In this age when glitzy supercars dominate the headlines, one would think that vintage cars would not have any buyers. Jonathan Ward proved this to be wrong with his Derelict series of custom cars. As the CEO and lead designer at Icon, he churns out highly customized Ford Broncos and Toyota FJs. His new line of Derelict cars might cost a cool million dollars but they retain the look of jalopies with distressed interiors, dented panels and faded paint.
Ward works on thoroughly revamping the technological aspects by fitting these vehicles with features like electric windows, powerful sound systems and powerful drivetrains. Customers love their unique combination of the old and the new. They don’t have to worry about any new minor blemishes that their vehicles would acquire in minor accidents, but the cars offer a highly comfortable driving experience. Customers who have bought Derelict cars include leading entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley, renowned fashionistas and moghuls from Wall Street. They might not be the most rewarding cars from an investment perspective, but they driving them can be a very rewarding experience.
While Ward’s Icon specializes in upgrading and recycling high end vintage cars with revamped interiors and modern technologies, in the case of the Derelict cars, the vintage chic gets better as the car looks worse. For the Derelict series, the Icon team goes to great lengths to make the vehicle look as if they have done nothing. Every vehicle is first taken to a laser scanner to collect all the data pertaining to the car. This data is then used to create a 3-D wireframe, and all the modern elements like digital audio and climate control settings are then slotted into vacant nooks for optimal incorporation of all new features ranging from connectivity to weight distribution.
Painstaking attention is paid to the finer details so that the end result is a car that offers the best of everything except looks. Each Derelict is a symbol of the owner’s individuality with its extent of customization and comfort. Icon does not use just any old jalopies. Customers are not expected to supply the cars that are restored. Icon talks to the customers to know what they are looking for and then based on the concept, sources the right vintage car. It might be a car that matches with the architecture of the owner’s home, or one that reminds him of his grandparents. Ward uses a nationwide network of hunters – who variously include architects, petrol station technicians, farmers and UPS drivers – to find the right car. Once he finds something that matches his client’s concept and his vision, his team decides on the work needed and the price tag.
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