In design and engineering, there is a school of thought where you cannot look at any other designs before starting your work. Why? Because at some point other people’s ideas limit your own.

See, instead of creating something groundbreaking, your mind gets preoccupied with an existing concept. It becomes your basis, so originality dies in the process.

We have a good example of this in the automotive world, as you can hardly distinguish modern-day vehicles from one another. However, old-timers were not immune to that either. Let’s explore how rivalry led to convergence with Chevrolet Blazer and Ford Bronco!

How did the rivalry between Ford and Chevy start?

Though other automakers make terribly good competitors (e.g. Jeep Wrangler YJ in the ’80s), here in the US it always comes back to Ford vs Chevy. So, before we compare the given models, we better understand why people make it such a big deal.

It all starts with the brands’ rivalry back in the early days of automaking. Ford dominated the market with its Model T for a while. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, in 1928 Chevrolet came up with a worthy competitor. With a bit of clever marketing, the new player managed to position itself as the better alternative to Ford. And as they say, the rest is history!

Ford gave us the Mustang, Chevy followed with the Camaro. The F-150 had to battle the Silverado. And after the Bronco, came the Blazer… which then influenced Bronco’s second-gen. But who copied who?

Ford and Chevrolet enter the SUV market

Surprisingly, the first generation of Bronco had nothing to do with the rivalry between the companies. In fact, it was meant as a competitor to Jeep CJ and International Harvester Scout. It even resembles the latter quite a lot.

Seeing how the SUV segment was growing, Chevrolet wanted a piece of that pie, too. Funny enough, the automaker also considered the CJ and Scout as main competitors, at least initially. It turned out different though!

Now we get to the tricky part – the lookalike controversy. People often claim that the 2nd gen Bronco virtually copied the design of the Blazer before it. Turns out things are more complicated than that.

The first-generation Blazer actually resembles the Bronco that came before it. Did Chevy copy it? Or did it simply give the public what it already loved?

It ultimately comes down to our initial statement: exposing yourself to existing ideas limits your perspective. But let’s see what the two vehicles actually have in common!

What are the similarities between the Chevrolet Blazer and Ford Bronco?

Ford Bronco and Chevrolet Blazer

Comparing the two models can be a challenge. Why? Because you may have some trouble matching their generations.

For instance, Blazer has had two iterations before Ford had come up with their second one. Then Bronco had its third generation after two years, and that way we have two Bronco gens competing against the second Blazer.

With that said, I have decided to compare the 2nd gen Bronco to the corresponding production years of the Blazer. It seems like the fairest comparison. Here it is!

  • Design

No matter how you slice it, the two models do look similar. Both automakers ditched the rounded shapes and placed their bets on the more aggressive sharp edges. They solidified that aesthetic with only small changes over time.

I have to say that I still prefer the first generations. Their design shouts “timeless” to me. That is why the first-gen Bronco made our list of favorite vintage SUVs. Many people agree here, as the resurrected 2021 Bronco actually looks like the very first one, not the later versions.

  • Performance

Ford kept things simple. It offered only two V8 engines, which had 156-158 hp and 262-277 lb-ft of torque respectively. Not too shabby, but quite limited nonetheless.

Chevrolet had a variety of options: from a low-power straight-six engine with 105 hp, through a more powerful 130 hp I6, and all the way up to 160-185 hp on a V8 engine. The last one supplied 300 lb-ft of torque.

  • Sales

If the similarities above were not enough, the two models also show comparable sales figures. For 1978-1979 Ford sold about 182,000 units, while Chevy did about 180,000.

We have to note that the second-gen Blazer had already been selling well since 1973, so the above comparison is not exactly fair. Though if we extend it throughout the years, Ford ultimately outsold Chevrolet with its third-gen Bronco.

Which is better: Chevrolet Blazer or Ford Bronco?

Do you notice a trend with both companies? One comes up with something, the other follows up with its version, then the first iterates on that. You can see it with virtually all of their competing models.

But do you know what that ultimately leads to? Cars that largely resemble each other, even beyond the outward aesthetics.

When it comes to the two marques, I don’t have brand loyalty. I appreciate both the Bronco and the Blazer, and I can enjoy them equally. To be fair, most people would, if they put their biases aside for a second.

To answer the question plainly, neither is better. The Blazer is just a tad bigger, but if you lose the spec sheet, you wouldn’t know it. This gets us to the real question!

Do you prefer Blazer or Bronco?

It comes down to this – which brand do you want to support? Broncos may be easier to find nowadays, though both models have been produced by the hundreds of thousands. Aftermarket parts abound and you can mod the cars to your desires!

You would likely not regret investing in either of those vehicles. Many still use them on a regular basis, as they have proven themselves to be undying workhorses.

Of course, any well-kept classic car costs a good amount. Some may go above even newer models. Yet… as cliché as it sounds, they just do not make them the same anymore. Gone are the days of having a car you could actually repair yourself. Or at least have a good mechanic do it. Now it takes a team of professionals, and also a programmer. But that is a topic for another day!

Just tell me in one word: Bronco or Blazer?


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