The Car That Aaron Eckhart, David Letterman and Other Stars Soup Up
Icon offers a slew of customized options to restore Toyota FJ Cruisers for stars including Joel McHale, who says the vehicle is "perfect for the apocalypse. It'll clear all the zombies out of the way. Can you really put a price on that?"
For long trips out of town, Aaron Eckhart drives his "dream car" — a Land Cruiser FJ62 hand-built by Chatsworth, Calif.-based Icon (from $150,000), which scrupulously restores off-road vehicles. Says the actor of Icon founder Jonathan Ward: "He suggested I put a 1990 chassis on the 1988 body to give me better driveability while preserving the classic look. The entire car was taken apart, stripped down, powder-coated and reassembled." The Sully co-star adds, "I've taken it out in severe weather, and it's been a workhorse through and through."
The actor waited two years for one of Ward's famous Production models, which are based on classic Toyota FJ Cruisers of the '60s, '70s and '80s. Customers like Eckhart, Joel McHale and David Letterman choose from a list of custom options, and each car is meticulously built for a year or more. "When I first saw the Icons, I thought, 'If I were a capitalistic, all-consuming American …' I went to the factory and drove one and knew this was something I needed," says McHale. The comic actor says of his Icon FJ43: "I ordered all the options except for the $6,000 winch, because other than looking cool, I knew I would want to try it out and rip off someone's bumper." When asked if he takes his Icon off-road, McHale jokes, "Absolutely not. I'm from Hollywood. I have driven over a couple of curbs. When I did that in my Porsche, I cracked the oil pan."
For something with more edge, Icon's elite-jalopy series, called Derelicts and Reformers, have long waiting lists, as each of the four to six produced annually — like the six-figure 1948 Buick Super Convertible Derelict — takes thousands of hours of engineering and fabrication work. "The FJ is perfect for the apocalypse," says McHale. "It'll clear all the zombies out of the way. Can you really put a price on that?"
This story first appeared in the Oct. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.