Basem Wasef of Car and Driver pays a visit to Jonathan Ward of ICON. Ward got his start restoring old Toyota Landcruisers through his company TLC. His business then evolved into producing super high-end resto-mod versions of old 4×4’s including the FJ40. His most recent line of cars kind of brings Ward back to the middle ground between his two businesses. The ICON Derelict line takes old cars with perfect patina and re-engineers everything underneath the body without restoring the outer appearance. 3D scans are used to fit a new Art Morrison chassis to the body powered by a modern engine while the interior is fitted with modern gauges and air conditioning cleverly hidden beneath all of the stock equipment. The guys have a pretty candid discussion of what it’s like to drive one of these everyday and the type of hardcore car geek they appeal to.
Jay Leno finishes his look at the Icon resto-mod product line by checking out the truck that started the brand, the Toyota FJ. Icon goes out and buys FJ’s for the frames and then puts aluminum bodies on them from Aqualu industries in Vancouver. Aqualu makes a lot of interesting variations on the FJ body including a pickup truck and this 4 door, 6 passenger “FJ-44” variant. A GM LSx resides under the hood and the entire thing sits on top of what looks to be Dynatrac axles and a custom suspension link setup.
I’m a big fan of the stuff that they build at ICON. They take a lot of awesome nostalgic cars and trucks and put modern running gear under them. Muscle car guys would call these “Resto-Mod” except ICON likes to work with old 4×4’s like the Toyota Landcruiser and Ford Bronco. The owner of ICON, Jonathan Ward, started this Derelict product line after coming across some old American cars with perfect patina. The first Derelict is this Chrysler Town and Country wagon with a Desoto front end that Ward built for himself. There’s a complete modern chassis under the body and a new 6.4 liter Hemi V8 under the hood. It could be due to the fact that I also own a rusty car, but I think what they did with the wagon is just fantastic.
The CEO and Lead Designer of ICON, Jonathan Ward, stopped by Jay Leno’s garage with their latest creation, the resto-mod Ford Bronco. ICON searches the country for clean Bronco shells and then completely overhauls and upgrades them. The truck now has the 5.0 liter Coyote V8 from the new Mustang under the hood along with a Aisin-Warner transmission, Atlas transfer case, modern solid axles from Dynatrac and Stoptech brakes. All of the lighting has been replaced with LED’s and ICON even worked with the designer that created the Ford GT to re-imagine some of the details and interior trim that were parts bin sourced or overlooked on the original Bronco. It really is modernizing a classic chassis taken to the extreme and it’s a testament to the fact that there is still maniacal attention to detail and high caliber craftsmanship in the modern world.