Ford just announced their new Bronco this week, and I have to say I’m really admiring the look of it. As much as everyone claims they want a bare-bones model with no features at all, nobody would buy one, so the packages start at $28K and go top into the 60’s. I’d assume these will be $10K above list price for the first couple of years, as Ford pretty much knows they’ve got a winner on their hands. As long as they don’t fuck it up too badly, I see these selling like hotcakes.

My personal preference is for either the base-level model with 2.3 liter engine and 6-speed manual (the only way I’d buy one of these, frankly, is with a manual) or the next model up (the “Big Bend”). Optional packages would give us some features we’ve never had in a vehicle: two-door lock and unlock functionality, 110V/150W AC power outlet, ambient footwell lighting, dual-zone electronic automatic temperature control, and heated front seats, among others.

In other Bronco-related news, Hemmings just ran an article about Ford’s attempt to redesign the Bronco in early 1971, and it’s fascinating to look at the pictures of what could have been and where they were looking for inspiration. They started with something that looked great to begin with and generated some of the ugliest redesigns I’ve ever seen. Nothing about the new concepts feels balanced, looks attractive, or works with any of their design cues from that era; the initial sketches have some of the DNA of the full-size trucks but as they looked at the competition (there’s a Scout poster in one of the photos, and later clay models are posed outside with a Range Rover and a Scout in the background) they smoothed the edges until it became a bland stick of butter. The grille treatments alone make me want to barf. They couldn’t figure out how to finish anything behind the A pillar—all of the tailgates look like dogshit—and the side profile looks smaller and more station-wagony as they go. I was always a fan of the 2nd gen Bronco (using the cab of the full-size pickups) so they eventually landed on their feet, but this is a horrifying could-have-been.

Date posted: July 18, 2020 | Filed under Design, Inspiration | Leave a Comment »

So Tesla unveiled their Cybertruck last night, to the resounding shock of, well, pretty much everybody. While the specs sound fantastic (more towing capacity than a F150, better ground clearance, etc.) the whole thing is wrapped up in a body that looks like lousy origami or a first-year automotive design student’s initial study. When compared to the graceful curves of the Model S or 3, this looks unfinished. And there are practical considerations ignored that look like they never studied how real people use real trucks: that tailgate will be rendered useless after one trip to the Home Depot.

And what a terrible fucking name.

Date posted: November 22, 2019 | Filed under Design | Leave a Comment »

Here are some crappy cellphone shots of my kick panels. The driver’s side was patched crudely before I got the truck, but the passenger’s side has always been swiss cheesy. I think I’ll wait for warm weather, take the angle grinder to both sides, and hit them with some rust encapsulator. One of my goals for this year is to get a decent welding rig and start practicing again so that I can take some smaller repair projects on; this would be a good one.

drivers side kick
Driver’s side

pass side kick
Passenger’s side. Interesting to see the original gold paint there, isn’t it?

In other news, a printing vendor I use at work had a special on circle-cut stickers last week. I’ve been noodling with a design for our ad-hoc Maryland IH group, called Old Line State Binders, but I was having a hard time nailing down a design incorporating the Maryland flag. It’s a great flag but very visually busy, and in the last year there’s been a glut of shape-plus-flag stickers out there: a crab, deer, dogs, mustaches, etc.

My original idea was to use something ubiquitous to vintage 4-wheel-drive trucks: the locking hub. That part was pretty easy to nail down, and I took away some of the visual clutter to clean up the image. Integrating the flag and the name was the hard part. In order to keep the design circular (and get my cheap stickers before the deal expired), I left out the name and went with the following design:

sticker

Eventually I’ll figure out how the rest of the design should look. If you’d like a couple, drop me a line and I’ll send you one when I get them.

I’ve been really quiet on the Scout front for the last year or so due to work and family commitments. I haven’t visited the Binder Planet in ages. I’m hoping to get some time in the spring to organize a meeting and get back in touch with people.

Date posted: February 2, 2016 | Filed under Design, Repairs | 2 Comments »

FullSizeRender

A nice fella on the Binder Planet had these stickers made up and offered them to the community. They were too groovy to pass up.

Date posted: July 2, 2015 | Filed under Design | Leave a Comment »

4L-N-2H-4H

Date posted: June 19, 2014 | Filed under Design | Leave a Comment »

RothScout

Date posted: October 9, 2013 | Filed under Design | Leave a Comment »

From The Truth About Cars, a great article about the VW Harlequin (1996 Golf).

At its core, the Golf Harlequin was, quite simply, a multi-colored Volkswagen Golf manufactured only for the 1996 model year. But, like most things in the car world – and everything in the Volkswagen world – there’s a lot more to it than that.

Date posted: March 13, 2013 | Filed under Design | Leave a Comment »

I took a little downtime before the snow flew the other day to run up the Scout, do a few errands, and slip my rollbar pads on. They fit really well! So well, in fact, that I dusted off a pair of inserts I had up in the rafters of the garage and put them in for old time’s sake. These are the originals from Chewbacca so the passenger’s side is cracked where a protruding bolt head made it impossible to slide between the bar and the window. Luckily, I’ve got another good set covered in red river dust waiting to be cleaned up.

Pads and inserts

On the Binder Planet, a member called 540fan built a bumper based on the plans Brian and I developed, and it turned out really well. One thing I really like about his setup is how he handled the swingarm stop—an elegant and simple plate welded to the top right side prevents the swingarm from going past 180°. He also mounted his Hi-Lift on the backside of the triangle below the spare instead of the face of the bumper, so he was able to add a couple of clevis mounts to the face. It looks like his hinge pin mount is different as well; I think he may have welded it directly to the face of the bumper instead of adding standoffs. Overall, it looks great and I’m happy I was able to help lay some groundwork.

attachment

Date posted: March 7, 2013 | Filed under Bumper, Design, Inspiration, Progress | 1 Comment »

So this was the original plan, laid out sometime early last year:

And here’s the new plan, based on lots of mocking up and thinking and head-scratching and more than a little beer-drinking:

Date posted: January 8, 2012 | Filed under Bumper, Design, Progress | Leave a Comment »

I’ve passed by this example of Brooks Stevens’ handiwork many times and never had the opportunity to stop and look. It’s a bit rough around the edges, the fenders have been chopped, and there’s a bit of spray foam in the interior fender cavities, but it’s in decent shape for a 20-year-old piece of oxidizing metal. That look is so iconic and so unique. I’ve always said, if I didn’t have a Scout, I’d have a Land Rover. If I couldn’t have a Rover, I’d have an FJ-40. And if I couldn’t have one of those, I’d have a Wagoneer.

Date posted: November 20, 2011 | Filed under Design | Leave a Comment »