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Back in the mid-1960s, Ford needed another blockbuster hit following the success of the wildly popular Mustang. Ford’s research showed that many people were buying surplus World War II jeeps, but the company figured that buyers wanted more creature comforts than the crude military vehicles provided. Hence, the Bronco was created—a pioneering model that the company referred to as a “sports-utility vehicle.”
The goal for the Bronco was to deliver a better combination of on- and off-road performance, as well as a more civilized ride, compared with the military vehicles, including the company’s own M-51 (aka military utility vehicle or Mutt). Indeed, Ford’s press materials at the time said the new Bronco was “equally at home on rugged mountain grades or on a run to the shopping center.” That description evokes the internal project name G.O.A.T., an acronym for