Where a Derelict Becomes an ICON


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By The Round Six Gearheads. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.


Here on episode sixty-five, we sit down with ICON 4x4 and TLC founder and CEO Jonathan Ward. It's a laid back, candid look at building cool vehicles in a very technology-driven world. A self-starter in definition as well as practice, Jon's childhood acting days (from a chance shot in Peter Pan to Charles in Charge to a stalker incident) and an interest in restoring old tech and cars lead to starting a business. We explore the passion that drives ICON, the idea behind the brand, and the marketing approach.


  • Industrial design meets entrepreneurship
  • Raymond Leowy
  • Avoiding the "theme" build while staying true to the vehicle's character
  • Steering clear of bad design directions
  • Crafting a unique aesthetic
  • Creating brand identity
  • Working to make a unique statement without turning down the bread and butter work
  • The balance of loving what you do and loving the customer
    – When to fire a client
  • Steering the client via renderings
  • Nostalgia as a motivator in building a project
  • The gender difference in styles/needs/wants
    – Women VS men with regard to needs and wants in a vehicle
  • "Corrupted by the perversions of modernity"
    – A discussion on tech and obsolescence
  • Being an "old school martyr"
    – Brian proposes the "Tune-ruining choke knob" feature
  • Changing the mood and personality of a vehicle just through exhaust note
  • A "rockabilly" bar cruiser Hudson Hornet
  • "Build it like you'd keep it"
  • The challenges of working with obscure vehicles
    – "It's like the dot-com era for hot rodders"
  • Working with technology like 3D printing and composites
    – The "pucker moment" when you need an impossible-to-find part
  • Watching tech and changing attitudes toward old-school craftsmanship
  • Research and design on the fly
  • Getting stuck in a rut in your craft and not seeing the advantage of pushing forward
    – Looking forward at nanotech, hydrophobics and more
  • Drawing inspiration from a wide variety of sources
  • Passion builds versus assembly line product
  • Early days of tech scrounging
  • The first resto project: a '55 Ford
  • Meeting Mikhail Baryshnikov
    – Hitching a ride to a cattle call and landing a role in Peter Pan on Broadway
  • The advantages of not having a board to answer to when working to preserve the passion and DNA of a brand
  • Purity of execution working through a series of compromises
  • Going international with SEMA Australia
  • A discussion on the appreciation of vintage Americana

227 episodes