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Is this the new Ford Bronco's retractable roof?

by Drew Johnson

A new patent has revealed a clever new roof design.

A new patent suggests Ford is planning a clever new removable soft top design for its upcoming Bronco SUV.

Like the Jeep Wrangler, the new Bronco is expected to come with a removable roof. But a new patent, which was discovered by Motor Trend, indicates it won't simply be a removable hardtop or retractable soft top situation.

According to the patent, the Bronco might use a new roof system that appears to be inspired by the cargo cover design used in most hatchbacks. Like a cargo cover, the system uses a winding mechanism to store the cloth roof when not in use. When needed, the roof can be rolled out along several roof supports. The mechanism that contains the roof can also be removed altogether.

That's a neat system on its own, but Ford has baked in two other clever tricks. The first is a mesh roof that can be deployed in place of the cloth roof. Presumably the mesh roof is intended to give some protection from the wind and sun while still providing an open air experience.

The second cool feature of the roof system is an awning mode. According to the patent, the cloth roof can be deployed behind the vehicle and supported with a couple of poles. The area beneath the awning would provide enough space for a few people to enjoy the great outdoors while being protected from the sun.

Unfortunately we have no confirmation that the new roof design will actually make it to the production Bronco, but it would be a neat feature that might lure away some people from Jeep showrooms.

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