Jay Leno Drives ICON 4×4’s 1949 Mercury EV
Jay Leno Drives ICON 4×4’s 1949 Mercury EV – Emmy award-winning automotive series Jay Leno’s Garage recently featured ICON 4×4’s 1949 Mercury EV Derelict Coupe alongside an interview with Co-Founder and Lead Designer Jonathan Ward. In the episode, Ward explains the purpose behind ICON’s Derelict line is to celebrate and preserve the original patina and exterior trim of each vehicle, and in regards the EV Merc, to dramatically improve the usability of a living piece of American automotive history with electrification. ICON’s founder, Jonathan Ward, comments “I’ve always been proud to recycle or upcycle vehicles that many think are already at the end of their usable life and make something from them that can last for decades more.”
Using their cutting edge automotive ingenuity, ICON forensically disassembled the body, replaced all rubber, added insulation and sound-deadening products everywhere, then reassembled it in a manner to make it look like nothing had been touched. A full Tesla Performance 85kWh battery array was added and strategically fit throughout the vehicle for exceptional weight balance. It is capable of an estimated 150- to 200-mile range and has 1.5-hour full recharge capability. A robust 4-wheel-independent chassis was developed with Art Morrison Enterprises alongside Brembo brakes to ensure superior handling and safety. The powertrain is also all-modern and was a co-engineering exercise between ICON and Stealth EV.
Ward explains, ICON got a bit creative with the engine bay. Since the electric motors fit where the old transmission once resided, Jonathan Ward thought it would be fun to reference vintage V-8 speed equipment. The custom aluminum “engine” actually houses the battery controllers and a few of the Tesla modules – designed in a traditional V-8 array with a polished and media-blasted finish for a decidedly vintage aesthetic.
The 1949 Mercury EV Derelict was commissioned by a longtime client, who gave ICON the go-ahead to push the boundaries of design and modern EV automotive engineering. When asked by Leno where Ward sees the EV restomods market in 10 years, Ward explained that he anticipates an 80 to 20 split in favor of EV builds largely due to the automotive industries rapid acceleration in the direction of renewable energy and an increased desire by drivers to enhance the dynamic versatility of their vintage vehicles.
Leno ended the episode by commenting, “Jonathan, it’s always a pleasure when you come by with these unique creations. I think you really started something (with these Derelicts) and the whole industry is copying that. Most people would have stripped it and shined it but keeping it the classic look, I think is really fun.”
Jay Leno Drives ICON 4×4’s 1949 Mercury EV Photos
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