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Icon Chevy Thriftmaster Pickup First Drive Review

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Icon Chevy Thriftmaster Pickup First Drive Review

One way or the other the 5,000-yr-previous wooden that makes up the truck’s mattress comes up first. “It is reclaimed black peat oak from a lavatory in Eire,” says Jonathan Ward, Icon’s CEO and chief designer, displaying me the mattress of his newest Icon Chevrolet Thriftmaster pickup. “Relating to the wooden we will do something, we work with a cupboard maker within the Carolinas. Lately we constructed a truck for a professional baseball participant and used Louisville Slugger White Ash.”

Icon is best recognized for its massive-buck customized Broncos, however pickups have all the time been an enormous a part of its enterprise. It has constructed Toyota FJ45s for years, and it has turned out 4 customized one-off trucks – together with a 1965 Ford F-250 crew cab 4×4, which continues to be considered one of Ward’s favorites. That truck launched its Icon TR line of LS-powered 1947-1953 Chevy Thriftmaster pickups in 2013, and the corporate has constructed eight since then, with three extra now in manufacturing.

They value a mean of between $235,000 and $260,000, however this 5-Window 1952 Thriftmaster is the costliest instance Icon has ever constructed. About forty % of the corporate’s shoppers have two or extra Icons, and this truck was constructed for a repeat buyer Ward describes as a efficiency hound. It is the primary Icon TR to get a supercharged LSA engine, unbiased rear suspension and a six-velocity guide.

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Ward has had a factor for these Thriftmaster 3100s lengthy earlier than he began TLC and commenced restoring and restomoding Toyota Land Cruisers professionally in 1996. He had already restored 9 in his spare time and first met his spouse Jamie, now Icon’s CFO, whereas he was laying underneath a type of Chevys.

“I identical to their form and the fluidity of them,” he says. “The design makes them seem like they’re older than they are surely, however they’ve extra interior area and higher ergonomics than trucks from the Nineteen Thirties. Sadly they suck mechanically. I’ve no endurance for them inventory. They seem to be a farm truck.”

Like its Broncos, every Icon TR is totally hand-assembled and reengineered on the firm’s seventy five,000 sq. foot facility in Chatsworth, California. Ward begins every construct with best Thriftmaster he can discover, then tosses all the things however the bodywork into the trash.

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A sq. tube chassis is provided by Artwork Morrison and fitted with Unusual coilovers, unbiased tubular A-arm entrance suspension with a sway bar and on this truck an IRS with an aluminum Dana 60 third member, three.seventy three gears and sixth-era Camaro half-shafts and geometry. To make room the mattress has been raised 4-inches. Icon has additionally fitted minitubs to suit the truck’s 275/45R18 Michelins Primacy tires. Its cast aluminum wheels are customized one-offs usual after Artillery Wheels from the Nineteen Thirties, they usually could also be our favourite a part of the construct.

Apart from tinted glass, the remainder of the physique is inventory. The unique fuel tank is not behind the seat. Now there is a 25.6-gallon chrome steel tank beneath the mattress. “It helps with weight stability as a result of the ass is so mild,” says Ward. Chrome is obtainable, however the bumpers and trim on this truck are nickel plated.

To deal with the extra energy of the 6.2-liter LSA, Tremec additionally provided a big 12-inch clutch together with the T56 Magnum. Most trucks get a 430-hp LS3, a 4L65E 4-velocity automated and a 9-inch with a restricted slip, however Ward will principally construct something a buyer needs.

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With a twist of the important thing the LSA E-Rod thunders to life prefer it belongs in a NASCAR storage. The engine is 50-state authorized, even after Icon matches a 2.5-inch stainless twin ceramic-coated exhaust system. However there are not any seen exhaust pipes. As an alternative there is a turndown hidden in every of the Chevy’s rear wheel wells and the V8’s roar echoes off the shop’s concrete flooring.

