum was the Nite Edition Bronco.

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Nite Edition

The Nite Bronco delved into its dark side with black paint and blacked-out body trim, offset by bold Azalea Pink or Aegean Blue decal graphics. Aegean Blue-striped trucks had Crystal Blue and Dark Charcoal interiors and the Azalea Pink found themselves sitting in a Scarlet red interior. Based on the XLT Bronco, the Night had exclusive badging and corresponding interior trim rounding out its edgy vibe. Only 383 Nite Edition Broncos were built for the 1991 model year.

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Silver Anniversary Edition

Commemorating 25 years of Bronco heritage, the Silver Anniversary Edition was only available in 1991. The design was fittingly stylish, with Currant red paint on the exterior and a first-ever leather interior. Also part of the package: Silver Anniversary badges, special carpeting and floormats, along with other colour-matched interior elements. Owners even received an exclusive Silver Anniversary bag, jacket and keys.

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Seating Choices

For Generation 4, seating configurations included front bucket low back seats, a front bench seat, captain’s chairs and a flip-fold rear seat. If Captain’s chairs were selected, a centre console between the seat with built-in cupholders was a popular option.

OLD SCHOOL ENTHUSIASTS

Dig deep into some historical, all-purpose Bronco specifications.