Jonathan Ward Continues To Infuse Vintage Styling With State-Of-The-Art Technology
When approaching a 1949 Mercury Coupe Derelict project, ICON 4×4 Design co-founder/lead designer Jonathan Ward asked, “Why are all production EV vehicles devoid of heart and soul? Why is the aftermarket EV-conversion industry so slow to evolve and provide comprehensive systems and solutions? Why can’t you have the best of both worlds: the style and quality of a vintage vehicle with modern performance and functionality? We say you can have your cake and eat it too!”
As background, the purpose behind ICON’s Derelict line is to celebrate and preserve the original patina and exterior trim on the car. This 1949 Mercury Coupe was sourced from the original owners, and it has been in Southern California since new. ICON forensically disassembled the body, replaced all rubber, added insulation and sound-deadening products everywhere, then reassembled it in a manner that tried to make it look like nothing had been touched. A robust 4-wheel-independent chassis was developed with Art Morrison Enterprises alongside Brembo brakes.
The powertrain is all-modern and was a co-engineering exercise between ICON and Stealth EV. The dual electric motor, transmission-less design provides 470 lb-ft of freight-train torque and the equivalent of 400 horsepower, with no shifts all the way up to the Merc’s 120 MPH top speed. A full Tesla Performance 85kWh battery array is strategically fit throughout the vehicle for exceptional weight balance. It is capable of an estimated 150- to 200-mile range and has 1.5-hour full recharge capability. ICON positioned a CHAdeMO 125A fast-charger plug behind the tilting front license plate frame and also converted the original gas filler into a Tesla supercharger plug to expedite in-transit charging. A pioneering EV management system protects the batteries from overcharging and also provides thermal management and a host of capabilities and protections.
ICON had a bit of fun with the engine bay. Since the electric motors fit where the old transmission once resided, Jonathan Ward thought it would be fun to reference vintage V-8 speed equipment. The custom aluminum “engine” actually houses the battery controllers and a few of the Tesla modules – designed in a traditional V-8 array with a polished and media-blasted finish for a decidedly vintage aesthetic. Then ICON had custom cloth-braided sheathing made for the wires under the hood, referencing the original wiring loom.
In the interior, ICON wanted to keep the materials vintage-appropriate and light. Fabric from Knoll Textiles and hides from Moore & Giles and Relicate Leather realized the exact design that Jonathan Ward envisioned. Power windows operate via the original analog window cranks; tapping twice on the driver’s side drops or raises all windows at once. While all gauges are modern digital Andromeda, the design strongly references the original analog units, down to the typeface and background. Other significantly redesigned elements include in-dash A/C vents (not to mention electric A/C), and all custom switches and bezels are inspired by the originals but support modern components and functions.
To ICON, the smallest details are never superfluous. The 1949 Mercury EV Derelict was commissioned by a longtime client, who gave ICON the go-ahead to push the boundaries of design and engineering. The result is what makes an ICON Derelict a piece of rolling sculpture. SEMA 2018 attendees can see the ICON 1949 Mercury EV Derelict in the Optima Battery booth #20323.
About ICON 4×4 Design
In 1996, Jonathan and Jamie Ward founded TLC to provide service, parts, and restoration for the classic Toyota 4×4 community. As their global reputation grew, Jonathan began to work as a consultant for Toyota. ICON 4×4 evolved through developing projects ranging from outfitting event-specific vehicles to being asked by Mr. Toyoda to build three running and driving prototypes, which ultimately became the 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser. The original prototypes paid direct homage to the Land Cruiser tradition, and ICON continues to revisit the classic FJ in all of its one-of-a-kind creations. For more information, please visit www.icon4x4.com.
About Stealth EV
Founded in 2015 by Matthew Hauber, Stealth EV is a fully integrated EV solutions company: specializing in electric vehicle and hybrid systems design, prototyping, vehicle production, and gas-to-electric conversions. Stealth EV’s expertise in electrical and drivetrain engineering along with its passion for new vehicle technology and fast cars is at the company’s core. If you can dream it, Stealth EV will design, engineer, and build it for you. For more information, please visit www.stealthev.com.