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Icon’s Newest Creation Is a 1949 Hudson Coupe With 638 HP and Alligator Skin Interior

Powered by a supercharged LS9 out of a Corvette ZR1, this custom-restored Hudson's interior alone took 400 hours of work.

Last year, Southern California mod-man Jonathan Ward brought an all-electric 1949 Mercury to SEMA. He seemingly wasn’t done playing with ’49 coupes, though, because on display at last week’s Monterey Car Week was a gorgeous Hudson blessed by his company Icon with modern supercar power and some seriously luxurious custom upholstery. Meet the newest Icon Derelict.

Based on a barn-found 1949 Hudson from North Carolina, the Derelict is powered by a supercharged LS9 good for 638 horses and 604 pound-feet of torque hooked up to a four-speed 4L85-E automatic. It rides on fully adjustable suspension on all four corners and comes to a stop thanks to Brembo GT brakes. 

What might be more interesting than the Derelict’s mechanicals, however, is what its interior’s been trimmed with. 

“My recent deep-dive hobby is traditional leather-craft,” said Ward. “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.”


In addition to the hand-dyed wild alligator and Moore & Giles leather, the interior features German wool carpeting, a wool headliner, and wool sun visors trimmed with more bits of dead alligator skin. The funky, translucent blue 16-inch steering wheel is a custom-cast part. The knobs and brightwork on the dashboard were CNC’d by Icon just for this car. 

“This project was built for a repeat client we love,” Ward adds. “He has a ranch in Nashville and loves the local culture there. So, the idea was to build a car with some rockabilly spirit: a vehicle that was distinct, yet fit the vibe of Nashville. Together, we decided a 1949-1951 Hudson coupe would be just the right choice. As we have now built several vehicles for this client, and he understands my odd brain, he encouraged me to go for it, and I built every detail as if the car were for me.”