Chevy-powered Icon Land Rover Defender 90 goes its own way [w/video]

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As far as resto-mods go, few turn the trick quite as well as the folks at Icon. We've seen the California outfit do its thing with everything from a Chevy Thriftmaster pickup and Ford Bronco to an electric bicycle and even an Ural Solo motorbike. For its latest project, Icon has worked over another one of the most legendary off-road vehicles of all time: the Land Rover Defender.

Built on commission for a discerning customer as part of Icon's Reformer line, the Icon D90 is based on a 1995 Land Rover Defender 90. But as with everything Icon does, this Land Rover has been extensively reworked.

For starters, the standard diesel engine has been replaced with a General Motors 6.2-liter LS3 small-block V8, modified to perfection by Icon's own mechanics. The aluminum block packs powdered-metal connecting rods, aluminum pistons, investment-cast rocker arms and custom cooling, intake and exhaust systems. It's all mated to a four-speed automatic transmission with a purpose-built CNC-machined Atlas II transfer case.

That more powerful engine has been mounted inside a media-blasted and powder-coated frame and, as Icon is wont to do, the rest of the vehicle has been fitted with some exquisitely overbuilt fixtures. We could go on and on, but we'll let company founder Jonathan Ward give you all the juicy details of the build in the video and spec sheet below while you check out the extensive high-resolution image gallery above. Suffice it to say that the finished product is every bit as stunning as you'd expect from Icon, and we're sure the customer – who has owned several Defenders before - was left suitably satisfied with the results.
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ICON 1995 Land Rover D90

We have often been asked to restore Land Rover Defenders. However, at ICON, restorations are not really our thing. We prefer to take a few liberties with the design. Simply taking things apart and putting them back together all pretty just does not tickle our fancy. What we really like to do though, is to put ourselves in the shoes of the original designer, before the pencil pushers and focus groups got involved and watered down that designers original intentions... and ask...

"What was the original pure vision for the design?"
While the stock Land Rover D90 is certainly a great vehicle, proven in it's capabilities around the world, there are a few opportunities to evolve the details. Having spent a fair amount of time in them, I was full of ideas. So when a customer called us one day and asked if we would be interested in building one for him, we jumped at the opportunity. So every (good) custom vehicle build starts with a detailed conversation to better understand how the client is going to use the vehicle. After a slew of questions like;
What is your height and weight?, Where do you live? What other vehicles do you own? How do you intend to use your D90? What do you dislike about living with a D90 (he has owned several)? What are your hobbies?.....

We felt that we had a good idea of what to do. The client basically will use the truck as a weekend costal SoCal driver, surf trip vehicle, occasional ski trip. So while we certainly could have build a expedition or rock crawler style vehicle, that is not what the client wanted. So we decided to set out to build a more refined, and bespoke D90 that would have great road manners and off-road competence.

Part Number: 19244805
Engine Type: LS-Series Gen IV Small-Block V-8
Displacement (cu. in.): 376 (6.2L)
Bore x Stroke (in.): 4.065 x 3.622 (103.25 x 92mm)
Block (P/N 12623967): Cast-aluminum with six-bolt, cross-bolted main caps
Crankshaft (P/N 12597569): Nodular iron
Connecting Rods (P/N 12607475): Powdered metal
Pistons (P/N 19207287): Hypereutectic aluminum
Camshaft Type (P/N 12603844): Hydraulic roller
Valve Lift (in.): .551 intake / .522 exhaust
Camshaft Duration (@.050 in.): 204° intake / 211° exhaust
Cylinder Heads (P/N 12629063): Aluminum L92-style port; "as cast" with 68-cc chambers
Valve Size (in.): 2.165 intake / 1.590 exhaust
Compression Ratio: 10.7:1
Rocker Arms (P/N 12569167 intake): Investment-cast, roller trunnion
Rocker Arms (P/N 10214664 exhaust): Investment-cast, roller trunnion
Rocker Arm Ratio: 1.7:1
Recommended Fuel: 92 octane
Maximum Recommended rpm: 6600
Reluctor Wheel: 58X
Balanced: Internal

Emissions certified engine package.
Complete AN Fitted Fuel System
Cad designed motor mounts to isolate vibration.

Purpose-built high density core alloy radiator with GM electric fan.
Handcrafted TIG welded black wrinkle powder coated steel fan shroud.

OE cast iron high flow manifolds into a custom single exit 2.5" computer controlled mandrel bent ceramic coated steel exhaust system with special design high flow stainless steel muffler.

Hand made TIG welded steel, plumbed to the fender vent, for cold air isolation intake point (with water trap drain).

GM Four Speed Automatic 4L85E "Supermatic"

Purpose-built Atlas II transfer case is competition proven and freeway friendly, too. Part time 4x4, shift-on-the-fly.

