Wednesday, May 18, 2016


LOS ANGELES, California — By the time you read this, the memorable Sixth Street viaduct span appeared in these photographs—a historic point of Los Angeles' blasting 1930s and the craftsmanship deco engineering that characterized the developing city for a period—will be no more. It appears the solid utilized as a part of the extension has a kind of tumor, a high soluble base substance that brought about a compound response throughout the years, splitting its structure, and rendering it liable to fall ought to another significant seismic tremor hit Los Angeles—a possible sureness. In its place will be another extension, styled with components of the first yet free of the solid scourge that fixed its forerunner's destiny. 

Jonathan Ward, author and CEO of Icon, stands underneath this extension alongside the FJ44 Petersen Edition, a respect to the Toyota FJ Cruiser. Like the new extension, this vehicle was additionally given life through death. Each FJ that Icon assembles starts as a unique Toyota FJ—Toyota's unbelievable go-anyplace, do-anything vehicle—that has been rusted, harmed, or just headed to the point where a processing plant right reclamation would have neither rhyme nor reason. From this "end of life" FJ, as Ward calls it, some auxiliary parts are spared, alongside different odds and ends. Approximately 13 months after the fact, another Icon FJ is finished—a vehicle that builds and improves on the original’s concept without losing any of its charm. And it doesn’t look too threatened by any earthquake.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       “The whole idea is a sense of continuity from the original FJ,” says Ward. “Everything on the original FJ has a purpose, and it’s almost immediately digestible. As soon as you see it, you know why it’s there and what it does and why it’s made out of that material. The view was to honor that tradition.”

That’s where the obsession starts. Ward, who began retooling FJs nine years ago, is consumed with all of the details pretty much all the time. He fell in love with the FJ during his world travels, finding the vehicle a key source of transportation in some of the world’s most rugged environments. Such was his passion for the model that he quit his well-paid 9-to-5 job to start a company supplying components to keep old FJs on the road. Ultimately, Ward’s all-conquering creative side coaxed him into not just maintaining but improving the FJ. That’s how Icon was born.                                                Nearly every part on the Icon FJ is reworked from the ground up to function, look, and feel better than the original. A new mandrel-bent steel chassis replaces the stock C-channel frame, and it’s both longer and sturdier than any FJ Toyota built. In addition to the four-door configuration, two-door versions are available, as is a pickup variant. Buy an Icon, and you’re buying a hand-built vehicle of which no two are exactly the same.

The Petersen Edition FJ44 is the most recent of more than 90 Icon FJs built to date, and it’ll soon be part of a six-month display in Los Angeles’ Petersen Automotive Museum. Most significantly, it boasts about 30 new features that Ward agonized, sweated, and, yes, obsessed over. These features are soon to be regular production changes that will further evolve the Icon into what he considers to be the third-generation of the “Ultimate FJ.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Said features are a mix of form and function, but some are more functional than others. At the top of the heap is this FJ44’s engine, a crate version of the 6.2-liter V-8 found in the previous-generation Chevrolet Corvette and Camaro SS. It makes 430 hp and 424 lb-ft of torque stock, but this one is augmented by a Magnuson supercharger, bumping output to somewhere in the neighborhood of 540 hp and 495 lb-ft. Then there’s the new Sport Brake package that marks Brembo’s first application for an Icon vehicle. It’s a six-piston front, four-piston rear setup with a hydro-boost-style master cylinder supplied by Wilwood. Other changes are found in the suspension, with new Fox Racing coil-over shocks and a radius-arm-style front suspension. Articulation over the standard Icon setup is diminished slightly, Ward says, in the name of improved road manners and ride quality. New forged aluminum 18-inch wheels are designed by Icon and made at Wheel Pros in California. Not only are they lookers in Icon’s Volcanic Blackish finish, but they’re also lighter than the previous 17-inch wheels.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Hoist yourself into the FJ44, a slight climb, and you’ll find all-new knobs, gauges, fold-down windshield clamps (from the industrial refrigeration field), and glove-box panel. The list goes on to include new interior and exterior mirrors, door handles,audio system ,center console, dome light, parking brake, LED headlights, seating surfaces, and more. Ward has worked on all of these changes for some time, building prototypes, refining each to his version of “right.” All these changes came about because a little bug in Ward’s brain said Icon’s previous designs, materials, and details were excellent but not excellent enough. You begin to wonder if Ward will ever think one of his FJs is perfect or if the target is forever moving.     Body boards are all marine-grade aluminum, aside from the hood; it conveys a honest to goodness Toyota parts number and is stamped from steel. The front grille is the genuine article as well, as are parts of the pedal box and the firewall. Very little else stays from the standard FJ, be that as it may. 

The huge V-8 starts up rapidly and sinks into a burbling unmoving, giving the FJ44 a sound to match its threatening looks. Slip the marginally dubious segment shifter from Park into Drive, plunge your foot into the throttle, and the Icon thunders off,  presumably in search of something to crush beneath its giant tires.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Creeping around downtown Los Angeles, the FJ44 is fast, genuinely agreeable, and marginally heavy. Its turning sweep is huge, so U-turns and stopping areas are given more thought than in your normal Jeep Wrangler. In any case, other than that, the FJ44 is amazingly simple to drive for such a brutish, 17-foot-long vehicle. It goes madly well—the inexhaustible torque raises it no hell to trill tires through a few riggings—and the guiding helps up pleasantly above stopping speeds. The Brembos are remarkably effective and have quite fair feel to boot, which is a charming astonishment in something this substantial with this much power. 

Yes, it's hard to believe, but it's true: The Official Vehicle of Armageddon is quite wonderful as you tootle down to the neighborhood boutique coffeehouse. Ward astutely included some truly decent cupholders as well, in the event that you don't complete your java before winding back to your popular space in downtown Los Angeles. On the other hand your yak-hair tent in Tibet, so far as that is concerned. The FJ44 appears as though it would be superbly content with either destination.                                                                                                                                                                                                     The thing is, however, it gets a great deal of consideration. People on foot and different drivers alike moderate and gaze. The police gaze as well, noticeably at odds on whether what we're driving is road legitimate. At last, they pick to not research further, to which the FJ protests, "Savvy move." Or possibly I did, reinforced by its machismo. Regardless, this model has no rooftop, and the entryways are genuinely low profile, so be set up to play a profoundly obvious supporting part in the activity motion picture your life transforms into while driving it. 

Yes, that is it! An activity motion picture! How about we see, "The Big One" hits downtown L.A. leaving rubble afterward.Traffic out of the city is jammed. The Icon FJ, meanwhile, is ready for its close-up.

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