The ICON Dog
(Image credit: ICON)

ICON is a Californian outfit based in L.A. who design and build their own hand made jeeps for nostalgic off-road aficionados of taste. The latest addition to their bespoke range is a rather smart little utility vehicle that marries classical styling with contemporary performance known as the CJ3B, affectionately nicknamed: ‘The Dog’.

Based on the flat fender, US army Willys jeep from the 1940s and with a limited edition of 10, the new Dog has a steel body coated in grey polyester Teflon and a GM ECOTEC engine with 210 HP & 195 Ft/Lbs Torque and CAD designed motor mounts to reduce vibration.

The final design of The Dog resulted from a computer-facilitated, trans-continental collaboration between Jonathan Ward, based in LA; a company called Burke Built, just north of San Diego; and Michael DiTullo, a self-confessed car freak and one of Nike’s senior designers in Boston.

“We worked digitally“, explains DiTullo, “using a host of collaborative software allowing us to share huge files and digital virtual workspaces during conference calls. In three years I've physically met the guys at Burke Built once, and I've never actually met Jonathan Ward, ICON’s boss and designer, in person!”

DiTullo was responsible for giving The Dog its characteristic ‘face’: “We wanted something that connected to ICON's other products which are all based on WWII Toyota FJ's, but was also unique and iconic“ he explains.

“I have to say, Jonathan really pushed me. We must have done 30-50 different front end designs on this over a three month period. We ended with a very simple solution that is based on the manufacturing process and I think is very memorable”.

The classic styling of the CJ3B certainly can’t be faulted, and with the quality of engineering and materials also invested in it by the makers, it looks like you can teach an old Dog new tricks – certainly enough to ensure its place in the hearts of utility fans for a few more decades to come.

Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.