My Car Quest

March 3, 2024

Editorial: Ford Bronco Follows Jeep Gladiator Into Dangerous Territory

by Wallace Wyss –

When Ford Motor Company previewed the new 2021 Bronco they were secretive. Even confiscating reporters’ cell phones but a lot good it did them–the pictures are all over the net.

Among the features of the car, I was horrified to find out that they plan to emulate arch-rival Jeep by having a Bronco with detachable doors. Jeep has had that for over ten years but only recently began showing commercials of families driving hell for leather across trackless dunes, kids aboard, in doorless vehicles.

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco with the doors on

When I wrote an editorial about Jeep showing Gladiators doorless I got hate mail from people who said in effect, “I can do what I want off road.” But in recent months I’ve seen Gladiators everywhere with the doors off on city streets.

Now I called a Ford buff who always looks on the bright side of the oval brand and he said not to worry, “Ford has ten years of Jeep experience and like Jeep Bronco owners will have a tube contraption to fill the door opening,” in essence a portable side door guard beam. Well, if Jeep has them I don’t see many owners running them. I get the feeling that owners driving doorless cars get a kick out of how neo-dangerous it looks; livin’ on the edge, man, look at me, ma!

I am not so concerned with the child in the home of the Bronco or Gladiator owner, they will know how to fasten their seat belt. But when they invite the neighbor kid, who might not know how to do the belts, the danger awaits. Kids will be flying out of Broncos with no door to stop them.


2021 Ford Bronco with the doors removed

I know, call me an alarmist. But I warned about autonomous cars running people down. I don’t know what the death count is now but it’s climbing. Some cities allowing autonomous car testing on city streets are pulling back now that it’s seen the cars aren’t perfected yet.

Let’s at least make driving a vehicle on the street without doors a ticketable offense, or do we start a new death count?

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco with the doors removed and a bar across the door opening

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is the co-host of Autotalk, a weekly show broadcast from KUCR FM Riverside. He first tested an off road car in 1970 for Motor Trend at the beginning of the public’s fascination with off roading.


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Editorial: Ford Bronco Follows Jeep Gladiator Into Dangerous Territory
Article Name
Editorial: Ford Bronco Follows Jeep Gladiator Into Dangerous Territory
I was horrified to find out that Ford plans to emulate arch-rival Jeep by having a Ford Bronco with detachable doors.


  1. RK - no relation says

    America is about freedom man!

    I know that some states do not have helmet laws. I know that helmets are good for me and my loved ones so we use them. Perhaps the accessory beam should be mandatory and OEM supplied, as many people will not bother.

    It is refreshing to see an American writer with an opinion that leans as much to safety as to freedom. Keep up the good work; your articles on upcoming vehicles, lost concept cars and other gems are fun and informative!

  2. I remember vehicles without doors growing up such as the Jeep, land cruiser, Nissan patrol and even international had a version of it as well and I do not remember any high death count.
    You stated that if the neighbor kid gets in and doesn’t know how to use belts that is not the doors fault. It is the responsibility of the driver to verify this action for all underage people.
    I fully support removable door vehicles and hope Ford has what it takes to do this, and not be pressured by the safety advocates who probably wouldn’t own one anyways.
    Let the owner decide what he wants and take the responsibility on himself for what may or may not happen.
    Bravo Ford.

  3. Unfortunately as much as I would love to rely on people to make sound decisions I am concerned as is Wallace Wyss that this is one place where people will not make good decisions… why not make seat belts easily removable and take away laws about wearing them along with air bags (never particularly been a fan of air bags) but these things clearly save lives… its not so much the people who want to drive with no doors I am worried about is what happens when the Jeep or Bronco owners are involved in an accident that is not even the Bronco or Jeep owners fault and are severely injured or killed because they had no side guard protection… yeah not thinking that this expression of freedom is a particularly good one…

  4. Wallace Wyss says

    In answer to Jim: If you look at the Ford preview tape on You Tube, under the title

    2021 Ford Bronco | Bronco Sport

    there’s hardly any glimpse of it, maybe .001% of the whole tape, but it’s there, almost like Ford’s trying to hide it (and that tape was for the dealers at a preview) Like Ford wants to get a lot of orders in before they consider the long range implications.

    As for Brian you can’t go by how careless (automakers) were in the past. We’re more aware of what can go wrong now. And Jeep has been promoting driving Gladiators with the doors off in commercials so you know
    Ford’s gonna do it. I agree the vehicle owner should make all guest riders aware of how to fasten the belts but in the heat of the moment (“Hey kids who else wants to see what’s over that next dune?”) they may not check and next thing you know there’s kids a-flyin’

  5. Rob Krantz says

    Apparently, doorless Broncos were a “thing” back in the day. My wife’s dad had an old school Bronco and would go off roading in Colorado in the 1970’s, doors off (with my mother in law, wife and other kids no less) so not exclusive to Jeep it appears. I like the look overall to the new Bronco and would definitely consider one of these vs. picking up an original.

  6. Tirefriar says

    Jeep has been offering removable doors for years. Why get excited NOW? Wallace, if you buy the Bronco you can drive with the doors on if You so chose…me, I’d take them off every chance I get. That’s called “options”.

    The helmet laws were put in place thanks in big part to insurance companies. I believe in AGAT and don’t want to take chances but it’s my call. Other guys don’t and it’s their call. I hate it when I see bikers riding in shorts and flip flops at any speed but I would never support a law dictating what I wear while riding. What’s next, ban motorcycles because they don’t offer intrusion beams or offer even less protection?

