Designer, engineer, and mega-detail-freak Jonathan Ward started creating his Reformers series when he decided to put himself in the shoes of the original designers. If they did not have to consider scale production processes and cost, what would they have dreamed of actually offering their customers?
Jonathan runs Icon Customs in Los Angeles, a boutique automotive company that revisits ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s iconic car designs, mixing them with top-of-the-line modern engineering.
“We celebrate the history while infusing the best state-of-the-art content to create unique daily drivers, rich in character and distinction,” Jonathan says.
Unlike Icon’s mini production of restomod 4x4s and classic cars, the Reformers are one-off creations, hand-built by a particular team. In most cases, once taken off its frame, the whole vehicle body is 3D scanned to give it a custom-made chassis. Then Jonathan drops a modern powerplant and installs the pristine bodywork. That is before the team adds today’s creature comforts such as A/C, power everything, tilt column, copious amounts of Dynamat insulation, and even a Wi-Fi hot spot!
Jonathan Ward put himself in the shoes of the original designers if they did not have to take into account scale production processes and cost.
However, for this double cab, fulfilling his customer’s requirement, Jonathan opted for a bulletproof 2007 Ram 2500 Mega Cab chassis. After a media blast and a slight reduction in length, it receives, along with the underside of the body and inside floor surfaces, a protective polyurea-coating, reducing noise and vibration.
The Same, But Different
The “Six-Pack” body shape, which is relatively uncommon, was the basis of this beautiful crew cab creation, as it offers six comfortable seats. Of course, the overall shape had to be retained, but under the skin, the Icon team had to massage the front fender wells to accommodate the larger wheels. Ditto in the bed that had to be channeled 3 inches to fit the RAM frame.
Money no object, I’d order one. In fact, I’d go for two: I would also ask Jonathan to work his agic on a daily F-100.
By stripping the F-250 down to the bare metal, Jonathan and his team were able to make very subtle modifications to the body. As a result, the truck is more elegant than when it left the factory, thanks to the laser-sharp panels’ alignment and the drastic reduction of gaps.
Once satisfied with the exterior, the paint needed to be just as exceptional. Jonathan chose Micatallic white and silver paints—they almost blend into a unique hue depending on the angles. Even though they do not contrast with the superb paint job, several custom-designed parts enhance the style and feel of the double cab.
They mainly consist of CNCed media blasted and nickel-plated aluminum trims with laser cut and engine-turned, stainless-steel inserts. In addition, they comprise a unique grille, headlight, and blinker housings, rearview mirrors, door handles, and custom-made hood ornament. As for the trim that runs along the side of the vehicle, it is inspired by the Custom Cab model. One of the most significant alterations is how Jonathan modified the Ford lettering to read Icon instead.
Other exterior upgrades include LED taillights and the addition of a rear bumper since the original trunk didn’t have one, and smart bedrails LED lighting. It is activated by opening the tailgate or using the interior cargo light switch.
The donor F-250 body had seen its fair share of heavy-duty use, sporting a custom bed, roll bars, and many scars. Just as well, the engine that had seen better days. The “logical” alternative to the out-of-breath original powertrain could have been a Ford crate V-8. But Jonathan and his staff of 30 then followed their customer’s request: Fit a mighty Cummins 5.9-liter diesel engine. To give it more grunt, they even enhanced it with Banks’ six-guns system, a water-to-air Intercooler, and Banks’s ram-air system using a custom-fabricated aluminum intake. To top it off, they installed a Banks ceramic coated stainless exhaust.
This gives this 6-cylinder big ol’ lump some serious torque, with 680lb-ft and 405hp. Not bad for an oil burner. I hear some of you grinding your teeth since Cummins are usually powering Dodges trucks, but come on, look at this bad boy F-250! Moreover, the performance and refinement are astounding even though the turbo has not been significantly boosted — yet it sports a lightened impeller, explaining the hyper-reactive torque delivery.
