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Ford caught us by surprise just a little bit today with its Bronco R – a prototype Baja racer that is also a teaser for the street-legal machine folks will eventually be able to buy. We were only a little bit surprised because’s Gabriel Vega was actually at Ford’s Bronco R event in the desert near Las Vegas. With camera in tow, he got up-close and personal to the boxy off-roader, and that was before jumping into the barebones cockpit for a ride.

Ford tells us this machine hints at what the production Bronco will look like. It’s a tantalizing preview for sure, though we also know it’s extensively modified for racing. Among other things, the chassis utilizes Fox suspension components that deliver 14 inches of travel in front, and a full 18 inches at the rear. Massive 37-inch tires stick well beyond the Bronco R’s already wide fenders – all the better for high-speed off-roading but don’t expect this look find its way to production models.

Gallery: Ford Bronco R

As for power, Ford didn’t offer any details aside from saying the engine has two turbochargers. That could mean a few different variations of Ford’s EcoBoost V6, though our man on the ground thought the engine resembled the 2.7-liter mill. As you can see from the video and photos, the Bronco R is most decidedly a purpose-built racing machine, though we’re a bit said the ride-along didn’t include some airborne antics.

There’s still no official word on when the production Bronco will arrive, but Ford is planning to take the Bronco R to Baja later in November for the legendary 1,000-mile off-road event.

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