Every once in a while, a set of spy photos comes across our desks that force a double take. Or, in the case of the photos you see just above, a triple or quadruple take. We still can't say with certainty that we know what we're looking at here, other than the fact that it was screwed together by engineers at Ford, but we'll make some educated guesses — and they all involve the exciting word "Bronco."
We'll start with the obvious. Most of the bodywork comes from an F-150 Raptor, including the bulging fenders, the aggressive front fascia, and the flared truck bed. In profile, it's possible to just make out blue-topped Fox Shox ahead of the rear wheels, just like you'd find on a Raptor and confirming that it's not based on the Ranger platform, which has a different rear shock configuration. But that's not the end of the story — this mule, or prototype, or whatever it is, is much shorter than even the stubbiest Raptor's 133-inch wheelbase.
More to the point, it's shorter than any F-150, period. Ford doesn't offer any configuration of the F-150 with a single-cab and a short bed. The shortest wheelbase F-150 overall is the single cab with the 6.5-inch bed, at 122.4 inches, and this looks like its wheelbase is more than a foot shorter. We think it's unlikely Ford will produce a single-cab, short-bed F-150 Raptor. And this clearly isn't the Ranger-based Bronco we've seen in other spy shots. Which leads us to the exciting but slightly confusing prospect that this could actually be a prototype for a new full-size Bronco.
Ford has previously said it wants to build a family of Broncos, including the Ranger-based Bronco and the "Baby Bronco" crossover (that could be called the Bronco Scout). But we haven't heard anything serious about a full-size Bronco in recent memory. Ford hasn't sold a full-size Bronco in America since 1996. While it's not beyond the realm of possibility that Ford has such a vehicle in the works, we're left with lots of questions.
Whatever we're looking at, it certainly looks intriguing and we can't wait to find out what Ford's plans are for this vehicle.