The Advance Adapter's Atlas II 3.0:1 low range (optional 5.0:1) and 1: 1 high range transfer case is CAD-CAM designed and CNC machined for off-road performance, without sacrificing on road performance. The one-piece case with structural access cover is manufactured of heat- treated aluminum alloy. The gears are precision machined and are supported by needle roller bearings that are matched to finely finished shafts. The shafts, including the bulletproof 1-3/8" diameter, 32 spline rear output shaft, are fully supported on tapered roller bearings. The Atlas transfer case also features the convenience of synchronized shift on the fly capability. Twin stick controls allow individual front and rear axle manipulation for maximum control.

Material: Heat-Treated Aluminum Alloy
Overall length: 13.8
Weight: 110 lbs. (dry)
Internal Components:
Gears: Helical Cut
Bearings: Needle & Taper Rollers
Synchronizers: Borg-Warner T98
Input Shaft Splines: 10, 21, 23, 27, 28, 29, 31, 32
Tail Shaft: 1.375" Dia., 32 Spline, with C.V. Joint Capability
Low Range: 3.0:1 (5.0:1 option available)
High Range: 1:1
Oil Type: Synthetic Gear Oil - MT90 Red Line SAE 75w90 (3.5 Quarts).

The original Land Rover frame was media blasted and powder coated.

Custom built 3/4 ton-1 ton Dynatrac Dana 60 based solid axle assemblies.
4.09:1 ratio.
General driveshafts, with 1310 joints, high strength steel shaft bodies.
Rear CV joint.

Stock architecture, utilizing Twisted Performance components.

ICON Sport Brake Package features Stop Tech designed six piston front and four piston rear calipers with dedicated parking brake calipers, 355x32mm front, 328x28mm rear rotors, with T4041 two piece billet hats. Wilwood vacuum assisted brake master cylinder.

Isolated to rear brakes by shrouded stainless cable.
Floor actuated.

Non-vented 19.6-gallon custom buile stainless steel fuel tank.
Mounted in the rear of the vehicle, boxed by the frame plus steel skid plate.
Stainless steel system plumbing (hard and braided lines).
Large serviceable fuel filter, in-tank fuel pump.
External frame mounted Bosch serviceable filter, plus in-tank sock filter.

Designed for mild power effect, and maximum control in all environments.
Tom Lee Stage Four (4 rotations left to right) steering box.
14.7:1 mild ratio for safe high speed off-pavement control.
Nascar style alloy GM type II high efficiency pump with remote reservoir.
Single turn steering shaft with Borgenson joint.
One ton GM steering arms and ends.
Ididit designed custom tilt collapsible steering column.
Hellcat 16" steering wheel.

Purpose built wiring harness, ignition and dash switches.
Triple seal connectors, cross-link wire, and in-cabin sealed fuse panel.
Soldered connections.
Isolated engine harness.
LED lights (all).
140 AMP single wire alternator.
Interstate battery.

Reliable American made New Vintage (brand) gauges (MPH, RPM, oil pressure, fuel level, engine temperature and volts).
Full function in dash A/C, heat, defrost system with aluminum aircraft black anodized vents (4).
Submersible high beam floor switch.
Jewelry grade hand crafted CNC'ed stainless steel knurled, engraved and enameled dash knobs.
CNC'ed windshield frame latches, hood hinges, and door hinges.
Hand crafted dash panels, in mild steel (ICON Volcanic Black powder coated) or laser cut stainless steel.

Polyurea floor surface coating.
Removable rubber plugs for drainage.
Large gun safe rated locking center console with audio sub-compartment and four large cup holders.
Standard front seats feature floor track and recline control.
Seat surfaces finished in top quality OE German marine rated vinyl and Chilewich woven vinyl.
Rear two passenger tuck and tumble, removable seat.
Custom built laser cut stainless, Chilewich and powder coated aluminum rear interior cargo panels.

Disassembled, media blasted, painted on a rotisserie, then reassembled. Paint is a matte finish, metallic black (Bentley sourced code).

Each panel is hand finished before assembly, then 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 as well as the surface environment.

BF Goodrich A/T 285/70/R17 tires.
Hutchinson 17" run flat, beadlock Military wheels (finished in ICON Volcanic black powder coat).

Front : ICON Designed BULL BAR finished in black powder coat. Integrated LED fog lights.
Rear : ICON Designed Class II tow bumper with dual pivoting carriers finished in black powder coat. Hidden locking storage lockers. LED Reverse light.


The Icon vehicles are built by hand in California by dedicated craftsmen in very low volume.
Availability is extremely limited. Please inquire.


9601 Lurline Avenue
Chatsworth CA USA 91311
Phone: 818-280-3333
Fax: 818-280-3334

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©2014 ICON Inc.

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