Icon’s Chevy Thriftmaster packs a big V8, modern tech, 1950s style

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California-based Icon built a 1952 Chevrolet Thriftmaster 3100 pickup that showcases a different approach to the job it’s known for. While the previous Thriftmaster-based builds (including the one we drove) were Old School projects meaning they emphasized retro style elements, the latest truck is part of a series called New School that features a more modern looking exterior design.

Hand-built on an Art Morrison chassis, the Thriftmaster is finished in a striking color called Chalk which comes from the Porsche palette. Black chrome exterior trim adds a touch of contrast to the design, as does a set of forged 18-inch wheels, but what’s arguably the coolest part of the build can be seen by dropping the tailgate. The body is clad in Shu Sugi Ban finished walnut wood; which is an ancient Japanese woodworking technique that aims to preserve the material by charring the surface. We think it looks fantastic.

Inside, the Thriftmaster offers an unusual blend of 1950s style, modern technology and the build quality associated with Icon’s creations. The seats are upholstered in micro-sanded leather, the steering wheel is smaller than the factory-fitted unit and linked to an adjustable column, and even the sun visors are custom made. Power windows, a rear view camera, LED mood lighting and a Pioneer sound system are also part of the build, but they are neatly hidden behind a moving one-piece dashboard.

Amazing horsepower wasn’t one of the Thriftmaster’s original selling points, so Icon wanted to change that. It replaced the original engine with a General Motors 6.2-liter LS3 V8 tuned to develop 440 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. It is fuel injected and spins the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. Brembo brakes keep the massive power in check.

“My favorite part is that our first New School truck can easily keep up with chasing a modern sports car through a canyon, no problem at all,” said Icon founder Jonathan Ward. Achieving this level of performance in a pickup truck nearly 70 years old is no small feat, and Icon did it by adding an independent four-wheel suspension system, adjustable coilovers and rack and pinion steering.

Icon has not revealed who ordered the truck or how much it cost. What is certain is that it will turn heads at the next car and coffee meeting.

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