“It is rowdy,” Ward says with a smile.

That is one option to put it. Chevy charges this engine at 556 horsepower at 6,one hundred rpm and 551 pound-ft of torque at three,800 rpm, and out on the street the truck can overpower its rear tires in first or second gear from about 25 mph. Stomp the pedal and the Michelins mild up, however the truck is not a handful.

It is surprisingly straightforward to drive, and it is snug. Its chassis feels tight, even over tough patches of street. The clutch requires a bit extra muscle than the clutch in an Icon Bronco, nevertheless it is not heavy sufficient to be a problem. The drilled aluminum pedals are nicely-positioned and heel and toe downshifts come straightforward.

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Visitors is mild so we make some noise, throwing gears at 6,000 rpm, leaving black stripes at each inexperienced mild. Ward says it’s going to get rubber in fifth. However the Icon can do mellow too. The engine has a lot torque you possibly can drive it round city in third or fourth with none points and at eighty mph in sixth gear, the blown V8 is revving simply 1,800 rpm.

Icon stuffs the truck’s leather-based-coated bench seat with reminiscence foam, so there are not any springs and the help it gives feels trendy. It is a small cab. There’s loads of headroom however there’s simply sufficient legroom to get snug when you’re about six-ft tall.

The 1955 Chevy Bel Air steering wheel, which has been minimize right down to sixteen inches and coated in leather-based, is a cool contact and the Dakota Digital gauges look proper and glow purple. Each truck will get energy home windows and locks.

However the best a part of the truck’s interior is its lengthy, interval-right shifter, which is topped with an outsized black ball engraved with a white H-sample. You’ll be able to’t actually velocity shift it, however it’s visible perfection and its motion is splendidly mechanical.

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Simply because it does on its Broncos, Icon coats every thing in Line-X and Dynamat to maintain the truck’s cab quiet. After a couple of minutes on the street we roll up the home windows and crank the air con. The cabin is impressively remoted from the surface world, nevertheless no quantity of deadening can quiet the aural violence of LSA, popping and banging on the overrun.

The man within the subsequent lane provides us a thumbs up and yells over, “That is a stupendous truck man. Tremendous cool.” He is the second to go with the Thriftmaster in the previous few minutes. We have lately pushed Icon Broncos on these similar streets on two separate events and nobody appeared to note.

With its longer wheelbase, decrease middle of gravity and unbiased suspension, this pickup additionally handles significantly higher than the Broncos. It weighs three,770 lbs, however there’s little or no roll within the corners so it feels pure to drive shortly – in stark distinction to the a lot taller Broncos, which take somewhat getting used to. I am unsure I might need to hammer it down a mountain street, however I would not be afraid to.

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The facility brakes are a mixture of Wilwood grasp cylinder with calipers and large slotted and drilled rotors from Brembo. The pedal is agency they usually’re straightforward to modulate. With a sixteen.eight:1 ratio, the rack and pinion steering is fast, and it is very responsive off middle. There’s zero slop, and it is also mild sufficient so you possibly can steer with one hand and grasp your left elbow on the doorsill.

Again on the shop we give the truck one other stroll round and decide up a couple of different particulars we missed at first. Issues just like the flip alerts within the aspect mirrors, the 2 kickpanel cupholders, which have been taken from a Mercedes G-Wagen, and the functioning cowl vent. “I really like cowl vents,” says Ward. “Opening it on the freeway eliminates any wind buffeting when you’ve the home windows down.”

Ward goes to start out providing an Previous Faculty model of the Chevy Thriftmaster with extra conventional trim and particulars. This look has proved to be a current hit on his Broncos. He additionally needs to do a 4×4 strong-axle model that appears just like the previous NAPCO conversions from the Nineteen Fifties. There’s already a rendering of that truck on his web site. “I think it will be killer,” he says.

Hopefully there are a number of extra planks of black peat Oak nonetheless sitting within the muck of that Irish lavatory.

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