The Ford Bronco And O.J. Simpson, Forever Linked

Ford Motor Company F scheduled its new Bronco reveal for July 9. That’s O.J. Simpson's 73rd birthday — a man remembered less for his NFL career than for the slow-speed police chase through Los Angeles of the white 1993 Ford Bronco he was riding in after being charged with the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

The chase was broadcast nationally, and the image of the white Bronco coasting down the I-405 was impressed on the minds of 95 million people.

"I just don't know if it's a good marketing twist," Tanya Brown, Nicole's sister, told the Detroit Free Press.

Ford Says Timing 'Purely Coincidental': Auto experts and analysts were just as perplexed.

"I gotta believe this is a mistake. Didn't anybody look at the calendar?" host John McElroy told the Freep.

"Ford Motor Co. does not want to correlate the launch of such an iconic and important vehicle with a police chase with a notorious (person). Everybody in the world knew that O.J. was fleeing in a white Ford Bronco.”

A Ford spokesperson insisted that the timing was “purely coincidental” and  said Ford will press forward with the planned release date.

Unless the date is changed, it will be mentioned in every story about the Bronco, Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Kelley Blue Book, told the Freep.

Parked Next To Bundy's Beetle: Through its ties to the Simpson trial, the Ford Bronco has become something of a cultural icon. The vehicle from the chase is now featured in a true crime display in a Tennessee museum next to Ted Bundy’s 1968 Volkswagen Beetle.

"It is a where-were-you-when moment that everybody remembers," Rachael Penman, director of artifacts and exhibits at the Alcatraz East Crime Museum, told the Freep.

"Millions of people were watching on TV, more than 95 million, and a lot were watching the NBA finals when they broke into the broadcast in 1994. There aren't a lot of moments like that anymore."

Cox Automotive spokesman Mark Schirmer told the Freep that some cars "are just part of our collective experience. Bronco, because of O.J., is certainly that."

F Price Action: Ford shares were up 1.9% at $6.44 at the time of publication. 

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Photo courtesy of Ford. 

Posted In: Ford BroncoJohn McElroyKarl BrauerMark SchirmerO.J. SimpsonNewsEventsMedia