Gateway Bronco is reshaping the high-end 4×4 market with help from Australia

Gateway Bronco

The vintage 4×4 market has been hot for years, following closely on the heels of the muscle car and sports car markets. Just like their performance car brethren, ’60s 4×4 pickups and particularly SUVs have seen a boom in demand for turn-key restomods that bring modern power and reliability. We’ve driven restomod trucks and 4x4s from a number of builders and have always come away impressed with the build quality and style, yet Gateway Bronco is looking to go one step further with its latest addition to the lineup.

Gateway Bronco founder Seth Burgett behind the wheel of a Luxe-GT Bronco Brandan Gillogly
The impetus for creating Gateway Bronco came when company founder Seth Burgett was in the market for a high-end restomod Bronco and was ready to purchase one, only to discover that demand was so high and production times were so long, that he’d be forced to wait several years to get his own. Burgett had recently sold the company he’d founded and decided that he’d turn his passion for early Broncos into his next business. The goal, according to Burgett, was to create the best vintage Broncos on the planet. He admits it’s a bold claim, but he went to great lengths to make it happen, investing heavily in market research, engineering, and production.

Not only is the market for these high-end 4x4s hot, it’s expanding, and Gateway’s offerings should help them appeal to a wider, albeit affluent audience. Its Broncos start at $180,000 for the Fuelie model, which uses a reproduction factory chassis and suspension. The Coyote model starts at $250,000 and uses a more modern four-link suspension front and rear. The new Luxe-GT will start at $400,000, with plenty of options to take them much higher.

Gateway Bronco
Gateway starts with new, Ford-licensed reproduction Bronco bodies and uses all-new parts throughout. The first order of business is thorough welding of the seams to reinforce the structure before those seams are coated in sealant and the entire underside is sprayed in polyurethane. The TIG-welding process takes a few days and results in a more rigid body, helping keep the door and tailgate gaps tight and uniform, which can be tough in a vehicle without a roof. While most restored or restomodded Broncos, including Gateway’s Fuelie, use a reproduction frame, the Luxe-GT has a proprietary frame developed in Australia by Premcar Ltd. We may not be familiar with that name in the States, but Premcar was formerly Prodrive Automotive Technology Australia and in that capacity did work for Ford, Toyota, and Nissan building low-volume specialty performance cars and 4x4s—about 200,000 of them all told, including the high-zoot Falcons that used turbo Barra inline-six power. Quite the reputation.

Given the challenge of creating a chassis to give the classic Bronco modern street manners, Premcar started with the newest body-on-frame architecture around, Ford’s T6 platform. Using the same frame rail sections as a late-model Ranger or Bronco, Premcar created proprietary crossmembers to get a narrower chassis to fit the classic Bronco body. The tall, boxed frame rails help increase the chassis stiffness, which is up 70 percent compared to the stock reproduction piece used in the Fuelie. The chassis also includes crush structures front and rear to absorb crash damage. Although it was engineered in Australia, the new chassis is assembled at an ISO 9000 facility by Michigan’s RLE International, which previously has lent its engineering expertise to companies including Ford, Fisker, and Rivian.

The Luxe-GT’s suspension, while looking like a modern Bronco’s at first glance, features unique control arms and geometry. Premcar was also tasked with developing an antilock braking system that integrates with traction control and stability control systems to truly set the Luxe-GT apart from the rest of the high-end restomod 4×4 competition. Even with all-terrain tires, the braking system affords the Luxe-GT an impressive stopping time; Gateway recorded the halt from 60 mph to 0 at 143 feet, putting it in spitting distance of a new Land Rover Defender 90. That kind of performance, along with the ability to keep the vehicle pointed where the driver wants, even under panic braking situations, will be an important selling point to buyers who want to let their kids drive their classic Bronco.

Gateway invited us to extend our Monterey Car Week coverage to include a two-day drive with some of their latest Bronco builds around Carmel Valley and Big Sur. They were also so confident of their product’s on-road prowess that they brought along a Mercedes G-Wagen and a Range Rover Sport for back-to-back comparison drives. To see how much of a difference the new chassis makes, we also drove Gateway’s previous top-of-the-line Bronco, which used a Kincer chassis with four-link suspension front and rear. That Bronco, like many of the high-end custom versions we’ve driven in the past, had solid road manners, although it did require more precise attention to keep it on its desired path. While a major improvement over the stock radius-arm front/leaf-spring rear suspension of the original, it still had a decidedly classic 4×4 feel to it, despite its Coyote V-8 and 10-speed auto powertrain. No doubt, many buyers will like that kind of tactile sensation. It is still a classic car, after all, and that’s part of the appeal.

