Hagerty Video: The Ultimate SUV Restomod? Gateway Bronco Luxe-GT Review | Henry Catchpole – The Driver’s Seat

Posted: 2023-09-13 15:00:34
Author: Hagerty
Gateway Bronco’s latest and greatest version of the iconic Ford SUV is quite the restomod. Not only does the Luxe-GT have the sort of paint job that makes it look like a ray of sunshine wherever you park it, there is also a brand new chassis underneath. Gateway claims that this imparts the type of performance usually only found in modern SUVs.

Designed with Premcar out in Australia, the chassis is a claimed 70 per cent stiffer torsionally, has independent front suspension and brings with it ABS and stability control. As Gateways’s CEO and Founder, Seth Burgett, tells us, there are also new crash structures built-in both front and rear for greater peace of mind.

To help show-off the capabilities of the chassis, there is a Coyote 5-litre V8 under the bonnet putting out 460bhp and 420lb ft of torque through a ten speed ‘box. Perhaps even more important than the impressive 5.3 second 0-60mph time it propels the Bronco to, however, is the glorious soundtrack that the naturally aspirated V8 provides.

In order to really test the Bronco, Henry Catchpole took in a huge variety of roads, from cruising around Santa Monica (Apple CarPlay was useful), through some miles on the interstate (The Focal stereo was impressive), to twisty canyon roads above Malibu. And wherever we drove or parked, it got a huge amount of attention – all of it overwhelmingly positive. It just seemed to make people smile. Which is nice.

Hopefully the Point Break reference and the waterproof Denim (yes, really) interior of this Bronco make you all smile. If so, then please consider subscribing to the Hagerty Drivers Club (https://bit.ly/Join-HDC-Henry) or just giving the film a thumbs up. And please make sure you are subscribed to the channel so that you don’t miss any films, either from Henry or the other hosts such as Jason Cammisa. See you next time on The Driver’s Seat with something Italian…

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Hagerty Video Transcript

– This is the Gateway Bronco and I don’t think I’ve ever driven something that fits its surroundings so well. Wherever you park it, plain background, scruffy background, interesting background, it looks like it’s been art directed into place. And wherever you drive it, people smile. – [Bystander] That’s a great Ford, man. (laughs)

– And want to know more. Even policemen like it. I don’t think it’s something to do with it being sixties, seventies in look. It’s more than that. Perhaps it’s the slightly toy like aesthetic that makes people feel somehow unthreatened by it. Joyful, even in a place like this, LA, where you think people would be jaded

By any sort of vehicle, to be honest. There’s everything here, supercars, sports cars, big SUVs. The money on these roads is extraordinary, but somehow, wherever you go, this, this catches people’s attention and in such a good way. And now that I’ve got your attention in what I hope is a good way, it’s time for me to very briefly put on a slightly more formal, professional, knowing, yet faintly plaintive voice. Here it comes. You can help support these videos by joining the Hagerty Drivers Club.

It includes a subscription to our award-winning magazine, unlimited access to our valuation tool, 24, 7 flatbed roadside assistance, free classified listings, exclusive coupons and offers, and early access and VIP perks to select Hagerty events. More info in the link below. Right, Sheryl Crow’s had her fun

And the sun is well and truly up over Santa Monica Boulevard, so we can join the Bronco again. I would never go so far as to say that I look cool but if ever a car was gonna make anyone feel cool, I think it’s this one. And there’s something about this, the fact that it’s two doors but has all that space back here and the suspension and the wheels,

It embodies sports and utility. The three letters SUV make people shudder these days but this is somehow different. You could just imagine Johnny Utah putting a surfboard on the roof and driving enthusiastically and if that doesn’t scream sports utility in a good way, I don’t know what does. And that’s appropriate because the first generation Ford Bronco

Produced from 1966 to 1977 is thought to be the first vehicle to actually have sports utility applied to it. Now of course, this isn’t really a first generation Bronco, this is a restomod. A bit like this place, old on the outside with modern projectors on the inside. But nonetheless, perhaps ideal

For showing some old footage like this and explaining that SUV claim. – [Announcer] Bronco. Bronco. Ford Bronco. – You see, there were three types of Bronco at launch in 1966. The Roadster, which left you open to the elements a bit like our one, but with no doors,

The Wagon, which tried to keep all the elements out, and then a half and half job with a pickup bed and it was this last one that was referred to as the sports utility. There’d been other vehicles like it before of course but it seems those two nouns

Had never buddied up in reference to any of them before the first generation Bronco arrived. Right, time to finish the popcorn and emerge, blinking, into the sunlight once more, to have a look at what makes this Gateway Bronco restomod so different to an old one. Starting under the bonnet

With the modern Ford Coyote Engine, 5 liters of naturally aspirated V8 with, I have to say a slightly disappointing modern plastic cover. Anyway, this engine is also accompanied by a very modern auto box, which offers precisely seven more gears than an original first generation Bronco. In here, we obviously have the screen

For wireless Apple CarPlay and also linked to the very good Focal stereo system. More attractively, these switches here and the window winders, which are in fact window switches. This latest luxe GT model also has waterproof denim seats, which I’m a big fan of, a fabulous paint job designed by Katie Schumann

And some lovely LED headlights that make driving at night a doddle. All good stuff. But in order to justify the mighty $400,000 starting price for this new top of the range model, Gateway is making some big claims about its handling and safety. So the biggest difference is what’s underneath.

