Is this bucking Bronco a future Warthog variant?

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It was sort of an open secret that Ford has been developing a version of the upcoming Bronco in the same vein as its Baja-bred Raptor F-150. We’ve seen spy photos of a Bronco wearing camouflage that does little to hide its wider flares and stance, along with a long-travel suspension. Now, two recent pieces of news suggest Ford is indeed prepping a desert runner Bronco, albeit with a different name.

A filing in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, dated September 9, shows that Ford has trademarked the name “Warthog” for, “land motor vehicles, namely, passenger automobiles, pick-up trucks, sport utility vehicles”. This filing jives with rumors that Ford was considering the name of the wily brush critter for its Raptor-like Bronco.

Ford fanned the flames today, tweeting a photo of a camouflaged Bronco soaring above a dirt trail with lots of daylight underneath it.

This new mule wears the same bubbled-dots camouflage on the grille and hood as we’ve previously seen. It also looks like the airborne Bronco is wearing the same wheels and BF Goodrich All-Terrain tires, but this prototype is wearing a different ID number and the holes in the grille camouflage don’t quite match up.

Thanks to the chunky camouflage, we can’t make out many other details. Both the previous spy photos and the image from Ford’s tweet revealed that the rear lower control arms of this vehicle are of a beefier design than the regular off-roader. The standard Bronco uses a tubular steel part, while the mules both use a skeletonized rectangular box that’s taller in cross-section. Compare it with the photos of the upcoming standard Bronco that Ford has shared.

Ford Bronco Rear axle and suspension
2021 Ford Bronco rear axle and suspension Ford

The same goes for the front suspension. Take a close look at the photo from the tweet and it looks like the “Warthog” mule might have a sturdier lower control arm casting. Again, contrast it with the regular Bronco’s front lower control arm below.

The upgraded off-road suspension and high-flying testing shows that Ford is serious with this newest Bronco derivative. Of course, the previous two generations of Raptor prove the Blue Oval knows how to build a fun long-travel ride from the factory. We can hardly wait to see more of this brutish Bronco as the camo comes off and we get more dirt on the hardware.

First, there was Sasquatch. Now there very well may be a Warthog, although a trademark filing is far from a smoking gun in terms of what this beast will actually be called. Still, with a throwback design, an enthusiast focus, and downright cartoonish names, Ford seems to be pulling a page from the Mopar playbook and having a lot of fun with their toys. We’re totally on board.

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