This Hot Rod Hudson Hides A Lot Of Cool Details

Illustration for article titled This Hot Rod Hudson Hides A Lot Of Cool Details
Screenshot: Jonathan Ward

There are few people in the world with quite the patience for detail like Jonathan Ward and his Icon crew. It’s no secret that this little shop in California has been turning out some of the coolest resto-mod four-wheel drives of the last decade or more, but the “Derelict” line of revamped patinated treasures is often so much more crazy cool. Ward found this ‘49 Hudson and knew it needed to be reborn. And thank the good lord above he did just that.

Underneath this Hudson lies a custom Art Morrison chassis and a modern C6 ZR1 Corvette’s LS9 supercharged engine mated to a 4L70E 4-speed automatic. Considering the 1940s Hudson lineup was motivated by 128 horsepower inline eights, the LS9's 638 horsepower is a massive step forward in terms of performance for this beast. Luckily, the Icon folks are ultimately dedicated to keeping the car’s inherent cool intact, while adding gobs more.

The mechanical update is something any hot rod shop might do, but when you look at all of the little details you see the difference. Rather than simply use off-the-shelf components, these detail nuts will often completely re-engineer tiny individual components that most wouldn’t think twice about. Do you want a little illuminated ignition key bezel on the dash? Ward will crib a piece from the Toyota Landcruiser and create a new dash plate from scratch to accommodate it.

I’ve never been one for Hudsons, but even I have to admit that this one looks pretty damn fly. With a ton of brainpower and effort poured into this one, it’s simply got to be the best Hudson out there, right?


Now we all know the new owner is going to use this as a getaway car when doing old school bank heists. Look at it. It’s just begging you to try it.

Jalopnik contributor with a love for everything sketchy and eclectic.

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1968 Falcon - 264,600 miles and still rusting

The novelty of ICON’s builds has worn off for me now. Yet another super clean and rare vintage car with an LS swap, woohoo. Hudsons are famous and relatively rare, I’d rather own a 1949 Hudson that drives like a 1949 Hudson than one that drives exactly the same as every other derelict they’ve done.

I also have a beef with him being a peddler of the “it’s impossible to drive old cars as they are” myth, making people think the only thing they’re good for is being $200k gutted and hotrodded trophies for rich guys. I daily drive a 51 year old car on a 50 mile round trip commute, and have been stranded by it twice in 10 years of ownership. The way it looks when sitting is only half of the reason I like it, the distinct way it drives and how it all works is the other half of why I drive it. It doesn’t need an LS swap, just someone with the creativity to just fix what’s there and who’s able to learn to love it for what it is.