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Behind the Scenes of ICON 4x4’s Wagoneer Project

ICON 4x4 recently completed the newest of the company's concours-inspired Reformer series: A 1965 Kaiser Jeep Wagoneer. ICON founder and lead designer Jonathan Ward posted a video (see it above) that provides insight and background on the project.

The video gives an overview of the vehicle's history and revival. In brief, the Jeep SJ Wagoneer was the successor to the beloved Willys Wagon. It is one of Brook Stevens' finest designs—although some may argue that his Harley-Davidson Hydra-Glide and Oscar Mayer Weinermobile are even more iconic.

Ward created the commission for a customer who wanted the ultimate family beach machine. A first-generation Wagoneer was sourced because Ward preferred the look of the 1963-‘65 shovel nose front end over later iterations.

As with all ICON builds, a classic body style is mated to modern mechanicals. First, the vehicle is disassembled and its body is digitally scanned to create a CAD file, from which Art Morrison Enterprises creates a custom chassis that has OE body-mounting locations, but is configured for a modern multi-link suspension.

Fox coilovers with Eibach springs control the ride. Custom Dynatrac Dana axles with Brembo brakes are huge upgrades over the 1960-era offerings. They are capped by streetable 31.5-inch BFGoodrich all-terrains and custom 18x8 ICON/Circle Racing billet wheels that were painted body color and machined to accept factory hubcaps for a period-correct look.

ICON's go-to powerplant is the GM Erod LS3. It provides 420 emissions-compliant horsepower. The geartrain is completed by a Gearstar GM 4L80E automatic and an Advance Adapters Atlas transfer case.

The interior is one of the Jeep's highlights, according to ICON 4x4. Ward used modern, durable, UV-stable vinyl from Knoll Textiles. The patterns are inspired by 1960-era styling. Redline Gauge Works adapted the factory analog gauges for modern digital signals. Also, ICON replaced all plastic trim parts with either aluminum, pewter, or stainless steel.

As the finishing touch, the Jeep was painted in Land Rover Tamar Blue. Ward felt that woodgrain—which appeared for the 1979 model year—was a vital component of Wagoneer DNA, so he included 3M vinyl on a more understated level than the factory used.

Find more information at ICON4x4.com or by calling 818-280-3333.