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19 August 2019

Today's bold statement: this 476kW '49 Hudson is the best classic car in the world

By Iain KellyIain Kelly

Old cars have style for days, but often they handle as well as a wheelbarrow full of wet cement, don’t stop well, are unreliable, and are pains to drive.

Jonathan Ward’s company ICON fixes this by reengineering old cars to use new chassis, suspension, drivetrain, brakes, and creature comforts like power windows and air conditioning, yet he leaves their original style and design language alone. This ensures the purity of the original design remains, while delivering a wholly superior driving experience.

ICON build cars and 4x4s under two distinct styles: Reformers and Derelicts. Reformers feature shiny paint and award-winning chrome, while Derelicts are intended to look like survivors wearing their age as a badge of pride.

His latest Derelict is an awesome ‘49 Hudson Super Six coupe, a fairly rare car today in its own right. Jonathan bought the car and started the build process by scanning and modelling the whole machine, a process he walks through in the amazingly detailed build video posted on YouTube recently.

Art Morrison Enterprises made a bespoke chassis for the Hudson, featuring independent front and rear suspension, huge Brembo six-pot and four-pot brakes, adjustable coilover struts, and burly swaybars. After being powdercoated ICON installed a 476kW (638hp) LS9 supercharged 6.2-litre V8, the same hand-built unit powering HSV’s GTS-R W1 super-sedan, mated to an electronically shifted four-speed auto.

It makes for a brutally fast, yet refined, package with OEM reliability. And turn the speakers up because Jonathan isn’t afraid to rip on this beast in the video, giving it a proper seeing to in LA’s famous flood control river.

With a fully redone interior hiding al the modern tech, this Hudson is now off to live with its new owner. It will be a shame for it to leave LA as it looks perfectly at home cruising Skid Row and the neon-lit streets of Hollywood. Hopefully the next Derelict is just around the corner!