Did Ford and Shelby just announce a high-performance Bronco?

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Ford is putting the final touches on a high-performance evolution of the new Bronco, but it’s not the only firm looking at ways to wring more power out of the off-roader. Famed tuner and manufacturer Shelby American appeared in an ambiguous preview video that strongly suggests a hot-rodded SUV with Mustang genes is around the corner.

Posted on YouTube by Bronco Nation, a self-described enthusiast community, the 1:38-long flick (shown above) is titled “Shelby vs. Shelby.” It shows a Mustang Shelby GT500 and a four-door Bronco side by side on a starting grid. When the flag drops, the GT500 — which has 760 horsepower — predictably races ahead, but you’re wrong if you’re assuming it won the duel. The off-roader takes advantage of its high ground clearance to cut corners and create its own shortcuts, Mario Kart-style, and it sprints across the finish line a few seconds ahead of the Mustang.

After the race, the man driving the GT500 tells the woman who was behind the wheel of the Bronco that “Shelby should do something with that,” pointing to the SUV. She replies “that’s a great idea.” While this might look like a marketing stunt, there’s a hidden message. The man is Gary Patterson, the CEO of Shelby American. The woman is Shelby Hall, a professional race car driver. Viewed in this light, it sounds like a Shelby Bronco is on its way.

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Shelby is world-famous for wild, Mustang-based creations like the Super Snake Speedster, but it’s not a stranger in the truck segment. Its range includes several F-Series-based models, and it told Autoblog that pickups outsell coupes and convertibles by a significant margin. Adding the sixth-generation Bronco to the mix seems like a no-brainer. However, what a Shelby-tuned Bronco would look, sound, and accelerate like is up in the air at this point.

Ford stated it won’t try to give the Jeep Wrangler 392 a run for its money by putting a V8 engine in the Bronco due to emissions-related concerns. American tuner Hennessey is already planning to offer a V8 conversion, and it’s not unrealistic to speculate Shelby could add a pair of cylinders under the hood as well. In other words: Stay tuned.

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