Some 32 miles northwest of Los Angeles, lies the city of Chatsworth. By all accounts a well-off but not extraordinary suburb of the City of Angels, it also lays claim to the one of the most bizarre and notorious restoration shops in the country: ICON.
120,000 square feet and chock full of everything from Toyota Land Cruisers and FJs to classic GM-based Buicks, the facility is the brainchild of founder Jonathan Ward, a fast-talking, rapid-thinking tinkerer who makes his trade by taking something old and restoring it in the most, well, iconic way possible.
It all started as an idea that he shared with his wife, Jamie, while eating dinner on vacation in South Africa. While there, Ward became obsessed with the robust, venerable Land Cruiser seen all over the place, and became convinced that such an amazing machine was deserving of an equally amazing restoration shop. Jamie agreed, and the two of them left behind their jobs and went headfirst into starting ICON–and as they say, the rest is history.
Part and parcel of the ICON operation is its notorious ICON Bronco, which first made a splash back in 2011. Developed between Ward, Ford designer Camilo Pardo, and a hand-picked group from Nike (yes, the shoe company; CEO Mark Parker gave Ward access to some of his best employees), the truck was given over to the proper set of minds, eyes, ears, and hands to make the legend come to life.
The Bronco, which was a 1968 model, underwent a total makeover. Out went the stock 289, three-speed manual, Dana 20 transfer case, and everything else; in went a Coyote 5.0, Aisin Warner five-speed manual, and Atlas II transfer case, as well as a host of other goodies, like Stoptech brakes, Fox Racing shocks, and Eibach coils.
It started a firestorm of fame for the company, as orders came pouring in for ICON to build clones of the revamped Bronco. It’s still a major source of income, in fact, despite costing upwards of $200K and being very backlogged–waiting times for customers now exceed two years.
Nonetheless, Ward is still as excited as ever. Between Land Cruisers, oddball hot rods, classic Chevy 3100 pickups, and more, the company’s and concepts are reaching untold heights, and don’t look to be stopping anytime soon. Check out more about ICON via its website, and be sure to give them a Like! on Facebook as well.