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


California-based Icon built a 1952 Chevrolet Thriftmaster 3100 pickup that showcases a different approach to the work it’s famous for. While its previous Thriftmaster-based builds (including the one we drove) have been Old School projects, meaning they put an emphasis on retro styling cues, its latest truck is part of a series called New School that’s characterized by a more modern-looking exterior design.

Built by hand on an Art Morrison chassis, the Thriftmaster is finished in a head-turning color called Chalk that comes from the Porsche palette. Black chrome exterior trim adds a touch of contrast to the design, as does a set of 18-inch forged wheels, but what’s arguably the coolest part of the build can be seen by dropping the tailgate. The cargo box is lined with Shu Sugi Ban-finished walnut wood; that’s an old Japanese wood-working technique that aims to preserve the material by charring its surface. We think it looks amazing.

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 with micro-sanded leather, the steering wheel is smaller than the factory-fitted unit and linked to an adjustable column, and even the sunvisors are custom-made. Power-operated windows, a rear-view camera, LED ambient lighting and a Pioneer sound system are part of the build as well, but they’re neatly hidden behind a moving one-piece dash panel.

Jaw-dropping horsepower was not one of the Thriftmaster’s original selling points, so Icon set out to change that. It replaced the original engine with a General Motors-sourced 6.2-liter LS3 V8 that’s tuned to develop 440 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. It’s fuel-injected, and it spins the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. Brembo brakes keep the massive amount of power in check.

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

Icon didn’t reveal who commissioned the truck or how much it cost. What’s certain is that it will turn heads at the next cars and coffee meet.

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