Icon is known for building meticulously updated versions of vintage vehicles, but its latest project is a whole different kind of retro.
Icon founder Jonathan Ward hopes to revive the “lost language” of 1930s transportation design to build the car that “Howard Hughes would have taken Cruella Deville out in,” according to Jalopnik.
Speaking at a design organization in Portland recently, Ward unveiled sketches for the Helios, a streamlined retro coupe that looks like the offspring of a Cord 810 and a B-17 Flying Fortress, and would feature Tesla underpinnings. The design itself is based on an alternate automotive history, where car designers adopted an aviation-inspired aesthetic much earlier, and the Great Depression and World War II never dampened America’s enthusiasm for bombastic, hand-made cars.
All of that back story makes for a pretty cool car. Named for the Greek god of the Sun, the Helios is wrapped in aluminum panels, riveted together just like they would be on an aircraft. The sketches show a cockpit-like cabin made from a similarly aircraft-like aluminum structure, trimmed in a minimal amount of leather.
It’s even got a leather hood strap. How cool is that?
The powertrain under that strap-secured hood is just as interesting as the exterior. While the cars the Helios is modeled on were mostly powered by big V8, V12, or even V16 engines, Icon has something a little more modern in mind.
Ward is reportedly trying to get the attention of Tesla, so he can use the all-wheel drive electric powertrain from the upcoming Model X crossover in his streamliner.
Tesla hasn’t expressed an opinion on the project, though, so it’s still unclear whether the Helios will ever take flight.
(Images courtesy of ICON)