There are few things in life cooler than a vintage Wagoneer, at least nothing the lawyers will allow us to print. But a classic Wagoneer fettled by the team at ICON? That moves the cool needle right off the charts.
You’re surely familiar with ICON 4×4 company. It is the business headed by Jonathan Ward, a man who – by all accounts – is as exacting with his design requirements as he is with his engineering demands. The ICON machine has churned out pristine (and very expensive) interpretations on the Toyota FJ which deploy parts and pieces from a LearJet in the truck’s sun visor. With that level of detail on a sun visor, you can be guaranteed a show-stopping performance from the rest of the machine, too.
ICON 4×4 recently completed the newest of the company’s Concours-inspired Reformer series: a 1965 Kaiser Jeep Wagoneer. ICON Founder/Lead Designer Jonathan Ward has now posted a video that provides insight and background on the project. The attention to detail is enormous.
Ward created the commission for a customer who wanted the ultimate family beach machine. A first-generation Wagoneer was sourced because Ward preferred the look of the 1963-1965 “shovel nose” front end over later iterations. He’s a man of good taste, then, too.
As with all ICON builds, a classic body style is mated to modern mechanicals. First, the truck is taken apart and its body is digitally scanned to create a CAD file. No mean feat. Art Morrison Enterprises creates a custom chassis from the digital data, incorporating OE body-mounting locations but adding provisions for a modern multi-link suspension.
On this Wagoneer, FOX coilovers with Eibach springs control the ride while custom Dynatrac Dana axles and Brembo brakes are huge upgrades over the 1960s’ offerings which were generally considered to be spit and piano wire. The whole works is capped by streetable 31.5-inch BFGoodrich all-terrains and custom 18×8 wheels, painted body color and machined to accept factory hubcaps for a period-correct look.
ICON’s go-to powerplant is the GM Erod LS3. A stout and easy to configure setup, the LS3 provides 420 horsepower and, yes, it is emissions-compliant. The powertrain is completed with a Gearstar GM 4L80E automatic and an Advance Adapters Atlas transfer case.
Be sure to study the pictures as the interior is one of the Jeep’s highlights. Small details are found everywhere, so many that one seems to find new ones each time they look. While the interior looks to be factory at a glance, it’s actually filled with custom and bespoke touches. This is Ward’s signature: building a machine that largely looks like it did when it left the factory but is better in every measurable way.
The Wagoneer is finished in Tamar Blue which is actually a Land Rover color. No ride from this era is complete without woodgrain, so the company applied 3M vinyl but did so with a good bit more restraint than the original builders of this machine.
It all adds up to a fantastic throwback machine that, considering all its modern equipment, isn’t much of a throwback at all. Price? ICON’s lips are sealed but it wouldn’t be at all of a stretch to peg the investment well north of a quarter million dollars.
Hey, people in Hollywood spend that kind of scratch on a Mercedes G65 AMG all the time. At least with the ICON Wagoneer, the owner is assured of having a one-of-a-kind vehicle.