— story by Doug Stokes
I think that we saw a new definition of the word “ICON” at the September MPG luncheon.
Members of the Motor Press Guild were invited to the ICON 4×4 shop in Chatsworth on September 29th for a unique opportunity to tour the facility and meet the main man, Jonathan Ward. Ward gave an easy-going master class in design theory and implementation that would not have been out of place if spoken to a third year class at Art Center.
Ward and his staff at ICON are involved in the re-animation of some very special automobiles, with a very tangible penchant for classic 4X4’s, but enough imagination left over to take their very special look at many other worthy machines.
“Restoration” is just a starting word here; depending on the client’s wish, Ward’s incredibly talented crew can produce a perfect nut for nut machine that now exists precisely as it left the showroom floor. They’ve also done work for museums and collectors world-wide … or, just as easily, go hundreds of leagues further into the lexicon of design.
Of course the real magic at ICON is the subtle, reimagining of classic machines that Ward and his people do with such alacrity. Dead serious, and almost deliriously happy to be so; Ward piles detail on detail … Some so subtle that they hide in plain sight, others (tiny notes, phrases) that are so true that they seem to engulf the whole automobile without a whiff of fuss, flash, or cuteness.
The rather plain term “right” comes to mind as the perfect tribute to the artwork at ICON.
The work performed there is neither easy nor cheap and there are no loss leaders, cut-rate or half-off/half-baked “deals”. This is all-in specialty building in the very best tradition of the early coachbuilders and it costs what it costs. I wear a very nice $19.95 watch, it tells time and reminds me of the date whenever I’ve forgotten it. I want to wear a Rolex Daytona (or a blue-green Milgauss).
I also want Mister Ward and his team to slice about 20 inches out the middle of a Porsche Panamera (thus making it a two-door new-age 928) and I’m thinking about taking a sack lunch to work by bicycle (for the next 20 years) to save up for the down payment on the work. Take a stroll through www.icon4x4.com and find out … as they ask: What moves YOU.
View photos of the event below. All photos courtesy of Myles Regan/Regan Digital Images