Gateway Bronco
The new Luxe-GT, conversely, felt nothing like a classic Bronco and much more like its late-model luxury SUV counterparts. It tracked straight, there was no slop in the steering, and the ride was composed. The chassis responded quickly and assertively to steering inputs. Even on the curves of Big Sur’s Highway 1, sticking in the middle of the lane was easy with just one hand on the wheel. There was also noticeably less roll when transitioning from throttle to brake compared to the vintage-style suspension, and absolutely no bumpsteer, something that will plague an original Bronco with compliant springs. The Luxe-GT absolutely delivered on Ford’s original promise to make the Bronco a 4×4 sports car, this time with much more modern expectations.

Brandan Gillogly
While a 450-hp 302 would be a snorting, rowdy machine that probably wouldn’t idle below 1000 rpm, a Coyote V-8 delivers that kind of power with the mild manners of a petting zoo pony. Of course, a romp on the pedal quickly spins up the docile Coyote into its powerband. Gateway uses tubular headers and a dual-mode exhaust that lets the Coyote howl on the top end. We found that it doesn’t drone and allows for easy conversation even when cruising with the top off. Give some of that credit to the BFGoodrich TA/K02 tires as well, which look great and have a well-earned reputation for off-road toughness while having excellent on-road manners and low road noise. Thanks to the 10-speed automatic transmission, the Coyote could pull the Bronco around on the highway at engine speeds seemingly just above idle. The shift programming in normal drive mode wasn’t particularly aggressive at seeking the highest gear possible, but for more spirited runs, dropping the column shifter down to its final detent accessed a sport mode that holds each gear longer and features rev-matching downshifts. Mashing the throttle results in quick downshifts to deliver right-now acceleration. We didn’t pack a stopwatch, but Gateway claims 0–60 mph times of 4.7 seconds—in the dirt.

Speaking of dirt, Gateway’s drive didn’t include any challenging off-road excursions, not because their Luxe-GT isn’t capable of going off the beaten path, but because it’s meant to be a daily driver as much as it’s meant to be a vessel for a weekend getaway. With full-time all-wheel-drive, 33-inch tires (35s are optional), and the original Bronco’s compact footprint and minimal overhangs, the Luxe-GT is every bit as capable off-road as the original, and then some. As Burgett can attest after shaking down the Luxe-GT test mule in Australia, it’s able to tackle dirt roads at high speed without worrying about ending up sideways—or worse.

Gateway’s assembly line process, with employees focused on specialized roles, aims to cut lead times down to 14 weeks. That would put production at about 100 units per year, a goal the company hopes to hit next year after being on schedule to deliver 75 trucks this year. Gateway plans to shift the production mix according to demand, but Burgett believes there’s a market for about a quarter of that output to be Luxe-GT models. To make sure those customers feel confident with their purchase, the top-of-the-line Luxe-GT will come with a seven-year bumper-to-bumper warranty and offer field service, with a technician dispatched to the vehicle to diagnose and remedy any issues (this is up from three years on the Fuelie and Coyote models).

Several companies offer high-quality Broncos. Gateway seeks to set itself apart from the competition not only with its assembly-line production, which shortens lead times, but with the new Luxe-GT and all its impressive modernity. For buyers who can have just about any car they’d like, Gateway offers the kind of peace of mind that can’t be found anywhere else.


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    A better alternative would be a daily driver Gen1, a new Bronco for daily driving and a new Bronco setup for heavy off-roading that you wouldn’t care about getting beaten up. You’d still be cheaper than the cheapest option Gateway offers. Yes, I get it–some people have so much money to play with, money is no object. I just can’t think like those people, because I wouldn’t have thought there was a market for a $400K repro Bronco, let alone 25 per year.

    Right !!! These are hot rods not restorations . Ever think a bronco would have independent front suspension !! Never .

    A properly restored & even slightly restomoded original Bronco would probably be just as cool & a lot cheaper than 1 of these. You could probably buy a nice restored example & add a few tricks on your own & still not hit $180,000-400,000. That is just dumb to think because they added this or that & decided it was worth that much more.

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