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First Look At Pre-production 2021 Ford Broncos Manufactured At Michigan Assembly Plant

Even though production for the 2021 Ford Bronco doesn’t start until next year, the first early production models were assembled at the historic Michigan Assembly Plant where previous generation Broncos were manufactured. Ford also will offer a new color, Lightning Blue, to those who ordered a First Edition Bronco.

There’s just been a whirlwind of news regarding Bronco coming out of Dearborn. First, as we were the first to report, Ford confirmed this week that the 2.3-liter Broncos with the Sasquatch package could get a manual transmission.

However, in the same breath, Ford revealed that the manual transmission would not be available on the 2.7-liter Ecoboost engine, at this time.

Thanks to the website Bronco Nation, we were able to see the first couple of Broncos that rolled of the historic Michigan Assembly Plant (MAP) production line. If that doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will.

2021 Ford Bronco preproductionPre-Production Broncos
Bronco Nation broke the news and released the photos graciously to us at Torque News of the two pre-production Broncos that ran through the assembly line at MAP. These pre-production models serve a couple roles.

One is to allow Ford engineers to inspect these trucks for flaws, durability and reliability. It’s almost like a dry run version of the final product.

I’ve been in pre-production vehicles before and they’re often slightly different and have fewer finalized details with them. Nevertheless, it’s exciting to see two complete, final Broncos.

What we see in the photos is a two-door base trim Bronco and also a four-door Badlands trim. Both have the 2.3-liter engine with the four-door Bronco having the 10-speed automatic transmission. The base trim two-door was equipped with the seven-speed manual transmission.

Remember, Ford already announced several adventure-inspired concepts including an Outer Banks Fishing Guide, Two-Door Trail Rig, and Bronco Sport RZR.

2021 Ford Bronco preproductionFirst Public Appearance For Ford Bronco
Almost like a celebrity making an appearance at a swanky club, the Bronco is in high demand to make appearances at various events this fall.

Ford announced that a group of Broncos (a herd?) that includes two-door, four-door and the Bronco Sport would be making an appearance the Bronco Super Celebration event in Townsend, Tennessee, October 7-10.

There was a rumor that the Bronco would make an appearance at the Texas State Fair, but that event was cancelled unfortunately due to COVID-19.

Lightning Blue Ford BroncoA Lightning Blue Bronco
Ford’s PR guru Mike Levine tweeted out: Shazam! Can finally share there’s a new color choice for Bronco First Edition customers #LightningBlue.

We already know that Ford had to extend First Edition orders due to the high demand. So, now those who got their orders placed are rewarded with this new, exciting color. I wonder how many actually ordered theirs in Lightning Blue.

Lightning Blue is the fourth shade of blue available for the Bronco line. The other three available colors are: velocity blue, antimatter blue and Area 51.

How can you not love the name of Area 51? If I were ordering a Bronco, that’s the color I’d pick.

2021 Ford Bronco preproductionWhen can I order a Ford Bronco?
For those who missed out on the aforementioned First Editions, the Build and Price matrix at is set to go live next month (October). The official date in October has not yet been announced.

After Bronco fans go crazy in the Build and Price matrix, they will convert to actual orders. The first orders are expected to open in December with delivery starting in spring of 2021.

Considering the year Ford has endured, it’s amazing how they’ve recovered. As bad as the first half of 2020 was for them (pandemic and all), the second half has included the return of the iconic Bronco and also the successful launch of the 14th-generation Ford F-150. As I reported, production has just started on the 2021 F-150 with deliveries of these pickup trucks starting as early November.

Special thanks to Bronco Nation for permission to use their photos.

Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.