A few weeks ago we at MANVIL threw together the idea of a four door, early model Ford Bronco based on ICON 4X4’s BR concept. We like the idea of the BR, and love the thought of a modern, coil sprung, Tdi powered Bronco.
Subsequently we found a pic of a real, live four door Bronco some madman from the 70’s built. Righteous! And props be to the dude who found the time and put that crazy bit of off-road hardware together.
It goes without saying that we’re big fans of LA based ICON, the small, independent manufacturing company with the skills and drive to breath life back into automotive icons like the Bronco, the CJ3 and the entire line-up of the FJ series.
ICON recycles great vehicles of the past into working, more functional presents. Hell, their preliminary business was re-building Land Cruisers and we’ve always believed those rigs to have been one of the most iconic vehicles ever made. (See above right)
So when we saw that Hot Wheels was making a Hot Wheels™ version of ICON’s FJ40, we were stoked! Could there be a more honorable tribute than the spitting image of the car you designed in a tiny form?
We’ve never actually met ICON’s owner and chief designer Jonathan Ward, but he’s gotta be absolutely chuffed.
He was probably rolling Hot Wheels cars in the dirt, like we were, when he was a wee tot. Now he does it for real and Hot Wheels, THE Hot Wheels, king of the rolling toys, has copied his rig? Hell yeah!
If MANVIL had slaved to rebuild an even better version of an FJ40, and Hot Wheels liked it so much that they wanted to make a HOT WHEEL’s version of our car, we’d still be searching for gracious words of thanks.
But wait… they never asked.
Hot Wheels never did ask or mention anything about the new line-up of mini-FJ40s. Apparently they didn’t feel the need because Hot Wheels is owned by Mattel, and “they’s gots lotsa lawyers.”
You can imagine how Jonathan Ward must feel, as a car guy. He designs something so cool, then Hot Wheels totally copies it…
Then they promote the new line of Land Cruiser toys with ICON’s own press photos. When asked about it, Mattel denies, obfuscates and diverts attention from the subject. Mattel, buy a soul, and pay the guy.
What do you think? Does the image of the Hot Wheels rig on top look like a quickly colorized copy of ICON’s FJ from the press photos. (Note the specialized ICON grill emblem, the rear view mirror, the extra driving lights mounts on the outside of the roll bar, the extra mesh to the rear of the passenger seat, and the VERY non-factory front bumpers and push bars.) Let us know.