Ford isn’t about to let the Jeep Wrangler be the end-all, be-all, in outdoorsy off-road fun machines. As such it’s making sure the upcoming 2021 Bronco will match or beat the Wrangler in every aspect that makes it so versatile—at least, that’s the takeaway from these recent patent filings.

We previously speculated that the Bronco will have removable doors, and that’s now a near certainty, according to Patent US010166913. It appears to show the side mirrors mounted to the A-pillars, not the doors. That’s key to allowing the driver to, you know, see what’s behind them while enjoying some open-side Bronco’ing. Note that the vehicle in the illustration is a Troller T4, not a Bronco.


The patent further details how a light assembly inside the mirror provides various forms of illumination. It seems to integrate an exterior puddle lamp, as well as interior lighting when the vehicle is in a door-off configuration. Turn signals could also be mounted inside the mirror. It appears mounting the side mirrors in this way would maintain compatibility with the Bronco’s door-replacing impact beam.

Granted, this positioning has the potential to be a bit questionable aesthetically. Bolting the mirrors to the middle of the A-pillar could give the Bronco a somewhat Dumbo-eared look. If nothing else, they could obstruct forward visibility and churn up wind noise. However, the JL Wrangler’s side mirrors are door-mounted, so Jeep drivers must either fit gangly auxiliary mirrors in their place or stick their heads clear out of the opening to look before changing lanes.

We also spotted Patent US20190270414, showing a removable roof rack and cross-bar system. Roof racks are nothing new, but modularity and versatility seem to be key aspects of this system. The rails are intended to be easily adjustable, and we surmise they’ll be compatible with the Bronco’s retractable cloth roof option. That could be why their quick detachability is novel—after all, who would want unsightly roof rails obstructing their view of the big blue sky?

These patents are more crumbs in the trail of clues we’re following leading up to the big reveal of the 2021 Bronco. Only Ford knows to what extent—if at all—these features may be integrated into the production vehicle, but clearly the brand aims to conquest even die-hard Jeep fans.

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