If we ever needed confirmation that the CJ-3B is one of the coolest cars of all time, this could be it. In the past we have seen some pretty nice, expensive custom-built Jeeps here on CJ3B.info, including designs that were mostly stock or highly modified. But who expected a high-end custom 4x4 builder specializing in Land Cruisers to copyright the name "CJ3B" and launch a new version of the classic Willys design, with a 21st-century chassis and drivetrain? Well, Los Angeles-based ICON has done it, and has nicknamed their CJ3B "The Dog."
Also on CJ3B.info, see:
Building the ICON CJ3B Prototype
ICON "Dog" Unleashed
SEMA 2009: Debut of the ICON CJ3B
ICON did much of the engineering work for what became the 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser, and they continue to build a version that sticks more closely to the original Land Cruiser's design. ICON founder Jonathan Ward says, "The results are what we know today as the ICON FJ series. Classic styling, modern performance, and timeless utility. Now we are revisiting another exciting iconic vehicle from our collective past, the old flat-fendered Willys."
Jonathan continues, "The ICON CJ3B will maintain the fundamental design ethics of simplicity, value and utility infused in the original. Consistent with the ICON tradition, we have designed our own state of the art chassis, based on 2"x4" mandrel-bent steel rails, featuring coil-over suspension."
The chassis also includes 4.10:1 ratio Jeep Rubicon-based solid axle assemblies and 1/2-ton driveshafts. Electric locking differentials are standard, with three-position illuminated switch located on the dash. Suspension design features estimated 9" true wheel travel front and rear, four-wheel coil suspension with triangulated four-link rear, and panhard front linkage designs. The front torsion bar-based sway bar has adjustable quick-release links.
ICON has done extensive computer-assisted design (CAD) work (70K JPEG) on their CJ3B concept, and some of the images generated by that work are seen here.
The drivetrain is based on a variable valve timing GM Ecotec 2.4 fuel-injected four-cylinder motor, producing 260 HP and 240 ft.lbs. of torque. Power is delivered through an Aisin-Warner AX15 five-speed transmission and NP231 transfer case with 2.72:1 low ratio and shift-on-the-fly capability. Four wheel disc brakes and power steering are standard, with Lee Engineering Stage Four (4 rotations left to right) steering box and 13:1 to 16:1 mild variable ratio for safe high-speed and low-speed off-pavement control.
See also an underside view (60K GIF).
The "Dog" has a custom-tilt collapsible steering column and Hellcat 16" steering wheel, Auto Meter gauges and LED lights for turn signals, high beam and parking brake. Seating for four has three-point belts, and seat surfaces are finished in designer-woven Chilewich UV-stable vinyl. Chrome moly steel roll cage has integrated seat belt anchors and grab handles. A removable alloy shade canopy affixes to the cage structure.
Some important numbers:
The ICON CJ3B will have an 84" wheelbase, slightly longer than the original.
Starting price for a turn key vehicle is expected to be about $45,000, which is significantly less expensive than the ICON FJ. Kit versions could range from about $15,000-35,000.
Fuel economy, in case you were worried, is expected to be 28 miles per US gallon. There may also be an electric version with in-wheel motors and a variable crawl ratio, currently in development.
The finish will be a Teflon polyester hybrid Cardinal powder coat, originally conceived for exterior industrial architectural uses then developed specifically for ICON. The underside of the main body and fenders, plus inside floor surfaces, are coated in a heat-cured polyurea coating for reduction of vibration and heat transfer.
The proprietary ICON finish is available in seven standard colors: Rocky Mountain Gray, Volcanic Black, Mocha Tan, Mayan Sun Orange, Quartz White, Spruce Green, Slate Blue, Black Sand, and Brick Red. Custom colors are also available. The windshield will be Volcanic Black, in the spirit of the original design.
The Dog's body will consist of a standard steel reproduction tub, hood, fenders and windshield. The prototype headed for SEMA 2009, and possibly all of the "Beta batch" of the first ten Dogs, are being built as Willys vehicles with the original-style grille. A distinctive new grille (80K JPEG) for the production version will be manufactured in California.
Behind the grille is a purpose-built, high-density core, cross-flow alloy radiator, with waterproof electric dual fans. Headlights as well as all other exterior and dash lights will be LED's. BF Goodrich A/T or M/T 285/70/R17 tires with powder coated ProComp steel wheels are planned as standard.
See also a side view (70K JPEG) and rear view (90K GIF).
Designer Jonathan Ward comments, "The purpose of this 'Beta batch' is to refine our design, and trial all of the CAD files by physical fit, to ensure perfection of our vision. Your 'Beta Dog' may come with additional features and options, as we realize some of the peripheral options and accessories to further the brand. Special design needs or requests invited."
Also on CJ3B.info, see:
Elsewhere on the web, see a 2015 video tour of the ICON CJ-3B on YouTube, with a look at updates to the latest version (aluminum body, VW turbo diesel) and details on its status as a special-order-only item.
Thanks to Jonathan Ward and Brad Brock at ICON, and to John Carroll. -- Derek Redmond
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Last updated 2 May 2016 by Derek Redmond email@example.com
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond