Jonathan Ward's company Icon specializes in creating restomods with terrific attention to detail, and his Reformer series of one-offs takes that meticulousness to even higher levels. The latest is a 1970 Chevrolet Suburban making 1,000 horsepower at the wheels, and it carries a price tag of around $1 million.
The '70 Suburban came right in the middle of the seventh generation's run from 1967 to 1972. These were rugged rigs at the time with a body-on-frame chassis and a choice of two- or four-wheel drive. The buyer of the latest Reformer wanted to go a completely different direction, though. Rather than being off-road capable, he wanted it low, fast, and able to stick to the road. This beast does all of those things.
Gallery: 1970 Chevrolet Suburban Icon Reformer
If you're an aficionado of this era of Suburbans, you immediately notice this rig is something special because it's a four-door. In 1970, Chevy only offered this SUV with a three-door layout – two doors for passengers and one for the driver. Icon took on the challenge of converting the vehicle. Integrating the hardware into the B-pillar was a massive challenge because of the tight tolerances, according to Ward.
This SUV is unique for more than just adding a door. The grille took 50 hours to machine out of aluminum, and Ward came up with a design inspired by architect Mies van der Rohe. The SUV also received redesigned pieces for the door handles, dashboard, steering wheel, and just about every bit of trim. The wheels are custom pieces from HRE.
The buyer wanted power, and Icon gave it to him. Nelson Racing Engines built a twin-turbo, LS-based 427-cubic-inch V8. It pumps out 1,000 hp and 900 lb-ft of torque. Power goes to a Dana 60 rear end through a four-speed automatic. Rather than needing various scoops to help manage the cooling, this Reformer uses all sorts of wraps and coatings to cope with the heat. This allows the SUV to look a bit more stealthy on the road. Although, we expect lots of folks would still stare because these old Suburbans aren't too common of a sight anymore.
For handling, Icon installs a four-wheel independent suspension, and there's even a bit of rear-wheel steering. Hydroboosted Brembo brakes with six-piston calipers at the front and rear help this beast come to a stop.
The interior receives just as much attention. The seats use a Tempur-Pedic-like foam with Italian leather on top. The owner is an audiophile and is sending the SUV to a separate shop to have all of the speakers installed. There's no head unit. Instead, voice controls and buttons on the rearview mirror operate everything.
It's hard to imagine the buyer not enjoying this build. It has attention to detail, tons of power, and better handling than any 1970 Suburban ever available from the factory.