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Believe it or not, we're only – checks calendar – eight days away from Christmas. That means now is the perfect time for automakers to start unveiling whatever silly holiday-centric features they have. In past years, some companies have gone all out and built full-fledged sleighs or absurdly fast Christmas tree haulers, but Ford did something a bit different. The company dug through its archives and recreated a photo that the general public has never seen before.

The image pictured below (left) shows a Gen-I Bronco covered in ice, loaded up with presents, and with Santa Claus behind the wheel. Heritage and Archives manager Ted Ryan, uncovered the image after it was tucked away in the archives of the company for 52 years. Ford took the original photo in November of 1968, for the internal magazine Ford World, but never published it.

Ford Bronco With Santa
Ford Bronco With Santa

Now Ford has released the two original images alongside a wonderful recreation of that very moment, now with Santa behind the wheel of the brand-new 2021 Bronco. Just like in the images from 50 years ago, the new shots show Santa and the new Bronco in Ford's cold room lab, which sits at a frigid 30 degrees below zero. The exact spec is a two-door Outer Banks model with the Sasquatch Package, a brush bar, and a modular front bumper. Naturally, the exterior wears a festive Race Red clear coat similar to the original.

This is a fun way for Ford to help ring in the holidays, as well as a good opportunity to show off a bit of history. The new Bronco, of course, pays homage to that iconic original with its retro styling and rugged capabilities. Buyers interested in recreating this image on their own terms can pick up the new Bronco next year when it officially hits dealerships.

Gallery: Ford Bronco With Santa

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Deeply tucked away within the Ford Archives for 52 years, Ted Ryan (our heritage & archives manager) found an unpublished set of Gen-I Bronco images taken on November 4, 1968. It was then, that Santa Claus stopped by Dearborn and checked out Ford product development’s cold room labs to ensure the Goes Over All Terrain 4x4 was ready for his needs.

Based on Ted’s findings, it appears the cold room testing photographs were shot for Ford World, a bi-weekly internal newspaper about products and associates – but never used.

Today, we’d like to share these historic gems with you, as well as our remake of this never-before-seen classic. Pictured in the remake, Santa is now back in the 30-degree below-zero cold room with a 2021 Bronco 2-door Outer Banks with Sasquatch Package, Brush Bar and Modular Front Bumper. Of course, the ice-covered Gen VI Bronco is lacquered in holiday-fitting Race Red clear coat.

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