The original Bronco was an ORV (Off-Road Vehicle), intended to compete primarily with Jeep CJ models and the International Harvester Scout. The Bronco's small size riding on a 92-inch (2,337 mm) wheelbase made it maneuverable for some uses, but impractical as a tow vehicle. The Bronco was Ford's first compact SUV.
The idea behind the Bronco began with Ford product manager Donald N. Frey, who also conceived the Ford Mustang; and similarly, Lee Iacocca pushed the idea through into production. In many ways, the Bronco was a more original concept than the Mustang; whereas the Mustang was based upon the Ford Falcon, the Bronco had a frame, suspension, and a body that were not shared with any other vehicle.