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Back to the Future: Classic Cars Go High Tech


(upbeat music) (tires screeching) – Industrialization, standardization of automotive manufacturing was a game-changer, right? But to me, the most interesting products coming out are these clever mash-ups of traditional craftsmanship and modern solutions It's the mash-up of new and old that speaks to me

(upbeat music) – [Narrator] Jonathan Ward is the owner of Icon, an automotive shop that takes classic cars and infuses them with the best of modern technology – They're taking a 40-year old car and essentially preparing it for it's next 40 years (engine revving) – [Narrator] In a world filled with disposable products, Jonathan is asking, "How can we get the most out of what we already have?" (power tools whirring) – The name Icon was my wife's idea To me, it really represented that we're trying to reference iconic designs and principles even With the rapid growth of industrial process and automation and the industrial revolution, I personally feel quantity overpowered quality in many cases

So, to me, that's a part of our responsibility with Icon To celebrate these vintage design icons but evolve it into the future The ultimate led sled would be, by most people's judgment, a '49 to '51 Mercury coupe At a rapid glance, you see it on the side of the road, you may wonder if it even runs But then there are like layers of onions

You start peeling the layers back Like if you peak underneath it, you'll see what Adrian here is still toiling away and the rest of my team have done So there are thousands and thousands of hours to reimagining this classic 'cause of the pioneering EV system that's in it So 200 mile range, 475 foot pounds of torque, dual electric motors For the EV charge ports, we do stuff like this, where we'll hide it behind the license plate

The power windows are controlled by what looks like the original analog crank, and you just nudge up for up and down from down Obviously we're running a digital touchscreen display because we had to monitor so many of the new electric vehicle circuits But again, keeping the continuity because I think that's when we jump the shark When we do anything that impacts the whole vibe and romance of the vintage aesthetic, we have failed – [Narrator] This is Michael DiTullo, he's an automotive expert and designer who has reimagined several classic cars with Jonathan

– There's a lot of places you can go to get a refurbished vintage car That's not really the business that Icon is in I think it's really the only place you're gonna go to get this thing that is redesigned and reimagined for the next generation (engine roaring) – [Michael] Our collaborations usually start with Jonathan doing like a tear-down of the vehicle So we'll have a sense of, "Okay, we want to upgrade the mirrors, we want to take look at the badging, or the door handles

" These are all the little parts of the vehicle that should be better – All our plumbing is actually done by an aerospace supplier so it's mandrel bent stainless Clamps and fixtures, I'm generally gonna go to railcar marine or aerospace, because they're still making it the best it can be made – The glass is like architectural glass, it's not automotive glass The sun visors are the same material that they use in jets and like learjets

Dark-tinted green that you can actually still see-through when you put it down and you're like, "That just totally makes sense" That's not an automotive person, that is a craftsman and a designer's approach, right? I have friends who are in the automotive industry and they're like, "Yup, just went to another presentation from a creative director, and another bunch of slides on Icon" So you have this small group of dedicated people building cars influencing, not only automotive production but product design in general I think we need to, maybe as a culture, redefine materialism Maybe we're not materialistic enough

What are the materials going into the thing I'm buying and will it last me? – So this one is super cool This is a 1949 Hudson Super Six One of my geek-out side hobbies is traditional leather craft So this is wild cog alligator that starts in crust form, meaning been through tanning but no oiling, no pigments So then I come through and I hand-paint this with a series of five different pigments and seven different suspensions to get this just kind of aged funky patina effect

It was so much fun The dash still is in theme with the original design aesthetic but now it supports in-dash AC with adjustable vents Audio system, you push any of the memory buttons Considerations for details like that is sadly forgotten – A lot of times if you over-index on a higher quality good that cost more upfront, you might be spending a fraction as what you'd spend by buying the same object over and over again

You'll save time, you'll save money, you'll enjoy yourself more And you'll have a product that you enjoy using versus something you somewhat loathe but does the job – I'm seeing a movement of other makers and consumers that are starting to poke through the veneer of buying the cheapest possible thing that they need So I'd like to think that reviving classic industrial arts will be an important part of the success of the American culture Makes me hope we're on the right path

(engines roaring) – [Narrator] Icon is a boutique shop in just one industry But what if every product was made with this love and care? Would you ever even think of throwing anything away? (engine revving) (upbeat music) Thanks for watching, if you liked this video, please give us a like and subscribe to Freethink for more great stories of people changing the world

Source: Youtube

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