If you haven’t seen Jonathan Ward’s latest patina’d super sled, come along and check out this build from ICON Motors. The sixth example in the “Derelict” series, this 1948 Buick Super Convertible was found high and dry in a garage in Pennsylvania. Ward narrates a YouTube video taking us from concept gestation all the way to burning rubber down by the LA River.
Last licensed in 1958, this teal green convertible from Flint’s finest comes with obligatory thin paint, surface rust and a salt free, East Coast survivor back story. It then gets treated to the standard “Derelict” formula retaining the garage find cosmetics with state of the art mechanicals and all the latest creature comforts.
ICON starts with a basically stock 660 HP GM LS9 bolted to a 4L85E automatic transmission and drops it in a one-off Art Morrison chassis. From there, they add tubular independent front suspension, triangulated four link rear, coil over JRI shocks, Strange 9” rear end, 20:1 rack and pinion power steering and stainless steel fuel and exhaust system. All this meets the pavement via powder coated, rusty red 18” billet wheels with custom spun stainless hub caps mounted on gigantic, ZR rated BF Goodrich G-Force gumballs. Freakin’ huge Wilwood disc brakes bring the whole thing to a stop. There’s even a removable roll bar for track days.
The interior gets power windows, power seat and top, Ididit steering, modern wiring harness and gauges hidden to appear as stock. The original AM radio center dash speaker has been doctored to accept a touch screen with audio system, NAV, Bluetooth and reverse camera all cleverly cloaked behind custom trap door.
The front seat now incorporates a custom center console with cup holders and a USB port. The seats are upholstered in wine colored, non UV stable, Moore and Giles leather , chosen specifically so it will age quickly and catch up with patina’d exterior. Wilton wool carpet and Haartz canvas top add high end textures to existing weathered surfaces.
The body is remarkably rust free only needing small panel replacement in passenger floor and drivers side rear quarter and remains “as found” with a myriad of imperfections. To the trained eye, the only clue that the car has been radically altered is the speed rated tires and killer stance.
Ward talks extensively regarding the role of computer technology that went into this build. CNC, 3-D scanning, CAD/CAM all factored heavily in bringing the project together and claims certain aspects of project wouldn’t have been possible even just few years ago. The coolest example of said tech is combining a dull, OEM GM engine cover with “Fireball” script and Buick badge. Ward’s team created it by scanning cover and incorporating digitized graphics from GM’s archives to achieve period perfect look. Who’d a thunk it would take all that tech to retain old school cool?