If you’ve never heard of an Icon Derelict, then this just looks like an old 1948 Buick Super convertible in need of a good paintjob. But what you almost certainly won’t expect is for it to cost well into six figures – exactly the way it looks on the photo. Jonathan Ward, mastermind of the Icon Derelict programme, discovered that there’s a pretty decent market for high performance cars with patina – essentially he creates the ultimate sleepers. Like other Icon Derelicts, this Buick Super comes with thoroughly revised underpinnings – including a state of the art chassis from Art Morrison – and modern powertrain too. The original straight-eight engine was put aside in favour of the Corvette ZR1’s engine! That means 700hp being sent through a 4L85E four-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels.
In 2014, the big three have all produced new V8-engined vehicles that will certainly go down as some of the best cars in history: Ford have come out with the all-new flat-plane crank V8 in the upcoming Shelby GT350; the Chrysler group has come out with the insane 707hp supercharged V8 found in the Challenger and Charger Hellcat models; and Chevrolet have the 650hp Corvette Z06. Despite this though, it’s the small California-based shop that has produced the standout car of the year. It’s not just the performance that delights, but the attention to detail as well – which is on par with the likes of Pagani. The interior of the car manages to look completely vintage, but yet Ward has managed to include comfort features like modern audio, air conditioning and GPS. The supercharged LS9 motor sounds fantastic in the Corvette ZR1, but they’ve somehow managed to make it sound even better in the Buick (check out the Car Cast with Adam Carolla video below).
Icon is also known for giving new life to old 4x4s like the 40 series Toyota Landcruiser, Ford Bronco, and old Chevrolet pick-up trucks, all of which are equipped with modern GM LS or Ford Coyote motors. The work done on these old trucks alone is worth taking the Icon shop very seriously. But the surprise factor of seeing a 1948 Buick Super – with faded paint – smoking its rear tyres with ease and sounding like a beast full of rage, just has to make it the standout car of the year.
By Alex Kisiri