By James Raia
Ford Motor Company claims the association to O.J. Simpson was unintentional. But the re-debut of its iconic Bronco sport utility vehicle nearly 25 years after it first departed has been delayed for four days. The reason: It won’t now coincide with the notorious Simpson’s birthday.
Simpson, the former Heisman Trophy winner and National Football League star, was wanted in the 1994 slayings of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman. After Simpson failed to turn himself in, a national television audience of 95 million watched for hours as the drama unfolded as Simpson was slowly being pursued by law enforcement vehicles on Los Angeles freeway. He was the passenger in a 1993 white Bronco driven by his friend.
Simpson was acquitted a year later in one of the most closely watched murder trials in American history. But the Bronco has since been associated with that bizarre day.
The new Bronco will now debut on July 13, not as originally planned on July 9.
Ford officials said it was “pure coincidence” when they announced earlier this week the original date for the debut, but which was quickly changed to avoid the inevitable connection to Simpson.
“The reveal of the all-new Ford Bronco lineup will now happen on Monday, July 13,” Ford public relations chief Mark Truby said in a Friday afternoon tweet. “The previously targeted date of July 9 unintentionally coincided with O.J. Simpson’s birthday. We wanted to be sensitive and respectful of this concern.”
Ford dropped the Bronco in 1996, two years after the Simpson police chase. A classic, truck-based utility vehicle, it had allegations of safety design problems linked to various rollover crashes.
While specifics haven’t been released, the new Bronco may have a towing capacity of as much as 7,500 pounds, 500 more than the 1996 Bronco. With several drive train options, the towing capacity will vary.
James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, California, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign-ups are available on his website, www.theweeklydriver.com. He can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.