The Bronco DR is a turn-key Baja racer with Coyote V-8 power

Larry Chen

When surprises happen near Las Vegas, there’s always the chance it’ll end badly. (Think tiger-in-the-hotel-room situation.) However, now that Ford just unveiled a Bronco DR race truck at its Off-Rodeo facility outside of Las Vegas, we’ll be the first to judge this a welcome development ahead of this week’s SEMA show.

The DR, for Desert Racer, is a limited-edition, factory-built 4×4 meant to take on Baja—and win. Starting with a Bronco four-door, the DR uses the production frame but adds a custom body, an extensive roll cage, a longer-travel suspension, and a 400-horsepower Coyote V-8. The former four-door is now actually a, uh, no-door, because the cage means there’s no way for a door to open. On top of that, the race-ready body has wide flares and needs a big scoop to feed the rear-mounted radiator where the rear window once sat.

Those fender flares cover a 73.7-inch front track and 73.3-inch rear track. Brandan Gillogly

Ford plans to enter the Bronco DR in the 2022 SCORE Baja 1000, and it continues the brand’s long heritage in desert racing. Way back in 1969, Rod Hall piloted a Bronco to become the first 4×4 to win the Baja 1000 (then known as the Mexican 1000). Since the current Bronco and Bronco Sport have debuted, Ford has made Bronco its dedicated off-road racing brand, competing in the Rebelle Rally, King of the Hammers, and, of course, Baja. Appropriately, Ford teamed up with one of its favorite race partners, Multimatic, to build the Bronco DR. You’ll find an impressive set of Multimatic spool valve dampers under the DR, front and rear, complete with plenty of cooling fins and fluid reservoirs to ensure enduring performance when soaking up the worst the desert can throw at it.

Brandan Gillogly

Those shocks control a new suspension developed by Multimatic that delivers 15.8 inches of front suspension travel and 17.4 inches of rear travel, which is  55.1- and 58.6-percent more than a four-door Bronco Badlands. Multimatic (makers of the Ford GT, you may remember) also developed the impressive billet aluminum lower control arms that show prominently up front.

Brandan Gillogly

The Bronco DR rides on 37-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 tires on beadlock wheels. With the extra height, approach and departure angles are improved to 47 degrees and 37 degrees, respectively. The open back, where the cargo area used to be, holds the radiator and its fans up top, while down below is a 65-gallon fuel cell. Inside, there’s just room for driver and co-driver to be strapped in to their race seats. While some of the dash remains, engine and drivetrain info is displayed on a Motec C187 display and CAN data acquisition system.

The Bronco DR is powered by a 5.0-liter V-8 coupled with a 10-speed automatic transmission and shift-on-the-fly transfer case. The drivetrain comes from the F-150, although the DR will use unique intake and exhaust en route to output somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 hp. Front and rear lockers will use a 4.70:1 gears.

Louis Yio

Just fifty of these turn-key desert racers will be built starting in 2022, which is also when orders will open up the sure-to-be-hot commodity. Ford has not given a specific MSRP, but expects the price to be in the “mid $200,000 range”. That’s a lot of coin, but for a race-ready desert rig that looks like it could survive a zombie apocalypse it might be worth the cost of entry. If nothing else, it’s a great way to ditch the airport and get out of Vegas in a hurry—should a surprise need ever arise.

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