ICON 4x4 founder Jonathan Ward is a busy man. PickupTrucks.com followers will remember Ward's custom creation, the Icon Dodge D200, that took a classic 1965 Dodge and turned it into a restored masterpiece. It definitely was one of our 2013 test-drive highlights.
This year he's bringing his latest creation, called the Ultimate Thriftmaster, to the Specialty Equipment Market Association this week in Las Vegas. Icon has a made a name for itself by taking classic trucks like the early Ford Bronco, old Toyota Land Cruisers and classic Jeeps and bringing them up to modern-day specifications — meaning modern frames, suspensions, electricals, engines and transmissions.
The Ultimate Thriftmaster takes the classic design of the 1947–1953 Chevrolet 3100 five-window pickup trucks but puts a custom-built Art Morrison chassis underneath with a GM 5.3-liter E-Rod small-block V-8 with a Magnuson supercharger that we're told makes almost 450 horsepower. Like Ward's other creations, there will be some wiggle room when it comes to ordering a vehicle. However, because Icon is planning to build a small number of these pickups, most will likely be loaded to the hilt. That means each will boast four-wheel discs, Alcantara headliners, bison-hide seats, a web-enabled Kenwood and Audison digital audio system, brushed nickel-plated trim with aircraft ceramic clear coat and tons of other impressive details.
The exterior (and interior) beauty of this truck is obvious. Ward is a detail guy, so you can bet every switch, handle and knob was scrutinized and second-guessed before it became part of the production vehicle. But the true beauty of the Thriftmaster is what it feels like when the tires are on the pavement and you are behind the wheel.
We got the chance to take a quick spin in the truck and were impressed with how settled and controlled the truck feels for a complete restoration. As you might imagine, with an engine producing well above 400 hp, the throttle response is quick and smile-inducing. With the wheel and tire combination that Icon used to project a lowered look, the vehicle does not have a lot of ground clearance, so in choppy pavement situations the coil springs did feel a little firm. We're guessing that's because Icon wants this truck, unlike last year's D200 model, to corner like it is small sports car. And it does. It is a real kick to have the downsized, thin-tubed steering wheel spin around as you take a corner. You almost wish for a necker knob so you can use your other arm to brace yourself against the door because your butt wants to slide across the oddly soft bison upholstery. Our test vehicle had ash wood slats in the 6.5-foot bed. Interestingly, for aesthetics, the fuel filler cap is in the bed of the truck.
As you might imagine, these vehicles are expensive. Icon plans to build only five to 10 of these vehicles. If different versions become popular, Icon says it will be able to accommodate much larger numbers. For now, the Icon Ultimate Thriftmaster will be priced between $230,000 and $250,000, depending on the set-up and buyers' special requests. The buyers most interested in these vehicles, we're told, don't have to worry about costs.
To download the Ultimate Thriftmaster press release, click here.
To download the Ultimate Thriftmaster specifications, click here.