To tell us more is CEO and founder of Gateway Bronco, Seth Baguette, who started out by inventing a medical robot to navigate guidewires through the human body, then founded Yurbuds Sport Headphones before turning his attention to Broncos. – We started off with this desire to create the world’s greatest vintage Ford Bronco

In terms of driving performance, safety and just pure enjoyment. And we found Premcar and this company then took our desire, created the geometry found the ability to take this ladder frame and add, you know, rear crush zone, front crush zone, move the fuel tank underneath the vehicle. They did all of these things.

They had those abilities to do it. We did it in a skunk works facility in Australia. So really no one in North America knew about this other than about three or four human beings. It’s a stiffer chassis. It has the electronics of antilock brakes, of electronic stability control.

The physics are, it has a independent front suspension, 70% stiffer frame. All of this adds up to becoming the system, right, the system with this little, you know, Bronco body to create a driving experience that’s uniquely vintage but at the same time has this modern driving performance.

– The chassis is actually based on Ford’s T6 platform from modern Rangers and Broncos. However, it has proprietary cross members to fit the narrow dimensions of the Ford license reproduction body which itself has been seam welded by Gateway for extra strength. Now, it’s time to let Seth crack on

With inventing yet more things and go and find a suitable road to let the Bronco stretch its legs. Ah, listen to that Coyote V8. This is quicker than it has any right to be, 5 liters of naturally aspirated Ford V8, 460 brake horsepower, 420 pounds for the torque. Just the sort of soundtrack you want. And the gearbox, providing you leave it in its sportier setting,

Does mean you’ve got decent response from the engine. Wow. A Bronco really shouldn’t go like this. Gateway says that the 0 to 60 mile an hour time is 5.3 seconds, and I’d argue that it feels both more exciting and at times slightly more alarming than that figure sounds. Meanwhile, the stopping distance

From the aforementioned 60 NPH back to a standstill is claimed to be 148 feet or just over 45 meters. That’s still around 50% further than your average sports car and about 40% further than the best SUVs, but there are mitigating factors here. Braking is strong, but it’s all limited by the tires.

Now I like anything that says Baja Champion on its sidewall. Absolutely, I’m all for that. But it does mean that you’ve got pretty tall tread locks and they are the limiting factor. Curiously, under braking, you’ll often hear them just start to give, start to plane, before you feel it. Once it’s loaded up,

Then actually you get a decent amount of feel through this lovely thin wooden rim. But it’s quite a delicate balancing act and it certainly hasn’t suddenly become a Lamborghini Urus or Porsche Cayenne GTS. Oh no. (laughs) It’s still faintly terrifying, frankly, to try and pilot this quickly. You need surprisingly little steering input

But you do still have to be very aware of the limits. Well, this definitely feels better. You find a corner of some nice positive camber, preferably uphill like this, (laughs) and it’s surprisingly good actually. Positive cambers really help the Bronco load up that long travel suspension,

Weight up the steering and give you confidence. Obviously downhill or off camber, you have the converse of that. You need to tread more carefully, coaxing, balancing, and above all being patient. It’s a car that has to be sort of hustled delicately. The nice thing is though it doesn’t actually feel

That wide on a road like this. Has that all turned it into a canyon or river, something you’d want to take out on a Sunday morning? Well, no, it hasn’t. However, it is an awful lot more, well, responsive and capable on a road like this than I think any Bronco probably before it. At the end of the day, with this new Gateway Bronco looking more at home than ever parked up in front of the Pacific like it’s in a postcard, I came to the conclusion that all the extensive chassis upgrades were perhaps less pertinent to the performance sporty element of this SUV

And more to the utility aspect but that, that is also a good thing. If you have something like this then you don’t really just want it for a quick blast. It doesn’t replace a sports car. What you want is to be able to use this, lots,

And the upgrades make it easier to do that because it’s better to drive, well, everywhere, more nimble in town, more palatable on an interstate, happier heading to your home in the hills, easier at night and safer. So you are more likely to jump in it more often

And make more people smile as you spread a little bit of that ombre, stylized sunset, wherever you go.