Headed up by husband and wife team Jonathan and Jamie Ward, ICON 4×4 is a world-renowned custom builder headquartered out of Los Angeles, California. As one may guess from its name, ICON’s main focus is on churning out bespoke, made-to-order off-road projects, though more recently the SoCal shop rolled out its “Derelict” series — a range of bespoke-built classic cars that aim to modernize the donor’s performance and safety while remaining faithful to its original aesthetic design. And the latest vehicle to receive ICON’s Derelict treatment is a 1971 Mercedes Benz 300SEL.
The Derelict Benz project began with the donor receiving a full custom chassis courtesy of Art Morrison. The donor also benefits from other modern mechanical touches such as four-wheel adjustable coil-overs with an independent rear suspension, incorporated power rack and pinion steering, and top-of-the-line Sport Hydratech power assisted braking hardware. Under the hood, the high-end restomod packs an LS9 crate engine — a 6.2-liter V8 with a sixth-generation supercharger that puts down 638hp and 604ft-lbs of torque — that’s been mated to a hand-built four-speed Chevy 4L85E automatic transmission.
Alongside the addition of LED lighting, the exterior of the car has been refurbished, while still boasting some of its original patina. While retaining its period-correct look, the cabin of the 300SEL has also been treated to new upholstery in the original factory pattern, restored wood trim throughout, heated front seats, a new HVAC system, and a factory stereo that’s been upgraded via Bluetooth connectivity, four Focal two-way speakers, an amp, and dual subwoofers. The entire build also rides on one-piece billet aluminum wheels that have been custom-machined by one-off wheel specialist EVOD Industries.
ICON 4×4’s 1971 Mercedes Benz 300SEL Derelict Series build will make its official public debut at the 2022 SEMA Show in Las Vegas at the Optima Batteries booth. Available for order now on a special commission basis, ICON 4×4’s Derelict builds start at $450,000.