If you’re apprehensive about Ford’s new Bronco – afraid the suits will buffo out the nameplate’s rugged aesthetic – then take a look over ICON’s Old School BR. This new creation from the bespoke company doesn’t have the heavy design modifications found on its other BR machines. Instead, think of the Old School BR as the greatest hits of the 1966-1977 Bronco.
“The idea here was to go far more retro,” explains Jonathan Ward, ICON founder and lead designer. “We’ve actually had some clients who love their ICONs but aren’t prepared for the attention they receive. They can’t stop for gas without having lengthy conversations. Ten years ago, we had to create a different aesthetic when we launched the brand with the BR Bronco and FJ Land Cruiser. Now we can afford ourselves the luxury to do something much more stock. I’ve been wanting to evolve in this direction anyway.”
Ward studied the Sport, Explorer, and Ranger trim levels of Ford’s Bronco, selecting the best aspects of each, blending them into a new look. The overall design, which retains the Bronco’s stock bumper designs, is more subdued than the company’s mainstream BR offering.
ICON worked hard to keep the Bronco’s original aesthetics pristine, like updating the lighting to LED technology while keeping them behind stock-appearing lenses. Even though the ICON name adorns the fenders, it’s written in script to mimic the classic font. The company even licensed reproduction OE grilles and bumpers.
Inside, the dashboard is an all-new ICON design while appearing stock while incorporating a stock reproduction glovebox door. There are custom-machined billet aluminum or stainless steel knobs and controls that retain the design of the ones originally found in the SUV. An Ididit tilt steering column and power steering add comfortable driving capabilities. There’s a Kenwood Bluetooth/Apple CarPlay-enabled head unit with GPS navigation system in the custom security console. Because the Old School BR is available as an open-air SUV, Ward recommends leather-look aircraft-rated vinyl material for added durability.
Power comes from a 426-horsepower 5.0-liter Ford V8 sourced from the Mustang GT. A stainless-steel Borla exhaust adds performance and a pleasant sound. Customers can choose between an Aisin AX15 five-speed manual or Ford 4R75W four-speed automatic with overdrive. Four-wheel drive is achieved with an Advance Adapters Atlas II transfer case, which is available with six different low-range gearing options.
ICON says its needs shorter lead times for the Old School BR – sometimes as little as six months. So, if this is something you want, you could be driving one before the 2020 Bronco hits the streets. There’s no pricing information, but don’t expect it to be cheap.
Gallery: ICON Old School Bronco
ICON Announced New "Old School" Line Of Classic Broncos
CHATSWORTH, CA – ICON 4x4 adrenalized the classic Ford Bronco market when it unveiled the stunning BR, a totally bespoke version of the classic American SUV. This award-winning vehicle – named GQ magazine’s 2011 Car of the Year – combined classic styling with modern technology, manufacturing, and materials.
ICON created the BR by reviving the vintage Bronco body to better-than-new condition. All plastic or pot-metal trim pieces are re-cast in CNC’d stainless steel, billet aluminum, pewter, or other exotic metals. Exterior details include the customer’s choice of tinted architectural glass in a variety of colors and body finishes ranging from trendy eggshell or matte paint to industrial powdercoat. The rest of the vehicle is all-new, using current-tech mechanical components, electronics, and manufacturing processes. More than 60 ICON BRs have been created to date.
To celebrate the company’s tenth anniversary in 2018, ICON Founder/Lead Designer Jonathan Ward decided to launch a new breed of builds: the Old School Series. These vehicles are characterized by restored stock bodies with traditional gloss paint. The factory bumpers are also retained. All other components follow the established ICON BR ethos: combining modern technology with classic design.
“The idea here was to go far more retro,” explains Jonathan Ward. “We’ve actually had some clients who love their ICONs but aren’t prepared for the attention they receive. They can’t stop for gas without having lengthy conversations. Ten years ago, we had to create a different aesthetic when we launched the brand with the BR Bronco and FJ Land Cruiser. Now we can afford ourselves the luxury to do something much more stock. I’ve been wanting to evolve in this direction anyway.”
The foundation of all ICON BR Broncos is a custom Art Morrison chassis made from rigid .180-inch-wall steel. It is engineered for a modern adjustable suspension: 12-inch-travel Fox Racing coilovers at each corner. Custom Dynatrac Dana-based axles provide geartrain reliability for the 33-inch-tall BFGoodrich tires.
