This is how classic off-roading should be done.
While Toyota never openly preached the Lotus doctrine of simplifying vehicles and then adding lightness, that’s exactly what’s going on with the new ICON FJ40 Roadster. Not only is this door- and roof-free 4x4 less complex and lighter than other builds, the stripped-down nature of it helps keep down the cost. It’s a win-win-win of epic Michael Scott proportions.
Too often, by adding all kinds of restomod touches and other enhancements, we get so far away from the true elements of a classic vehicle. That’s sad. In that vein, this FJ40 Roadster only has a bikini top, no air conditioning, and no heater, although seat heaters have been installed (ICON isn’t a bunch of monsters, after all).
You’re not going to see some fancy-shmancy touchscreen mounted on the original metal dash or a carbon fiber, flat-bottom steering wheel, and so on. Instead, you as the driver get to use the original analog gauge cluster and pull knobs in the dash.
To show off this new path, ICON chose to build a Toyota FJ40 Roadster using what it calls the Old School design package and a vibrant Mayan Sun paint. That combination certainly gives the off-roader a decidedly retro vibe, which is exactly the point.
There’s also a New School design package, which features some different equipment like tapered bumpers with brush guards, a center-mounted front license plate, and other modern touches. On an “extremely limited” basis, ICON 4X4 is also offering The Derelict package, which mainly gives the FJ40 Roadster a weathered patina appearance.
ICON makes a good case for choosing one of the FJ40 Roadsters versus its other Toyota Land Cruiser builds. Not only is the cost lower, the build time is shorter, so you get it sooner. Then you can head out into nature and feel more in tune with the surroundings and the vehicle, instead of having a bunch of modern “innovations” getting in the way.
Of course, being a hand-built, low-volume vehicle built in the United States by skilled workers, don’t expect the ICON FJ40 Roadster to be cheap, because it isn’t. ICON doesn’t put pricing out there in plain view, and that’s a clear sign, but if you dig you’ll find the base price is $185,000. If that takes your breath away, looking at some more budget-friendly off-roaders is in order.
Photos credit: YouTube