  7. wallace wyss says

    Tirefriar: DON’T GET ME STARTED
    Motorycycles,aka ‘murdercycles” make no sense at all in terms of safety.
    No seat belts
    No side door guard beams
    No air bags
    You fall, sometimes your body takes the damage. protecting several hundred lbs. of metal as you slide acrosdsthe tarmac
    Whenever I see a beautiful girl rding on the back of one I am glad I am not a father trying to stop a daughter from doing so, because one fall and she could be maimed for life, eclipsing her future. Yet in cars, I’ve been t-boned twice, never even broke a fingernail, try that on a motorcycle,

    Baxk to the doorless SUVs, the automakers didn’t start exploiting the thrill of doorlesness as a sales tool until recently (Jeep in 2019) The blood is on their hands when passengers began flying out. I equate this trend to the relatively new trend in mountain climbing–no ropes, no pitons, You lose a footing or handhold, you die. Oh it looks daring, and romantic but sit there below Half Dome at Yosemite and watch these fools, They die regularly. Take Daniel Burnett–age 29. That’s all the older he ever got to be.. but he looked cool and oh-so-adventurous until he did a mis-step › 2019/09/07 › yosemite-half-dome-hiker-death

  8. Tirefriar says

    Wallace, following your logic convertibles should be banned as well… “ I am not so concerned with the child in the home of the Bronco or Gladiator owner, they will know how to fasten their seat belt. But when they invite the neighbor kid, who might not know how to do the belts, the danger awaits.” Wallace, following your logic convertibles should be be banned as well…and while we are chasing that dilution include targa tops, t-tops, rag tops, sunrofs and moon roofs, dune buggies and anything else that doesn’t have a fixed slick top. I hope you can see ridiculousness in all of this.

    FYI, Jeep has had a doorless option on their CJ vehicles since 1945. A Gladiator is technically an extension of the CJ line, a Wrangler Unlimited with a cargo bed. I’m not a Jeep aficionado but I believe the Unlimited has been around since 2007. Again, why post this editorial now? Original Broncos had removable doors, manufacturers are still riding the “nostalgia” wave so it was a very good chance new Bronco would be available with removable doors.

    Murdercycles??? Wallace, once again you insist on talking about a subject you appear to know very little about. I won’t even waste my time with this one, be well.

  9. wallace wyss says

    I was on the staff of Motor Trrend when we tested Broncos. They weren’t pushing the doorless option back then but if you look at the Jeep introduction videos for year 2019 they are pushing them hard, so even if they had them in the past , at least in big cities you didn’t see them driven around doorless. I go back to the mountain climbing. There’s been mountain climbing for hundreds of years but only recently have I seen a lot of people bragging about climbing without ropes. Just because they say it’s cool, I say it’s not worth the risk, sane as rubbing with no doors. i was t-boned recently in my door by a pickup. I walked away. That door and side and steering wheel air bags saved me.

  10. At the end of the day we all have different views of safety and different levels of tolerance to it so I guess it all depends on what we choose for ourselves. The issue I have is that if you do not like a vehicle with no doors then do not buy one, but do not tell some one else that they cannot have one because you do not deem it safe to your standards.

    Someone made a comment about rock climbers with not ropes. I remember this being a big thing back when I lived in Arizona and I could not understand why someone would even do this, but I also made no issues of it as it was that persons own choice to do it and if they fell it would be their own consequenses they must face.
    This is called freedom of choice and it also goes with the responsibility of making that choice. The biggest issue I have is someone else telling me what I can or cannot have based on their own opinion.

    • Brian,

      What about laws that cover: motorcycle helmets, car seat belts, car air bags, car crash test results, car brakes, and on and on? We have many laws that govern our safety and also impact our personal freedoms.

      The question is where do we draw the line? Not that there is a line at all.

      • Tirefriar says


        To this day, some states such as Texas, Florida, etc. do not enforce helmet law. There is enough data on the books and in the social media proving beyond reasonable doubt benefit of wearing a lid while riding. Yet there are people who choose not to do. As long as they understand the consequences its their right to chose. I rode without a helmet, I got lucky, I never ride without helmet or protective gear – the latter is my personal choice.

        No one is disputing the advantages of passive/active restraint systems you have mentioned and most of them are mandated by law, and even then they are at times ignored by the end user.

        Doors are not structural or load bearing vehicle components and therefore going doorless is allowed by law. If you are carrying children or are overly concerned about the lack of protection riding without doors – simply don’t and don’t call for more “nanny” laws, we have plenty of them in place already

  11. wallace wyss says

    Now that the factory videos are posted on You Tube you can see the Ford supplied promo clips, some of which show the Broncos running with the doors off. I have to admit the countryside looks great, but I can’t help envisioning kids flying out of the doorless versions if they don’t have their seat belts properly fastened. Using these titles on a Google You Tube search you can see them.

    2021 Ford Bronco Sport: Reveal

    The All New 2021 Bronco – YouTube

    2021 ford bronco sport preview you tube

    2021 Ford Bronco Family: The Return | Ford – YouTube

    2021 ford bronco sport preview you tube

    Ford’s press crew are happy that they sold out, in 24 hours, of some special premium model that cost over $50,000. It was a limited edition and you only had to shell out $100 down to secure it so we’ll see how many of those orders pan out….or if they were placed by wanna-bes who heard the call of the wild…

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