More Ford Bronco features possibly outed in new patent applications

The Bronco could feature a removable roof frame and even repackable airbags.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
Bronco removable roof patent

It's almost a certainty the Bronco will have some open-air capability.


As we draw closer to the new Ford Bronco's debut this coming spring, the internet continues to work its magic and blow up any scrap of rumor or intrigue on the hotly anticipated SUV. This time, we have potential new information thanks to two new patent applications.

Car and Driver first reported on Friday on the two patent applications, which the United States Patent and Trademark Office published earlier this month. The first of the two depicts a removable roof frame, which looks awfully reminiscent of the Broncos of yore.

The description mentions a permanent B-pillar, while the upper parts of the B-, C- and D-pillars would lift off. The upper B-pillar would slot into the permanent B-pillar when drivers want the total roof frame. What's not clear is if this structure actually houses the roof and associated body panels. Otherwise, owners would need to also remove those pieces separately, though that seems like a lot of work. 

The good news is this design, according to the patent description, doesn't affect structural rigidity; open-top motoring should be easy in the Bronco, if this element makes it to production.

Ford Bronco comes to life in off-road-ready R form

See all photos

Ford didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, but expect zero information when it comes to the upcoming Bronco.

The second patent application surrounds repackable airbags, and if you're wondering why that's even a thing, let me explain. Should the airbags deploy while the roof is off, side curtain units can make it super difficult for the driver to see. If there's an incident in a less populated area and the driver needs to move the car to grab some attention, trying to see through massive airbags won't help.

Ford Bronco repackable airbags patent

Thankfully, patent images aren't representative of the final product.


Drivers would be able to repack the airbags and stuff them back into their cover. Then, they can easily see without worrying about an obstructed view. This patent application also mentioned weatherproofing for the airbags -- ideal for the places Bronco owners will inevitably take their SUVs .

That's the latest drip-drip of information on the SUV, but stay tuned as we approach spring. The Bronco will be here before you know it.

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