Four-wheeling is about the ride, not the luxury, yet so many 4X4s get so dressed up in amenities and add-ons that the thrill of the experience gets masked by all the posh. Not so with the Icon FJ Roadster. The stripped down FJ40 debuted at this year’s SEMA, and it brings us back to the bare-bone days of yesteryear.
“We are probably best known for obsessing on small details,” says Icon’s co-founder and lead designer Jonathan Ward. “But for the FJ Roadster, we decided to go super-simple: no A/C, no doors, less weight.” Icon took a Toyota FJ40 and tor away everything but the bare essentials, and then took to the task of rebuilding the off-roader. That’s not to say there aren’t some touches of comfort. The seats, which were made to be lightweight, feature three-stage heating elements, but even there weight was a concern so the components were made of carbon fiber to cut back. The entertainment system is also modern, with the capability of connecting wirelessly to Apple CarPlay. It also has a five-channel digital amplifier. To keep the simplified look, however, all of that modern stuff is hidden away in the dash. The gauges all appear to be analog, despite relying on modern electronics and OBDII tech.
To get the Roadster ready for any challenge you might find off the beaten path, Icon swapped out the old engine and put in a 6.2-liter General Motors LS—series V8. This new engine puts out 430 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque, which is channeled through a five-speed manual transmission with a factory 4X4 system (an automatic transmission and a 2.8-liter Cummins diesel engine are both available upon request).
Ward describes the Roadster as “a pair of all-terrain sport sandals,” and that’s a good analogy. Just the basics are there with enough comfort to make this rig your favorite to wear. Icon offers the Roadster for $185,000.