Within Jonathan Ward’;s most recent Icon über-truck
If you do not know, a stock 1950 Chevrolet “drives like s–t,” says Jonathan Ward, the CEO of Icon, who actually met his wife Jamie although restoring a Chevrolet pickup. “Archaic. I restored a number of back in the day, back when I was still calling it a hobby.”
That is why Ward doesn’;t create stock 1950 Chevrolets. This is the Icon Thriftmaster, a $ 200,000 ode to an era when pickup trucks had been little and unassuming and but could do anything at all you asked them to — like, apparently, blowing the doors off nearly something around.
To that objective, the Icon Thriftmaster characteristics a GM E-Rod 5.3-liter V8 that creates 440 supercharged, intercooled horsepower, connected to a 6-velocity Tremec TKO guide. The front suspension is completely independent, and a 4-website link sound axle sits in back. It has 50/50 bodyweight distribution. The chassis is perched atop — like most Icon vehicles — a frame by Art Morrison. Premier Street Rods put in the GM-licensed steel body panels. The complete physique was laser-scanned “by my mobile guy,” said Ward — a guy who comes about in a van with all the tools he demands. What a idea.
Ward hauled this instance out of a junkyard in Pacoima, Calif., about 15 miles east of Icon’;s Chatsworth shop. A tree was increasing out of the bed. Ward evicted the foliage and proceeded to devote 14 months taking the Thriftmaster venture from sketch to rolling chassis. At the time, Icon was in danger of falling into a 4WD niche exemplified by the Bronco and Land Cruiser projects from which it very first gained notoriety — which is why he was eager to operate on a decidedly 2WD venture. Like the Reformers, it really is still a truck, and like the Derelicts, it really is even now fundamentally a proud mid-century American.
The Thriftmaster displays style components from the whole 1947-53 assortment of Chevrolet trucks, however you’;d be tough-pressed to distinguish the specifics so seamlessly are they blended. The seats are Tempur-Pedic foam, wrapped in bison hide — Ward is aware of a man, who just so takes place to function at Parabellum Assortment. The carpets are German berber mats. The exhaust is entirely custom, stainless steel and TIG-welded. Gauges are tied into the GM CAN bus. Parliament-smoking engineers developed the 1947-fifty 5 Chevrolet pickups with a chained tailgate that clangs lifelessly the Thriftmaster functions modern hinges and latching. The window cranks hide electrical power window switches. The screen covers flit downwards gracefully, buoyed by gasoline-filled Traxxas RC auto shocks. One particular of these aluminum covers hides a Kenwood touchscreen which controls the digital climate management, the navigation program and the 3-speaker digital audio, at the moment taking part in Jay-Z from Ward’;s iPod. It even has mobile Wi-fi.
“Alright, automobile geek, acknowledge this?” He pointed at the black fuel cap, beaming. A slim little nub of mysterious origin, barely sticking out of the wood-paneled bed — whose wood, in reality, was taken from the exact same growth crop utilised for the Louisville Slugger. “It really is from an SLS Black Series,” he mentioned. Wait. Hold on. Do the Germans know about this?
Evidently they do — Ward met the AMG group final yr, at the same time we had been meeting AMG’;s lineup in the desert.
We climb in. The seats really feel awkwardly upright, a place excellent for uptight Midwestern farmers. Get on the energy, and there’;s lots of supercharger whine. The Thriftmaster is civilized when it wants to be, wind noise becoming the only clue that it came from the Advance Style loved ones. With no warning, Ward slams on the 6-piston ceramic brakes from 60mph, and the complete truck screeches to a halt in a visceral, sideways brakestand. By the time the smoke billows more than the matte-grey hood, we’;re perpendicular in the middle of the street.
Ward laughs like a substantial-schooler who had just successfully pranked the principal. “We cone-danced this f—er at Optima.” In 2013, the Thriftmaster participated in the Ultimate Streetcar Invitational, where it looked very good despite a lackluster finish. “It is a truck with an identity crisis. It really is a sports vehicle with a truck physique.
“I caught a great deal of s–t for the stance,” mentioned Ward. “We set it up that way to get track evaluation.” In reality, the Thriftmaster’;s JRE coilovers enable it 6 inches of variable trip height, via adjustable hydraulic mounting collars. Philistines will say it’;s bagged. Hell no, explained Ward. “I detest airbags.”
If you request Ward politely, he will create you a Thriftmaster. It won’;t be inexpensive. The Thriftmaster represents a shift in the ICON business strategy — it truly is Ward’;s first attempt at mass production, if you take into account 5 cars per year on par with the Model T. Ward will want to come up with every thing that it entails: build manuals, reproducible fixtures, and so on. Obtaining fresh Chevy truck bodies will be in a challenge in itself. “Engineering, design and style, and development is one particular clusterf–k,” explained Ward. “But building it is one more.”
Currently, 2 individuals have asked for their quite own Thriftmasters. By the time December rolls close to, they will be driving vehicles that transcend classification. It is a totally niche automobile that demands the customer’;s vision should virtually specifically match that of its obsessive creator.
Fortunately, Ward is an straightforward man to relate to.
Also be certain to verify out portion a single of our search at Icon and its eclectic leader Jonathan Ward right here.
Get more automobile news, testimonials and view each and every day: Sign up to have the Autoweek Day-to-day Drive delivered appropriate to your inbox.