Idle International Speculation

By Mike Mello


It sits there, close to where I live, collecting twigs, dirt, and gunk in the seams of its 8′ bed. A few rot bubbles have broken through the moderately blue metalic paint but this truck still looks like a solid machine.

This early 70’s International 4×4 pickup is from a time when there actually were more than 3 choices in the domestic fullsize pickup market. According to information I found at Super Scout Specialists, this 1110 model could have been built in 1971, 72, or 73. Long before International Harvester decided to devote itself solely to the heavy duty truck market, you could also shop at the IH dealer for light duty trucks, including the Scout, Travelall, and pickups.

If you’re a fan of oddball, domestic trucks of years gone by, don’t worry, sooner than later I’ll be sure to post up about my favorite vintage American pickups, the Jeep J series. For now, let’s admire this lonely International that somebody has let sit for quite some time out on the street. (Better than in some muddy field somewhere, right?)

Most pre-1979 domestic truck featured beautiful, clean, aluminum grilles that can’t be beat. The long lasting, non-rusting qualities of a classic grille are just too good to resist and are perhaps a symbol times when manufacturing and design favored heavy amounts of metal, used appropriately throughout a vehicle. Today, we get plastic made to look like aluminum, of which the best materials look good and probably save weight.

How about those running lights perched on top of the cab? Pieces like that are probably gone for good and it makes me smile just looking at the brand name cast into the housing behind the amber lenses – it just speaks of permanancy, a quality one might value in a work truck.

Speaking of permanancy, although the overall design is plainer than a pair of Dickies, trucks of this vintage all came through with a decidedly utilitarian feel reinforced by predominantly straight body lines, upright seating positions, bench seats, and of course, steel dashboards.

Today’s trucks do a remarkable job combining luxury and workability, but early 70’s American pickups will always give you that straight, flat, boxy feel with the right amount of metal and horsepower.

Now the question here is, what sort of plans for the truck have been made by the person who owns this International? Is it someone who has bought it with the intention of restoring it to factory condition? Or, somone that has bought it and plans on just putting enough money in it to make it a great daily driver? That would make it’s current place of residence just a staging area for a kind of rebirth, which, of course, makes me happy to think about.

Conversely, it could be parked there because it stopped running, it’s owner has decided it’s not worth putting any more money into it, and this is merely the first stage of a long decline. You see this happen all the time, cars or trucks that get parked somewhere with the intention of doing something about the vehicle at some undefined “later”, and then nothing happens for two years, five years, ten years, sometimes 30 years.

This old International has been parked where it is for a long time now – I can only guess as to the reasons. I’m hoping for a postive outcome.

COPYRIGHT – All Rights Reserved

Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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  1. I’ve always admired the clean lines of the 1970s Internationals. In many ways, the IH trucks were ahead of their time; didn’t they have all-metal pickup bed floors in the 1950s, when the competition had wood planks? Good photos, too, Mike.

  2. I love the International pickup trucks, and I also love the Jeep Gladiator, J-10, J-20, the J-2000 and the J-3000, which you refer to in the post. Can’t understand why Jeep doesn’t have a pickup now.

  3. scrambler, they actually probably will in the near future. They’ve been testing a version of the Wrangler Unlimited with a pickup bed in the back instead of the SUV body and back doors. It looks pretty sweet, though the name escapes me at the moment.

  4. Yeah, what about that Gladiator pickup that Jeep was showing a couple of years ago? That is supposedly showing up next year. But that’s a regular size pickup.

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