One of them was rad. The other? Not so much.
Name: Ford Bronco Montana Lobo
Debuted: 1981 Chicago Auto Show
Specs: Based on a 1977 Bronco, 5.0-liter V8 engine, side exhausts, removable Plexiglas doors, retractable load ramp
Why We Remember It Now:
With the Bronco on its way to make a return after a long hiatus, we have decided to dedicate this week’s Concept We Forgot to a rather interesting showcar from the early 1980s.
The Windy City was the venue where Ford decided to take the wraps off an intriguing concept that started out in life as a 1977 Bronco. A futuristic take on the reputable off roader, the Montana Lobo stole the show with its side exhausts and bubble Plexiglas doors that were actually removable. It went through a great deal of other changes, including a more inclined windshield, side louvers, and roof-mounted extra lights with an airfoil sitting on top.
As if this wasn’t special enough, the Blue Oval decided to go with foam bumpers and installed an integrated winch. At the back, there was a nifty retractable loading ramp together with side storage compartments incorporated into the bed. Oh, and did we mention it had a digital instrument cluster and ventilated seats? That’s right, some 36 years ago.
Name: Ford Bronco DM-1
Debuted: 1988 Chicago Auto Show
Specs: Based on an Escort chassis, compatible with the 4x4 setup of the Bronco II, fiberglass steel-reinforced body panels, off-road tires
Why We Remember It Now:
A five-passenger multipurpose vehicle shaped like an egg that bears the "Bronco" name? Why yes, it's the downright obscure DM-1.
We have managed to track down the original press release from 1988 and it says the DM-1 was conceived “for driving enthusiasts in the 1990s.” A brave statement made by Ford back in the day for what essentially was a minivan with a whiff of 4x4 chops. Underneath its low-drag aerodynamic eggshell was actually the chassis of an Escort on top of which fiberglass and steel-reinforced body panels were installed.
The concept car was compatible with the 4x4 system of the Bronco II, hence why Ford decided to go with this name for its jacked-up MPV riding on off-road tires. The use of “DM” was a nod to its designer, Derek Millsap, who worked with nine advanced transportation students on this project over the course of nine months.
Inside, this one too received a digital driver’s display like the Montana Lobo and came with an early version of a GPS-based satellite navigation system. Those comfy front seats were adjustable in six different ways, while the rear bench was entirely foldable to boost cargo capacity whenever it was needed.
It was more than just a concept to exhibit at car shows as the Bronco DM-1 was in fact a drivable prototype.
As a final note, the most recent Bronco concept is from 2004 when Ford played with our emotions with a retro-flavored showcar, which sadly never made it to the assembly line. We will have the chance to see the concept beginning with April 2018 when The Rock's new "Rampage" movie will hit the big screen. Meanwhile, you can check it out at the end of the attached gallery.