LS9 powered 1949 Hudson ICON Derelict

Jonathan Ward's ICON crew turn their attention to a bitching 1949 Hudson

Photographers: Kolor Photography

ICON 4×4 is an Los Angeles-based company that produces high-end retrotech builds for discerning, well-heeled customers. At last year’s SEMA Show, they debuted an all-electric 1949 Mercury, but they’ve returned to petrol power for their latest build, a LS9-powered 1949 Hudson Super Six Coupe.

The Hudson debuted during Monterey Car Week and is one of ICON’s Derelict builds – original patina cars filled with modern running gear. In this case, we’re talking about a factory-blown LS9 engine, 4L85-E auto, Dana 60 diff, Art Morrison subframe assemblies, independent suspension all-round, Brembo brakes and much more.

Inside is a mix of leathers including wild alligator, textiles, German wool carpet and wool headliner. As usual, ICON retained the charm of the factory dash, while adding a custom-cast 16-inch steering wheel, CNC aluminium dash knobs and Vintage Air controls, LED lighting, modern infotainment and modified gauge faces to accept computer-controlled signals.

“This project was built for a repeat client we love,” ICON boss 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 realise!”


• Supercharged GM LS9 6.2L V-8, 638hp at 6500rpm

• 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-inch 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-inch subwoofer