More than a decade ago, when Jonathan Ward began restoring and modifing 4×4’s in his Los Angeles-based shop (first Toyota FJ Cruisers and later, classic Ford Broncos from the 1960s and ’70s), he and the ICON team specialized in extensive and overt high-quality modification. Simply put, their builds outwardly showcased their customized nature.
Now, after a decade of brand exposure, Ward has recently introduced a retro-inspired “old school” line of Broncos. “I was excited to take a step back to introduce a new design package with a much more classic, under-the-radar aesthetic,” he says. “It appears that it’s much less modified.”
As is the case with this new lineup of modified 4×4 vehicles, appearances can be deceiving. While ICON’s old school Bronco features a restored stock body with licensed, reproduction grilles and bumpers—and is available only in glossy paint finishes—every other facet is modified to the highest standards of comfort and performance.
For example, ICON utilizes a custom rigid steel chassis engineered for a modern adjustable suspension, while a 5.0-liter, Coyote crate engine—the same power plant behind the Mustang GT—churns out 426 horsepower under the hood. Power steering also comes standard on all ICON builds, and all lights feature modern LED technology concealed behind stock-designed lenses.
Inside, custom-built, factory-influenced manual window cranks actuate the power window system, and all aspects of the interior design reflect the company’s no-plastic edict. Switches and gauges are all milled from solid blocks of stainless steel, and Ward sources fabrics and other finishing materials from marine, aerospace, and outdoor furniture industries.
Don’t be fooled, the old school Bronco is decidedly new in almost every way; its modernity is just discreetly blended into an otherwise nostalgic package. “It’s a way,” says Ward, “to corrupt the purist.”