We love an automotive mystery. The users on the Bronco 6G forum discovered an odd listing for a 2023 Ford Bronco Oates using the vehicle identification number decoder available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
According to the decoder, the Oates will only be available on the two-door 2023 Bronco. They will be identifiable from "E4J" being the fifth through seventh characters in the VIN.
Motor1.com reached out to Ford for additional information about this model.
The users on the Bronco 6G forum are wildly speculating about what this vehicle could be because there's no other info available. The leading thought is that Oates could be an initialization, similar to the model's GOAT modes, which stands for "Goes Over Any Type of Terrain."
There are also lots of jokes about this model somehow being related to pop star John Oates of the band Hall & Oates. Perhaps this Bronco will be a maneater.
Since the Bronco's revival for the 2021 model year, Ford has already introduced a bounty of additional trim levels and special packages that weren't part of the lineup at launch. The current range-topper is the Raptor with a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 pumping out 418 horsepower (311 kilowatts) and 440 pound-feet (596 Newton-meters) of torque. Power runs through a 10-speed automatic. Plus, there are larger driveshafts and Dana axles.
There's also the 2022 Bronco Everglades with a focus on going through swamps. It can ford up to 36.4 inches of water thanks in part to a snorkel. The graphics on the side double as an indication of how deep the water is. Inside, there's a marine-grade vinyl interior and rubberized floor mats for easier cleanup.
The 2022 Bronco Wildtrak is available with a new HOSS 3.0 package for customers who want to go off-roading. The equipment includes Fox 2.5-inch internal bypass dampers, revised spring rates, severe-duty steering rack and tie rod ends from Ford Performance, a front skid plate, and a powder-coated steel bumper with integrated fog lights.
For 2023, Ford is expanding the lineup even more with the vintage-inspired Heritage Edition that reportedly fits between the Wildtrack and Everglades.
Sources: Bronco 6G, NHTSA