The vintage cars with a high-tech secret

Category:

While most vintage car enthusiasts seek to return vehicles to their former glory, Jonathan Ward prizes and preserves the beauty in their decay, while hiding some high tech secrets under the hood.

Ward is the founder of ICON, a California-based company that reimagines classic SUVs like Toyota FJs and Ford Broncos with modern tech and materials.

While that remains the bulk of the business, Ward has another, more unusual passion project: take vintage cars and, instead of restoring it to the way that it would have looked and driven when it was created, preserve the decay that has occurred through the years but update the vehicle to a cutting-edge driving experience. It’s a project he calls “Derelict.”

“The whole idea of the Derelict series is that we do a lot of work to make it look like we did no work. We want to capture the beauty that is only possible through time earned patina. So that natural decay and all the coloration, because every scuff, every dent tells a story,” he said.

icon derelict 46 lincoln

Each commission is completely one-of-a-kind, and Apple’s Jonathan Ive is reputed to be among the clients. Once concept is settled, then begins the process of finding these very specific models.

Derelict icon oldsmobile

This process takes anywhere from 72 hours to two years, and there have even been times where the search had to be abandoned.

To achieve the results Ward so meticulously desires, his technicians and engineers have to employ some pretty unique processes. On the shop floor you’ll see everything from aerospace machinery used in the early 1900s for the military, up to the latest in laser technology.

The result looks like it could have been found in a barn (which it probably was), but on closer inspection every element has been carefully designed and selected to achieve both a uniform aesthetic but also the complete modern driving experience. Imagine a rusty, vintage Thriftmaster pickup truck that drives as fast as a sportscar.

It’s a somewhat radical concept in the luxury car industry. “A lot of people look at the Derelict projects and go, ‘Why on earth would anyone spend all that time and money on something that looks, pretty bad?” So not everyone gets it,” Ward mused.

icon br derelict dirty trn at speed

Each year, Icon delivers about 250 vehicles, but the Derelicts are the most rarefied. They only produce around three or four a year so, in total, they have delivered just under two dozen.

The business model of building the Derelicts is pretty darn stupid. At the end of the year we’re lucky to break even on them,” he admitted.

We are constantly riding the knife’s edge on a design and engineering perspective. Trying to make sure we don’t do anything that negates the on road capability while balancing decisions that could hurt the design aesthetic. That is the art form of what we’re doing.

sponsored
sponsored
Editorial
Editorial
Our editorial staff includes people with different professional backgrounds who share a passion for writing and who want to create and develop a dialogue with their readers and with the world.

Related Posts

HAUTE COUTURE S/S 2019: DIOR sets up a Circus in Dubai

Last Saturday, March 18, the Middle-Eastern elite gathered at the fashion show held by Dior at Safa Park Dubai, where the brand’s Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2019 collection was unveiled. The show came alive under a fabulous circus tent, with circus being the main theme chosen by creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri for Dior’s high fashion collection. While circus was certainly a source of inspiration for this season, a closer look reveals that it has been a red thread all along the fashion house’s history

Tom Ford is CFDA’s new chairman

As expected, Tom Ford has been appointed chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) succeeding Diane von Furstenberg, head of the association for the previous 13 years

We present a selection of new creations that Swiss brands will exhibit from March 21st to 26th at Baselworld 2019

A selection of new creations that Swiss brands will exhibit from March 21st to 26th at Baselworld 2019