Stopping power is provided by four-wheel disc brakes, which are optimized with a Wilwood master cylinder and a Hydratech hydro-boost system. ICON co-engineered the rotors and calipers with Brembo, resulting in 6-piston front calipers and 4-piston rears. To clear the big brakes, ICON designed custom 18x8 billet aluminum 4-slot wheels with Circle Racing. ICON paints them for a factory-steel vibe and machines the centers to accept reproduction original hubcaps. The wheels’ alloy material drastically reduces unsprung weight compared to the original Ford steel rims.
Unlike the vast majority of 1966-1977 Broncos, power steering is standard on all ICON builds. Premium PSC pumps and gearboxes help turn the tires with minimal driver effort.
ICON BR Broncos are powered by 426-hp Ford 5.0L Coyote crate engines from the Mustang GT. A stainless-steel Borla exhaust system provides long-lasting performance. Customers can choose between two durable transmissions: the Aisin AX15 5-speed manual or Ford 4R75W 4-speed AOD model. Four-wheel-drive gear reduction is achieved by the legendary Advance Adapters Atlas II transfer case, available in a choice of six low-range gearing options pending the customer’s intended usage.
The Old School Bronco’s overall appearance distinguishes it from the no-holds-barred “new school” ICON BRs. Jonathan Ward began by studying the Sport, Explorer, and Ranger trim levels offered by Ford during the vehicle’s 1966-1977 run. Then he cherry-picked the best aspects of each and blended them together. Most prominent are the exterior trim pieces and brightwork such as the rain gutters and window surrounds – all custom but inspired by factory designs. The ICON side badges are executed in a script that mimics the classic Bronco font. Further, licensed reproduction OE grilles and bumpers add to the period-correct look.
A factory rear spare-tire carrier furthers the retro persona. One of the few exterior “tells” other than the ICON side badges is the spare-tire carrier’s upgraded stainless-steel cam-action release lever and locking stop at 90 degrees. Additionally, all lighting looks factory but is actually modern LED technology behind stock-appearing lenses.
Gloss paint is primary part of ICON’s Old School aesthetic. The customer can choose the color (Jonathan Ward will respectfully steer clients toward the period 1960s-1970s palettes). However, matte and eggshell finishes are disallowed. The Old School BR shown here has both a factory hardtop and a custom full-length bikini top.
Inside, the ICON Old School BR displays the company’s no-plastic edict while retaining the original personality. The dashboard appears stock but is actually a completely new ICON design, incorporating a stock reproduction glovebox door. Further, all knobs and controls keep their vintage appearance but are custom-machined from billet aluminum or stainless steel. Even the vents for the Vintage Air HVAC system are made from aircraft aluminum and combine polished bezels with black-anodized fins. Custom Dakota Digital gauges have period-inspired analog faces but interface with the fuel-injected engine’s ECU.
Comfort, convenience, and safety are improved by an Ididit tilt steering column with modern collapsibility in case of accidents. ICON adapts the column to reproduction first-generation Mustang steering wheels, which were available from the factory in a variety of colors. ICON customizes the horn rings with the company’s lizard logo in spun pewter.
Electronically, ICON includes a Kenwood Bluetooth/CarPlay-enabled head unit with GPS navigation system in the custom security console. The sound system consists of a premium Arc Audio amplifier and Focal speakers. Also, ICON offers power windows that are actuated by custom, factory-influenced manual cranks.
Excellence in interior design/upholstery execution is one of ICON’s main claims to fame. Traditional automotive fabrics are bland and degrade much faster than textiles developed for other industries. For the Old School Bronco line, Jonathan Ward works with customers to create a bespoke interior that retains the period feel but is executed with fabrics from the marine, aerospace, and even outdoor-furniture markets. Because 4x4s – especially open-air ones – get dirtier than passenger cars, Jonathan Ward prefers leather-look aircraft-rated vinyl material for the Old School BRs. This can be combined with other durable materials to create one-of-a-kind custom interiors that complement the exterior while retaining the Bronco’s original personality.
For durability and noise-reduction, ICON preps the tub’s interior and underbelly with spray-on, heat-treated polyuria material. Then, copious amounts of Dynamat sound-deadener material are added to the body cavities.
For ICON customers, one of the main advantages of the Old School BR is much shorter leads times compared to the existing BRs – as little as six months, pending scope of the interior design.