Designed by ICON4X4 founder, Jonathan Ward, each ICON Thriftmaster Truck is hand-built, and each one is an example of modern engineering, vintage style, and Art Deco craftsmanship.After five minutes of talking with Jonathan Ward you can fully grasp the depth of his automotive passion. It’s infectious to hear him discuss his love for the aesthetics of a bygone era. The love he has for the masters of industrial design. People like Raymond Loewy get him excited and he perks up in his chair to tell you about how Raymond has influenced his current project. If I had to choose one phrase to describe Jonathan it would definitely be “attention to detail”.
It was over a glass of wine on vacation in 2007 with his wife that they decided to quit their day jobs and start building cars for a living. With a couple of credit cards, a wing and a prayer they jumped into the company full bore. They started out restoring Toyota Land Cruisers but quickly moved on to FJs and Ford Broncos.
Jonathan utilizes tons of different concepts to get to an end goal. His tricks range from using tiny, adjustable gas shocks from remote-controlled cars to activate his glove compartment hinges to acid etching his logo on the tailgate of the Thriftmaster. He is always looking to achieve something new, different and bold when he makes an ICON.The key to ICON’s creations is the chassis engineering. Jonathan partners with Art Morrison to create a custom chassis for each product line at ICON. They went through a year of testing and refining the chassis on the Thriftmaster test mule before starting out on the first production model. They ended up with beefy 2×5 main rails with an independent tig-welded tubular front and four link rear running Johnny Joints. It’s all sitting on 18-inch billet Circle Racing wheels wrapped in Nitto’s NT555 285/40 in the front and 295/45 in the back. All of that makes this 1950s truck handle like a modern day Corvette.
Under the hood is the GM 6.2 LS3 Erod Gas engine, which reaches 430 horsepower and 424 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated with a 5-speed TKO Tremec Manual Transmission. Five-speed Tremec T56 Magnum manual or GM automatic transmission is an option. With all this power the 3800-pound truck can reach 60 mph in less than 5 seconds. The body is an authorized reproduction from Premier Street Rods. They worked hours and hours to clean up all the gaps to make them feel and look more modern. Jonathan even grafted panels from 1947-1953 Thriftmasters, creating his own iconic look.
“The dashboard was one of the most challenging pieces to the truck,” says Jonathan, “We wanted to make it as clean as possible and hide all the switches, knobs and levers.” They turned to their friends at Kenwood and ISIS to provide a head unit and wiring harness that could act as the main controller for all the electronics in the car. You can control everything from the hidden touch screen or an iPhone application that is tied to the truck. You can start the car, roll down the windows, turn on the window wipers and unlock the doors with the phone. Hopping in the cabin you can see why they opted for a clean interior. It just looks fantastic without all the clutter. The dash centerpiece is the art deco lines of the nickel plated trim not some huge 8-track stereo system with faded yellow buttons. Both the glove compartment and the head unit covers are easy to access with a light press on the top of their panels. The doors swing out and float down with a smooth motion granted by the tiny RC shocks and magnets. “I added the magnets after we finished with panels,” explains Jonathan, “because [before] they would stop with a bang; the magnets let them glide into place.” A restored truck is always nice to look at. But a restomodded one is just so much cooler! To learn more about the Thriftmaster, visit ICON at http://icon4x4.com.