Sometimes the best way to pay tribute to something is to simply leave it alone. That seems to be Icon’s ethos—at least when it comes to their new FJ40 Land Cruiser Roadster, a stripped-down, modernization of the iconic off-roader.
Normally known for going all out with its modified 4x4s, the company has taken a decidedly more restrained approach with its latest Toyota SUV. But while Icon’s hand-made Roadster may look exactly like the FJ40 that first arrived on American soil more than a half-century ago, there’s more to the truck than initially meets the eye.
Sure, the FJ40’s aesthetics hew faithfully to the original—and why not? There’s a reason why the first Land Cruiser to make its way across the Pacific is so revered. For many people, this is exactly what an SUV is supposed to look like. The military-style Roadster sports a simple wheel design, no doors and a bikini top. And things aren’t any different inside the vehicle, where the barebones dash features an instrument panel, a couple nobs and nothing else. Also missing: an air conditioner and heating system (the seats are heated, though).
But while everything you can see has basically been left alone, the company has given the drivetrain a 2019 upgrade. Underneath the hood is a brand new GM LS3 engine that’s been paired with a Aisin/Warner five-speed manual transmission, reports Jalopnik. Other upgrades include a new suspension set-up, Fox racing remote nitrogen reservoir shocks with Eibach coils, power Brembo brakes and power steering. The Roadster has also been equipped with Dana 60 rear axle Dana 44 front axle with air-locking differentials.
So why the stripped-down approach? In a video announcing the Roadster, Icon’s co-founder founder, former actor Jonathan Ward, said it was an attempt to keep costs down, cut down on production time and “just [get] back to the true elements of the original FJ.”
The Roadster is set to make its official debut this week’s SEMA show in Las Vegas. Though Icon envisions it as a slightly lower cost alternative to its modified 4x4s, the vehicle will still set you back at least $185,000.