Chassis no. FJ4058238 (Icon #118)
Having already established a reputation as one of the world's foremost vintage Toyota Land Cruiser restorers via his TLC4x4 concern, Jonathan Ward founded his Los Angeles-based Icon brand in 2007 with the intention of updating Toyota's classic 40-series to reflect modern performance and engineering capabilities.
Initially concentrating on production of its retrospectively-named “New School” vehicles - in Ward's words “a modern industrial/ vintage mash up” - the introduction of Icon's “Old School” series in 2017 saw the company's sophomore offering bear a much closer physical appearance to the original Land Cruiser, albeit utilizing contemporary mechanicals beneath. Emblematic 40-series details such as the original style front bumper, rear bumperettes, spare wheel carrier and front fender-mounted turn signals were retained and refined, to be underpinned by a selection of new-build GM V8 motors with the choice of either five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions.
This stunning 114-inch wheelbase FJ44 - designated Icon #118 - was the first long-wheelbase commission embarked upon by the company, produced to the exacting requirements of its discerning first, and thus far only, owner. Generously specified with a 430 horsepower, 6.2 liter GM LS3 engine and GM 4L65E Heavy Duty four-speed automatic transmission, it also benefits from an Atlas II part-time four-wheel drive transfer case and Dynatrac front and rear axles, both of which contain optional ARB locking differentials.
Whilst road performance is predictably awe-inspiring, the generation of 450 foot-pounds of torque ensures that #118's off-road capability is no less impressive; an achievement greatly assisted by Icon's Sports Suspension upgrade and improved steering location and geometry. The vehicle is also fitted with the desirable Brembo Sport Brake Package - a $10,000 option alone - featuring six- and four-pot calipers at the front and rear respectively, and Hydroboost assistance to improve feel and reduce pedal pressure.
As with all Old School chassis, #118 is fitted with a hand-formed 5/32-inch gauge aluminum body, in this case tastefully finished in Pacific Blue with grey and silver exterior detailing and an Orion Grey three-ply soft top. A set of 18-inch forged aluminum wheels, shod with B/F Goodrich T/A All-Terrain tyres, are employed - the former also being finished in grey - while, in a sympathetic nod to the vehicle's Toyota heritage, their appearance is enhanced by the fitment of a set of standard 40-series chromed hubcaps.
In ergonomic terms, the vehicle is appointed with four luxurious bucket seats trimmed in perforated leather from Icon's preferred supplier Moore & Giles, as well as two side-facing rear jump seats. In keeping with Icon's usual practice, the vehicle controls are a tasteful mixture of old and new, with all instruments and switchgear taking inspiration from those of the original Land Cruiser, albeit incorporating modern materials and techniques to improve both functionality and durability. Strenuous efforts have been made to maintain the appearance of the instrument cluster and dash switches; a CNC-milled surround replacing the original pressed steel item in the case of the former. Peripheral items, such as interior door pulls, the center console, dashboard, door pocket surrounds and seat hardware are all finished in grey so as to match the exterior details, whilst a Pioneer 8200NEX Multimedia system ensures compliance with modern technological expectations.
Recent years have seen a new-found - and long overdue - appreciation of both expertly restored, original specification utility vehicles, and their contemporary-build “reimagined” counterparts. Unquestionably, Icon lead the world in the latter category; a position which they have cemented over many years as a result of their meticulous attention to detail, the use of only the finest quality components and - perhaps most importantly - their ability to tap into a highly skilled local workforce, deeply imbued with the Southern California “Resto-mod” culture.
Indeed, such is the complexity and thoroughness of the Icon build process that the elapsed time between order placement and final completion can often exceed 18 months; a delay conveniently circumvented by the purchase of an “as new” existing vehicle such as this. This, in conjunction with the vehicle's minimal mileage, single-ownership from new and extensive list of options, means that in #118 there can surely be no finer nor more appealing example of their extraordinary work currently available.