Icon's Jonathan Ward has officially made the leap from OCD car builder to mad scientist. He's in the early stages of a new project that will see the realization of his streamliner fetish, and he's making in-roads at Tesla for the underpinnings, complete with all-wheel-drive.
Ward recently spoke to one of the largest design organizations in Portland about Icon, his philosophy, and a rehash of his products before ending with a series of sketches and asking the question, "What would [Howard Hughes have] taken Cruella Deville out in?"
This. It's called the Helios, named after the Greek god of wind.
Merging the streamliner aesthetic, post-WWI aircraft, and his love of alternate realities, the Helios is Ward's imagination run wild in a 21st century revival of classic coachbuilding.
"Although almost all of our projects thus far have been recreations inspired by vintage vehicles, I am fascinated about the concept of revisiting history in our own way," Ward tells Jalopnik. "The most interesting way to do this is by celebrating a particular era of design, or design language. More interesting still, is when we start to think about what could have happened had history gone a different way. This 'revisionist' approach to transportation design has filled my little brain with tons of ideas and theoreticals."
Those theoreticals have given birth to an entirely different world in Ward's mind. A place where automotive designers adopted the aircraft aesthetic a decade earlier, where the frugality brought on by the Great Depression and WWII didn't exist, and the notion of quantity over quality never pervaded the industrial revolution.
And he's trying to get some face time with Elon Musk to make it a reality.
"In keeping with the founding premise at ICON, of fusing vintage design with the best modern drive experience and technology, I can think of no better platform to build this on, than the Tesla," Ward says. "I have such great respect for the company and the creative spirit of Mr. Musk, plus the S is a blast to drive."
But Ward is more interested in the dual-motor all-wheel-drive system coming to the Model X SUV next year. "I want to take the new Model X platform – so selectable AWD, 380-mile range, pure electric – and fuse it with this lost language," Ward says in the talk.
Ward goes onto describe it as audacious and large, with seating for five, a burnished aluminum body, leather strapping, and exposed copper rivets.
But Ward admits he and his team are in the very early stages. It's just a sketch, some ideas and Ward's infectious enthusiasm combined with amazing fabrication possibilities.
"This project is currently only a concept, but one that I will move mountains to figure out how to get built," says Ward. And he's already thinking about an owner.
"I've got a meeting with Ralph Lauren to talk about something else," Ward says. "He doesn't know I plan on totally taking over the room and making him buy this car… Most of [his cars] suck to drive except for the McLaren. So… that's my pitch."