It’s no secret: As a culture, we like our stuff shiny, new, germ-free. It’s okay, you can say it. Unfortunately, this relinquishes so much of what gets used to early deaths in landfills, incinerators and junkyards. Oftentimes, this includes cars… with maybe just a few more miles on them than we’d like. A few extra dings. A scratch mark or two. A dented spirit.
That’s a problem Jonathan Ward and his wife’s “bespoke utility” company Icon wants to fix. They’re rescuing cars like abused puppies, creating “new” cars from old things, marrying modern performance with classic styling as they capitalize on nostalgia and the desire to bring back cars long left for dead.
It’s called RestoMod. Restoration with modification, if you will.
“New cars by design are disposable… that’s so irresponsible,” says Ward, whose company was founded based on trends he was seeing in the collector market. “Any idea that I can come up with that fuses the vintage design sense and quality with the functionality of today… perfect storm.”
As a result, Icon is customizing new-ish cars, fashioned from old classics such as the Ford Bronco, FJ Cruisers, or Chevy Thriftmasters (the king of “farm trucks”). Ultimately, they have a look and feel reminiscent of what people loved about these cars the first time around, but with modern creature comforts that amount to a completely reimagined restoration. These standard features could be an old hand crank window opener that actually works automatically. Or an original dash panel that actually fronts for a modern heating/AC system.
A vintage look, but remixed for our age. After all, just because it looks old doesn’t mean it has to act that way, that’s the philosophy at least. Or as Ward puts it, “Why should we repeat a mistake, let’s say, by doing it the way it was done… if there’s a better way of doing it?”