When Ford unveiled the 2021 Ford Bronco, it boldly declared that a seven-speed manual transmission would be available for the revived off-roader. But the announcement came with one heck of a caveat, and that was the popular Sasquatch package being left out of the shift for your self fun.
Ford claimed that the stick wouldn’t work with the some of the package’s components, but as expected, Bronco fans didn’t buy the company’s explanation one bit. It appears that Ford could perhaps be looking to make amends, with the sighting of a mysterious tester possibly hinting that the Ford’s resident cryptid is getting a manual after all.
First spotted by the folks at Bronco Nation (Ford’s licensed and approved Bronco fan site) a fleet of Bronco testers were undergoing vigorous shakedown testing in Moab, Utah. Some of the site’s members even had the opportunity to go for a ride in one of them, with the tester in question featuring the manual transmission and no Sasquatch gear.
Things get very interesting after this occurred however, with the same tester being photographed again with the larger 35-inch off-road tires, and beadlock wheels that are hallmark calling cards for the Sasquatch package. It appears that even the fender flares were removed, but the fan site was able to determine it was the same Bronco by cleverly reading and comparing the ID number mounted on the windshield.
Buy a Bronco with a MT and 33s. Add a bit of lift and then install 35s. Boom.
— Mike Levine (@mrlevine) July 15, 2020
While this sequence of events is very interesting, it’s also not definitive proof that Ford is indeed intending to unleash the setup into a fully production model. Like every other test vehicle, these SUVS are crudely cobbled together, and are designed to be rolling evaluation laboratories. A key part of this is the ability for engineers to easily remove and swap out various components in the field, and as a result, they are far from being complete production examples.
That said, Ford has hinted in the past that it’s willing to listen to feedback from Bronco fans, and is also aware that Jeep Wranglers lifted in roughly the same fashion (via the aftermarket) can be equipped with either a stick or an automatic. We hope the wait won’t be too long for an answer to this question, with the company slated to release the Bronco to showrooms next spring.