New Ford Bronco May Get a Retractable Cloth Roof Option

Recently, we found a patent for removable doors that we’re pretty sure Ford plans to offer on the new Bronco. The two-door-pickup-like shape of the vehicle shown even appears to be a nod to the Bronco II, even if it doesn’t include much detail. But according to a recent report, the Bronco will come with a removable roof as well as removable doors. After doing some more digging, we may have found a patent that shows Ford’s plan for that, as well.

If this had been a simple patent for an SUV with removable roof panels, we probably wouldn’t have paid much attention to it. Even if Ford had developed some clever mechanism or method for removing them, the patent itself probably wouldn’t have shown anything all that novel. But these drawings reveal something much more interesting. Assuming this feature is intended for the Bronco, it looks like owners will have the option of using a removable cloth cover once the hard top is removed. And instead of a single sunshade, there will be two layers—one made out of mesh and another made from cloth.

So even with the roof off, you’ll still be able to decide whether you want a completely open experience, a little bit of wind and sun protection, or a full cloth cover. It also doesn’t look like the cloth and mesh roof will have to stay installed at all times, either. Ford appears to have borrowed its design from the retractable cargo covers that are popular on hatchbacks and crossovers, allowing the entire piece to be unclipped and removed.

That idea is pretty cool on its own and definitely worthy of coverage, but it appears there’s more. The part that really caught our attention is Figure 15 (at the top of this post), which shows the cloth roof pulled back the other direction and supported by stakes. It’s far from a fully enclosed tent that you could sleep in, but turning the cloth roof into an awning is pretty creative. If you take your Bronco fishing or camping, it could be pretty useful, too.

As we said yesterday, there’s no guarantee that Ford intends to use this patent on the Bronco. Even if it does, the dual-material removable cloth roof may be a pricey option. But like the doors, it’s a seriously cool idea that may help the Bronco give the Jeep Wrangler a real run for its money.

Source: Google Patents

The post New Ford Bronco May Get a Retractable Cloth Roof Option appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

BMW M Motorsport presents first DTM car design for 2019

BMW M Motorsport heads into the coming DTM season with a new Premium Partner. At the opening round at Hockenheim (GER) on 4th May, Philipp Eng’s (AUG) BMW M4 DTM will line up on the grid in the ZF livery. To date, ZF has been involved in the DTM as ‘Official Partner of BMW M Motorsport’, providing custom-made racing clutches and shock absorbers for the touring car series, Formula E and the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring (GER).

“We are pleased to take the long-term collaboration with ZF to the next level this season,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “In doing so, we are not only building on the success we have already enjoyed together, but also underlining the mutual trust that exists between us. On this basis, we are out to continue our success story together in 2019.”

Eng, who made his DTM debut last season and immediately achieved top results in his rookie year, will drive the #25 car again in 2019. “I am delighted that ZF is my Premium Partner in the DTM,” said Eng. “It is a huge company with the most advanced products in nearly all areas of mobility, and I am proud that I am able to represent the company with BMW in the DTM. I obviously hope our car will be seen at the front of the grid and top of the standings as often as possible. I am looking forward to a successful season with ZF.”

Norbert Odendahl, Managing Director at ZF Race Engineering, added: “The DTM is and will remain an important platform for us, on which to repeatedly demonstrate the performance of our technology under the toughest conditions. Philipp Eng showed in his first season in the DTM that he is capable of racing at the very front of the field. As such, we are all the more delighted to be able to expand our involvement in the DTM together with BMW M Motorsport and Philipp.” As is tradition, the 2019 DTM season kicks off with the opening races on 4th and 5th May at Hockenheim. The season comprises nine events and ends in October, back at Hockenheim. Between the two events at the Hockenheimring, the DTM will also visit Zolder (BEL), Misano (ITA), the Norisring (GER), Assen (NED), Brands Hatch (GBR), the Lausitzring and the Nürburgring (both GER) this year.

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