A Businesswoman’s Bronco
SBN All-Female Ford Wildtrak Build Unveiled at the 2022 SEMA Show
By Douglas McColloch
The SEMA Businesswomens’ Network (SBN) All-Female Build team unveiled the 2022 Ford Bronco Wildtrak at the 2022 SEMA Show last November.
It was the culmination of a hectic 90-day build schedule that engaged more than 100 volunteer wrenches ranging in experience from novice to expert. It took the combined efforts of dozens of aftermarket companies and installation facilities, and it took place across two time zones. In the end, however, the build was a smashing success. The SEMA Businesswomens’ Network (SBN) All-Female Build project, a Ford Bronco four-door Wildtrak, made its debut at the 2022 SEMA Show in Las Vegas last November before a crowd of hundreds of industry and media professionals.
“Ten years ago, we did our first All-Female build—a Ford Mustang,” explained Lisa Cabalquinto, program director for DriveShop, “and there were 55 women that came to help build the vehicle and manage the projects. This year, we had more than 250 women that volunteered to help with the project.”
For a project as ambitious as this to happen this quickly, a lot of things have to come together in an orderly fashion—and in this case of the Bronco, the team made it happen. First came the rendering, which was submitted by Monika Kalenski of MEK Magnet, whose artwork was selected by popular vote on social media. The drawing conjured an image of a wilderness-ready overlander that could still be employed as a practical daily driver.
Build team members celebrate the completion of their project at the 2022 SEMA Show.
Then the build team went to work. The Ford’s 2.7L twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 received some mild upgrades, most notably an aFe Momentum GT cold-air intake and an AWE cat-back exhaust system. Turbosmart contributed a Kompact EM back valve, and Ford Performance treated the assembly to a power-pack performance calibration.
More extensive modifications followed to the chassis and suspension. An ICON Vehicle Dynamics 3- to 4-in. Stage 8 billet suspension system was installed, along with a BroncBusters Stage 3 billet aluminum housing to alleviate stress to the steering system. A Steer Smarts Yeti XD adjustable rear track bar was added to optimize suspension geometry. With suspension and steering upgrades installed, a set of 37x13.50R17 Milestar Patagonia MT02 tires and ICON 17x8.50 satin black alloy wheels were fitted up the to the wheelwells. For a stylistic flourish, McGard lug nuts feature a custom engraved “SBN” logo.
An overlanding rig needs a host of exterior upgrades to function well, and the SBN Bronco received an assortment. Baja Forged Crawler bumpers were installed front and rear, along with full underbody skidplating. A Warn VR EVO 105 winch and Factor 55 Ultrahook were installed to help with extraction, and Powerstep XL running boards from AMP Research assist with ingress and egress. ORACLE Lighting and switches were added to improve visibility, and a Cascadia 4x4 hood-mounted solar panel provides additional juice off the grid. Ford Performance donated a number of useful products, including an onboard compressor, TRED recovery boards, an ARB jack and a 37-in. spare tire mount. Ford Accessories contributed a
LockNLoad roof rack system and Yakima Skyline tent. Adding a touch of style, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering provided the unique Lit Bronco grille. Terra Strada Design executed the custom exterior wrap, and Universal Technical Institute’s Long Beach, California, facility gave the team access to its paint booth.
Inside, the Bronco, Katzkin custom leather seat covers enhance creature comfort and a Goose Gear rear-seat delete affords extra space for an icebox module and storage drawer, which help to accommodate an ARB Classic Fridge that comes courtesy of Ford Performance. A Deep Sleep sleeping pad and DMOS Stealth shovel also found a home inside the cab, and Ford Accessories donated all-weather floor mats and Molle bags.
The original rendering for the build, submitted by Monika Kalenski of MEK Magnet, suggested an overlander that was still capable of being a daily driver.
As with any ambitious build project, things didn’t always go as planned. Parts sometimes went missing or didn’t fit, and the team had to MacGyver solutions on the fly at times.
“It was very much a hands-on learning experience, and the team was eager to take on these challenges, including mocking up bumper fitment plates from cardboard in order to fabricate the actual plates,” said Nicole Bradle, SBN liaison. “The build continues to foster growth and community, not only among the volunteers but also between organizations.”
“The collaboration truly represents the spirit of the build,” added Cathy Clark, SBN chair. “This project was a chance to spotlight women in the automotive aftermarket industry and the ways in which they come together and offer support to each other.”
Companies That Helped
The SBN All-Female Build Team wishes to thank the following partners for their support in the Bronco build:
- Advanced Fiberglass Concepts
- aFe Power
- AMP Power Step
- Baja Forged
- Cascadia 4x4
- Chemical Guys
- Deep Sleep
- Ford Motor Co.
- Ford Accessories
- Goose Gear
- Icon Vehicle Dynamics
- Katzkin Leather
- MEK Magnet
- MileStar Tires
- MRT Performance
- ORACLE Lighting
- Seymour of Sycamore
- Steer Smarts
- Summit Racing
- Terra Strada Design
- TRAC LLC
- Turbo Smart
- Warn Industries