ICON 4x4s ‘Old School Edition’ FJ44

I’ve always struggled between choosing a modern, reliable vehicle and being seduced by the undeniable charm of older models. I find myself wondering, what flaws can I live with? Are the aesthetics worth the heightened risk of mechanical failures? It’s ridiculous, but I can’t help lusting over the boxy dimensions of classic 4WDs. I’m not the only one, as recently there’s been a wave of exciting rebuilt classics, offering all the vintage charm—without the need for a recovery truck.

Icon 4×4, based in California, is one such company that seeks to offer ‘modern performance married to classic styling’.The company’s projects are masterpieces of engineering, ‘built for a journey without boundaries’. In reference to their latest Landcruiser, founder and CEO Jonathan Ward states: ‘Our Old School Edition builds present a unique aesthetic that many of our clients really respond strongly to these days’.

There’s no disputing this truck’s rugged capabilities, but I’m not sure how often you’ll be seeing one on the trails, considering the price tag of $237,000. Even so, this FJ44 is an exceptional example of a re-engineered classic.

The company is careful to preserve the charm of the original but makes huge advances in the vehicle’s performance, safety, emissions, and, of course, an armada of concealed interior amenities. Their newest addition to the ‘Old School Series’ is a beautiful Eucalyptus Green four-door truck, with a powder-coated aluminium body and the performance to match.

There’s no more trundling in the slow lane, as the FJ44 has an aluminum 6.2 LS Generation GM fuel-injected V8 that can produce an impressive 430 brake horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. This is combined with an Aisin Warner AX15 five-speed manual transmission and an Atlas II two-speed transfer case. ICON’s hydroboost-assisted Brembo Sport Brakes ensure this 1972 truck has a stopping distance as obscene as its horsepower. However, the Landcruiser was never designed for the highway. The FJ integrates Dynatrac Dana 60 rear axles, Dana 44 front axles, and Fox Racing coil-over sport suspension that can ‘adroitly manage almost any terrain’. A set of BFGoodrich all-terrain 285/65/18 tires, mounted to ICON’s ‘vintage-inspired’ forged aluminium wheels, further enhance the truck’s capabilities whilst also paying homage to the original.

I love how ICON retains the minimalist cab whilst still integrating a generous amount of quality tech. The FJ includes a NEX 8600 multimedia system complete with a reverse camera, Apple Carplay, a ‘state-of-the-art’ navigation system, Bluetooth capabilities, and Focal K2 Speakers. The interior is both classy and reserved, with a seven-layer insulated grey canvas soft top and a machined aluminium trim that outlines door map pockets, dash panels, knobs, seat hardware, and a parking brake handle. There are four heavy-duty yet generous bucket seats (heated for additional comfort), whilst the two retro-style jump seats were added to the rear as a tribute to the 1972 original. This all comes together to create an upmarket, clean-cut interior that doesn’t deter from the Landcruiser’s rugged heritage.

I’d argue that ICON has successfully transformed the FJ44 into a ‘work of art’, whilst perhaps losing some of the original’s ‘work-horse’ charm.

For more information on ICON 4×4’s FJ44 Old School Edition, please visit www.icon4x4.com or call 818-280-3333.

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No money in the bank, but gas in the tank. Our resident Bikepacking Editor Jack Mac is an exploration photographer and writer living full-time in his 1986 Vanagon Syncro but spends most days at the garage pondering why he didn’t buy a Land Cruiser Troopy. If he’s not watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, he can be found mountaineering for Berghaus, sea kayaking for Prijon, or bikepacking for Surly Bikes. Jack most recently spent two years on various assignments in the Arctic Circle but is now back in the UK preparing for his upcoming expeditions—looking at Land Cruisers. Find him on his website, Instagram, or on Facebook under Bicycle Touring Apocalypse.