Its unrestored exterior hides a modern drivetrain and a swanky alligator-trimmed interior.
Monterey Car Week is full of amazing vehicles, the vast majority of which shine with all the glory an infinitely buffed coat of wax can produce. There are also interesting barn finds and cool unrestored drivers that are blissful automotive time capsules, bringing the sounds and smells of the past into present-day motoring. This miles-long 1949 Hudson sort-of falls into the latter category at Pebble Beach, as it was a barn find. It’s also an unrestored “10-footer” or rather, that’s what Icon would like you to believe.
Yes, this fabulous Hudson is another awesome Icon creation, and as with many previous builds, there’s far more going on behind the scenes than its slightly weathered exterior would have you believe. We’ll jump right to the good part with the 6.2-liter supercharged LS9 V8, cranking out 638 horsepower (476 kilowatts) and 604 pound-feet (819 Newton-meters) of torque under the hood. It’s all sent to the back wheels through a built 4L85 four-speed automatic transmission, but there isn’t some old-school solid axle back there. Icon fitted a four-wheel independent suspension to this old lead sled, along with big Brembo brakes to handle stopping duties.
Gallery: ICON Derelict 1949 Hudson Coupe
The undercarriage work is actually far more impressive than it sounds. Resto-modding a Hudson with its partial unibody construction isn’t quite as simple as bolting up new hardware to an old body-on-frame Chevy. Custom-designed Art Morrison subframe assemblies were developed to give the big cruiser the proper underpinnings to handle the upgrades. The result is proper late-‘40’s land yacht with a lowered stance that looks diabolically evil.
Even more impressive is the interior, though we suspect it will fall into the love-it-hate-it category. It’s comprised of hand-dyed alligator and calf leather, with wool for both the carpeting and headliner. More wool is found on alligator-trimmed sun visors, and several components such as knobs were recreated in aluminum. An updated HVAC system was installed to keep occupants cool among all that wool; LED lights were installed throughout the greenhouse, and the Hudson’s original gauges were restored and updated to accept computer-control signals. All total, 400 hours of labor went into the interior alone.
The custom build was completed for a repeat Icon customer in Tennessee. As always, no costs are included in such an endeavor but you can bet it’s not cheap. On the flip side, you won’t find another vintage Hudson like this anywhere in the world.
ICON Debuts Custom "Derelict" 1949 Hudson Coupe at Monterey Car Week
Supercharged LS9 Power Meets Alligator Upholstery
Notorious for pushing the envelope of automotive design and craftsmanship, Jonathan Ward publicly unveiled his latest Icon creation during Monterey Car Week. This newest "Derelict" follows the company ethos of combining a classic body in as-found condition with cutting-edge mechanical components and electronics.
"This project was built for a repeat client we love," Jonathan Ward says. "He has a ranch in Nashville and loves the local culture there. So, the idea was to build a car with some rockabilly spirit: a vehicle that was distinct, yet fit the vibe of Nashville. Together, we decided a 1949-1951 Hudson coupe would be just the right choice. As we have now built several vehicles for this client, and he understands my odd brain, he encouraged me to go for it, and I built every details as if the car were for me."
Ward continues, "My recent deep-dive hobby is traditional leather-craft. As a serial craftsman, I have explored many arts, and leather-craft really speaks to me. So, I infused that into this project, which features a very unique wild-caught alligator and calf leather interior, which I designed and dyed all by hand. It was a labor of love, with just the interior taking over 400 hours to realize!"
This barn-found Hudson was discovered in North Carolina. Icon then re-imagined it as a highly capable, modern daily-driver with a bit of rockabilly attitude. The foundation is custom-engineered Art Morrison subframe assemblies designed to integrate to the Hudson “Monobuilt” semi-unibody construction. The chassis was set up with fully adjustable 4-wheel independent suspension with Brembo brakes. GM LS9 power is delivered
through the 4L85-E automatic transmission into the Art Morrison IRS with Dana 60 differential.
Interior textiles combine hand-dyed wild alligator with Moore & Giles leather. Other interior touches include German wool carpeting, removable floormats, a wool headliner, and alligator-trimmed wool sunvisors. The floorpan and underbody are coated in heat-cured polyurea to prevent corrosion and provide sound-deadening, bolstered by Dynamat and heat-shielding throughout.
Touch points combine original style with modern materials. The 16-inch steering wheel was custom-cast in translucent blue, to which Icon added the unrestored Hudson brightwork and horn ring. Original knob designs were executed by Icon in CNC aluminum, as was the dash brightwork but in a chromed finish. A modern Vintage Air HVAC system was added with Icon-machined stainless-steel controls with 3D-printed rear ducting assemblies. The original gauge faces were restored, and their mechanism were modernized to accept computer-controlled signals. Tasteful LED lighting and a modern infotainment system are among the other highlights:
• Supercharged GM LS9 6.2L V-8, 638 HP @ 6,500 RPM/ 604 lb-ft @ 3,800 RPM
• Crafted cold-air intake, dyno-tuned
• ARE dry-sump oiling system, trunk-mounted tank
• Speartech engine harness
• Concept One A/C compressor relocation system
• Performance 4L85-E 4-Speed Automatic by Huntington Beach Transmissions
• ICON Brembo GT braking system
• Hydratech brake booster, Wilwood master cylinder, PSC remote reservoir
• Setrab heat-exchangers: steering, transmission, supercharger
• Griffin aluminum radiator
• Icon 18” forged billet aluminum wheels with original Hudson hubcaps
• Tilt steering column
• CNC aluminum knobs designed as original
• Electric parking brake, controlled by original handle mechanism
• Stainless fuel tank, full EVAP control system
• Hand-built body and forward wiring harnesses, Eaton Bussmann electrical fuse block
• Hidden audio controller, 4 Focal Elite 2-way speakers, single 10” subwoofer
Icon also displayed its incredible 1949 Mercury Coupe EV during Car Week.