1988 Ford Bronco XLT Lariat
2dr Wagon 4x4
6-cyl. 300cid/145hp MFI OHV
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
The so-called “brick nose” fourth generation Ford Bronco was launched in the 1987 model year. It shared a common front fascia with the eighth generation Ford F-150 pickup and the square profile was changed to softer, more sloping lines for the hood, bumper, and mirrors. The grille was also flatter, and wheel openings were restyled. The chassis and 104.7-inch wheelbase were unchanged from the previous generation, while weight rose to 4740 pounds for the heaviest V-8 models.
Powerplants remained the same, though the 300 cubic inch OHV six-cylinder engine gained multi-point fuel injection and power rose to 145 horsepower. Other engines were the 185-hp 302 cid V-8 and the 210-hp 351 cid Windsor V-8. The latter engine gained fuel injection for the 1988 model year.
Transmission options for the fourth generation Ford Bronco included a manual 4-speed Borg-Warner T-18 gearbox with a “Granny” 1st gear for 1987, though it was replaced by a Mazda M500D-R2 5-speed manual from 1988. The C6 3-speed automatic transmission was available from 1987-90 when it was superseded by the overdrive AOD 4-speed automatic in 1990, then the heavy duty E40D unit from 1991. Manual locking hubs were standard but also available was shift-on-the-fly electronic Touch Drive. Power disc front and drum rear brakes were standard.
The Bronco was available as Custom, XLT or Eddie Bauer packages, with interior revised to be more like a passenger car than a pickup. Front seats could be low-back buckets or captain’s chairs with a center console with cupholders. The rear seat was a flip-up design.
A total of 12 colors were available. Five were solid colors: Raven Black, Scarlet Red, Cabernet Red, Colonial White, and Light Chestnut. Seven were metallics: Dark Grey, Medium Silver, Alpine Green, Bright Regatta Blue, Deep Shadow Blue, Desert Tan, and Dark Chestnut. The removable rear roof could be Raven Black, Light Chestnut, Deep Shadow Blue, or Colonial White. These could be combined with two-tone exterior packages in Deluxe and Victoria patterns.
Ford celebrated 25 years of Bronco production with a Silver Anniversary Edition Bronco for the 1991 model year. As a cosmetic option package, the Silver Anniversary Edition featured exclusive Currant Red exterior paint and a gray leather interior.
For 1991 through 1992, the optional Nite package featured a blacked-out exterior with contrasting graphics, either Azalea Pink or Aegean Blue stripes. Stripes were crystal blue and charcoal or pink and scarlet. As with the top-of-the-line Eddie Bauer trim, both special editions were available only with a V-8 engine and automatic transmission.
Fourth Generation Bronco sales were steady through five years production with 1989 being the best year. Unit sales were: 1987 (43,074); 1988 (43,074); 1989 (69,470); 1990 (54,832); and 1991 (25,001). A six-year, 100,000-mile rust protection warranty was offered, along with a lifetime service warranty as long as the original owner kept the vehicle.
There was no factory four-door version of the Bronco – unlike the Chevrolet Suburban. However, from 1987-96 the Centurion Classic was offered. This was a Ford F-350 crew cab pickup with the rear bodywork of a Bronco. It was built by Centurion Vehicles of White Pigeon, Michigan.
A fifth generation Ford Bronco debuted for 1992, and Ford sold it until 1996. With declining sales, however, Ford discontinued the model and there were no more Broncos until the much-hyped relaunch in 2021.