Starting at $150,000 by ICON
The original Ford Bronco debuted in 1966, the brainchild of the same team who built the first Mustang. The first generation of the compact 4x4 was manufactured for twelve years and those early styles have become something of a holy grail for car geeks. It was certainly on the lust list of Jonathan Ward of ICON, known for anvil-tough takes on classic Land Cruisers. "I've owned a few and the idea's always been in my head," he says. "It's actually our number one requested vehicle." And this week, at the SEMA automotive show in Las Vegas, ICON is debuting their BR Series Bronco, an ode to the original with plenty of muscle to back up the good looks.
An early sketch of the BR Series.
The road to get here wasn't easy. It took about a year of development, with Ward flying back and forth between LA and Detroit countless times. After Ford gave their blessing, they introduced him to Camilo Pardo, responsible for new the Ford GT. "He's this rock star designer," says Ward. "And he really understood our bespoke approach—that every piece of plastic was an opportunity to be reconsidered and reinvented in stainless steel."
The next cog in the proverbial wheel? An offer from Nike, who's CEO Mark Parker, has long been an ICON fan. "We share similar philosophies—they have roots in the past, but they're constantly working to make the product better through new materials and design." Nike put together a team of ten designers, engineers, mathematicians and fabricators, who worked on individual components for the new Bronco in their legendary underground R&D lab, the Kitchen. From the V8 engine and military aircraft LED map lights to the chilewich interior fabric and laser-cut glass (the same used for skyscrapers), everything has been reworked and reinvented. "In the original Bronco, a lot of the elements were repurposed from other Ford models," says Ward. "I'm a watch nut and of course, guys don't need watches these days. A watchmaker's secret to success is the quality of execution. And a lot of that's been lost in the auto industry."