The top-shelf quality materials, attention to detail, and incredible fit and finish are what sets Icon vehicles apart. The interior has been completely redone with burgundy leather highlighted by plaid pieces (they hide modern heating elements for all six seats). This is the polar opposite of the exterior subtle two-tone paint job, but perfectly fitting for this luxo-truck. The knobs, lighting, vents, and other components have undergone minor aesthetic modifications and are built up in quality. The original plastic dash knobs were scanned to CAD design digital versions to CNC new ones out of aluminum, then brushed nickel them.
The stock steering wheel was restored, wrapped in soft leather, and embellished with the Icon lizard. Jonathan could not accept modern electronics to be apparent in this period’s correct-looking interior. He had the audio, Bluetooth system, trailer braking, and air conditioning thoroughly hidden. They are either built into the German weave, hemmed in leather carpet-lined floor, in the dashboard, or under the rear bench.
The truck is more elegant than when it left the factory, thanks to laser-sharp panels’ alignment and drastic reduction of gaps.
For a well-balanced suspension system, Jonathan decided not to try to reinvent the wheel and collaborated with Kore. Aiming to deliver a smooth ride and sporty handling, they recommended their 2.5-inch front, and 3.0-inch rear system. They are matched with Fox Pro Series remote reservoir shocks, stock leaf packs, and a 3-inch block lift. Jonathan finally opted for a Fox steering stabilizer coupled with an Ididit steering column upgrade.
What’s It Like?
The 6-pot Cummins is super reactive yet smooth are relatively quiet, fitting the truck’s philosophy. The modern auto box clicks through gears faster than the previous gearbox ever could, while the firm suspension and wide BF Goodrich All Terrains tires impress us, both on and off-road.
Then again, you would expect a flawless product once you part with a quarter of a million dollars. You would consider them well spent though, as you would get the pinnacle of a radically improved, all-rounder, F-250 that doesn’t lose any of its old-time charms. Icon 4×4’s creations are terrific works of art. Money no object, I’d order one. In fact, I would probably go for two: I would also ask Jonathan to work his magic on a daily F100.
The Designer: Jonathan Ward
Appreciated by Hollywood stars, dubbed by design masters as well as fanatics, revisited classic-car aficionados, and quite famously by Jay Leno, Jonathan drops master stroke after master stroke with his redesigned Toyotas and Broncos.
However, he also offers an exclusive series of Reformers ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s masterpieces. He superbly enhances the original lines and materials of genuine barn finds while invigorating them with the latest tech, modern powertrain, and suspension. Imagine what happens when he breaks his own “LS/Vortec everything” rule and goes full-diesel on an F-250.
at Icon (IconCustoms.com)
1965 Ford F-250 Crew Cab
Engine & Drivetrain
- Shop: Icon Customs
- Cummins 5.9-liter diesel engine
- Stock Turbo with lightened impeller
- Power: 405 hp
- Torque: 680 lb-ft
- Ceramic coated stainless Banks 4-inch turbo back performance exhaust system
- Water Air Intercooler Banks ram-air, custom fabricated aluminum intake
- Banks billet multidisc torque convertor
- Ididit column shifter
- Manual Dodge transfer case
- 2007 2500 Dodge Ram axles
- Mag-Hytec AA 14-11.5 differential cover
Chassis & Suspension
- 2007 Ram 2500 Mega Cab chassis stripped, sectioned, internally gusseted and reinforced, and powdercoated
- Front: Kore 2.5-inch front system with Fox 2.5 Pro Series remote reservoir shocks
- Rear: Stock leaf pack, Kore 3-inch block lift with Fox 3.0 Pro Series remote reservoir shocks
- Steering stabilizer: Fox
Wheels, Tires & Brakes
- Custom 17-inch steel rims and Ford hubcaps
- 35/12.50R17 BF Goodrich All Terrain tires
- Stock brakes with Wilwood master cylinder and Hydratech hydroboost
Body & Paint
- Two-ton custom mixed silver and white
- Custom-made rear bumper with brushed nickel finish
- Driving Lights: Stock with LEDs
Interior & Stereo
- Stock bench seats rebuilt and reupholstered burgundy leather and plaid fabric
- Burgundy wool and square weave carpet
- Gauges: Stock rebuilt by Redline Gauge Works
- Stereo Head Unit: Mark III Bluetooth with Arc Audio amp and Focal speakers