California's best-known builders of resto-mod 'derelicts' and classic 4x4s has unveiled its latest creation at the SEMA show

Icon, those well-known Californian creators of 'Derelicts' – classics that look like barn-finds but with modern running gear under the seemingly dilapidated bodywork – has revealed its latest creation at the SEMA show in Las Vegas.

It's a 1949 Mercury Coupe, the model made famous by James Dean, with a full electric conversion underneath, using current Tesla technology. It follows its first EV, an electric Fiat 600.

The Mercury uses a dual electric motor, transmission-less design with full Tesla Performance 85kWh battery array to provide a massive 470lbft of torque and the equivalent of 400bhp – and a 120mph top speed.

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Icon reveals new Tesla-powered Mercury lead-sled EV

'Why are all production EV vehicles devoid of heart and soul?' asks Icon 4x4 co-founder and lead designer Jonathan Ward. 'Why is the aftermarket EV-conversion industry so slow to evolve and provide comprehensive systems and solutions? Why can’t you have the best of both worlds: the style and quality of a vintage vehicle with modern performance and functionality?

'We say you can have your cake and eat it too!'

Icon reveals new Tesla-powered Mercury lead-sled EV

Jonathan partnered with Stealth EV to engineer the powertrain, and developed a tough four-wheel-independent chassis with Art Morrison Enterprises and Brembo brakes.

The battery array is distributed around the car for best possible weight distribution, while the battery controllers and a few of the Tesla modules are housed in a custom aluminum mock engine. The wiring for the units is covered with custom cloth braided sheathing in the same style as the original wiring loom.

Icon reveals new Tesla-powered Mercury lead-sled EV

A CHAdeMO 125A fast-charger plug sits behind the tilting front license plate frame and a Tesla supercharger plug for in-transit charging is hidden behind the original gas filler. The Mercury is said to be capable of a 150- to 200-mile range and has 1.5-hour full recharge capability.

Icon reveals new Tesla-powered Mercury lead-sled EV

As for the car itself, it was sourced from its original owners in Southern California, where it's lived since new. Icon disassembled the body, replaced all rubber, added insulation and sound-deadening, then reassembled it in a manner that tried to make it look like nothing had been touched.

Icon reveals new Tesla-powered Mercury lead-sled EV

Inside, fabric from Knoll Textiles and hides from Moore & Giles and Relicate Leather have been used to Jonathan's design. The power windows operate via the original window cranks – tapping twice on the driver’s side drops or raises all windows at once.

The gauges are modern digital Andromeda made in the style of the originals, right down to the typeface and background. Modern electric aircon has been installed, and all custom switches and bezels are inspired by the originals but support modern components and functions.

Icon reveals new Tesla-powered Mercury lead-sled EV

For more information visit the Icon website or call +1 (0) 818 280-3333.