Ford is resurrecting the Bronco nameplate, and while we’ve spotted countless prototypes and test mules, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the new SUV. But new models aren’t shrouded in complete secrecy. Trademark and patent filings are a peek at what an automaker could do down the road, and there are plenty that could be about the upcoming Ford Bronco. The Drive collected nine patents for removable doors, but the most interesting tidbit gleaned is the side mirrors located on the A-pillars.
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It’s a strange location, but an ingenious solution for a company looking for ways to remove the doors without hindering rearward visibility. Several of the sketches – which are not of the new Bronco – show an SUV with A-pillar-mounted side mirrors. One patent explains how a doorless SUV could provide puddle lighting thanks to the A-pillar-mounted side mirrors.
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Safety was another focus of the various patents with several showing how Ford would provide a doorless SUV with side airbags and other safety equipment. Options ranged from a rod that’d shoot across the door opening and inflate an airbag while another solution used two safety rails. Ford also filed a patent for storing the doors once they're removed – but it doesn't look like a panacea. One Ford patent explained a split-detachable door.
There’s a good chance the production version of the Ford Bronco may feature all, none, or some of the features highlighted in the company’s patents. Automakers often file patents just in case an idea makes it to production.
We also have several unanswered questions about Ford’s new SUV. We know little other than that it’ll return next year. But rumors and patent filings are all we have, and it’s not like Ford is forthcoming with information about its future product. Ask Ford about the next Mustang or Chevy about the mid-engine Corvette Z06, and you’ll get a boilerplate response along the lines of “We do not comment on future products.”
But one of the most consistent rumors regarding the Bronco has been that it’d come with removable doors. We can see Ford is trying to make that rumor real when we look at the patents.