Hint: it's under the hood.
If there's one thing you can guarantee at Monterey Car Week, it's a procession of mint condition, perfectly kept, and highly buffed classic cars on display. On the other hand, you'll also find unmolested barn finds wallowing in the full glory of their patina and unrestored time capsules on four wheels. Icon, one of the US's premier restoration companies, took something to Monterey this year than doesn't slot neatly into either of the traditional camps. What you're looking at here is Icon's 1949 Hudson "Derelict."
The 1949 Hudson follows Icon's tried and true formula of taking classic car bodies in as-found condition and blending it with cutting-edge mechanical components and electronics. For the Hudson project, Icon also took the interior to the next level as well.
The well-weathered exterior is hiding a wealth of automotive treasures underneath, starting with a 6.2-liter supercharged LS9 V8 laying down an imposing 638 horsepower and 604 lb-ft of torque. That would be an absolutely frightening proposition if the Hudson still had a solid rear axle setup. Instead, Icon has fitted a fully independent suspension system all-round. Just as frightening would be trying to stop using the original drum brakes, so Icon has gone with large Brembo brakes to help avoid any embarrassing interactions with a tree.
It's the actual chassis where the true art of Icon shows through though. Custom-built Art Morrison subframes were designed to integrate into the existing Hudson "Monobuilt" semi-unibody construction. The overall effect is so well done, you couldn't tell by looking at the car that it has a modern chassis underneath that houses independent suspension and has the strength to deal with all that new power.
The interior is where most attention will be directed though. Jonathon Ward, the man behind Icon, explains: "My recent deep-dive hobby is traditional leather-craft. As a serial craftsman, I have explored many arts, and leather-craft really speaks to me. So, I infused that into this project, which features a very unique wild-caught alligator and calf leather interior, which I designed and dyed all by hand. It was a labor of love, with just the interior taking over 400 hours to realize!"
Alligator skin and calf leather is a bold choice, and it's a bold interior, to say the least. The owner is a repeat customer for Icon and is all about the local culture of his hometown, Nashville. We suspect this badass Hudson will fit right in while also being a unique piece of art in its own right. As is the way with these things, the cost of the restoration is being kept very quiet.