My first exposure to I-H trucks was at Carson Valley, Nevada in the early 'sixties. The slant four-cylinder 152 (later the 196) models were all over Carson Valley, an adjunct to the popular I-H light 4x4 trucks and cultivating equipment. Ranchers valued the reliability and ease of service on these light-duty trucks and other I-H equipment. The local I-H dealer did a brisk business...
By the late 'sixties, as a truck fleet mechanic, I had charge of several I-H trucks and did minor and major repairs and maintenance on them, including a vintage dump truck with an RD406 gas inline engine and several IHC Metro Vans of early 'sixties vintage—each equipped with a BD240 inline OHV six and B-W 3-speed automatic transmission. I rebuilt components and discovered quality powertrains, axles and chassis up close. Subtle advancements and utility features like chamfered cylinder bores impressed me...I acquired firsthand respect for "Cornbinder" stamina and IHC's hallmark ability to out-source the best components and parts in the automotive industry.
In 1969, a parts run to the local I-H truck dealership, Alessio Motors at San Diego, nearly resulted in the purchase of an "immaculate" 1956 I-H R120 3/4-ton short box 4x4 pickup parked on the used truck lot! The iron transfer case shift levers remain fixed in my memory! What a find, and what a legacy if I had purchased the R120...At the time, I was busy with the restoration of a Jeep CJ-3A and could not make room for the I-H truck...
The original I-H Scout evolved from a staid knock-off of a vintage Jeep CJ-5/CJ-6 into the 196 slant four and 266 V-8 option models. Finally, facing competition from the Ford Bronco, G.M. Blazer and Jimmy, the Scout II emerged with a 258 AMC inline six and optional 345 V-8. By then, the bulletproof Chrysler A727 transmission option or a rugged manual gearbox filled the "Line Ticket"! Beyond doubt, the 266, 304, 345 and 392 V-8s were among the most rugged domestic gasoline engines ever built.
Based on the light truck chassis, Travelall wagons were well ahead of their time. In 1975, I went to Alaska with Bob "Bearclaws" Stutsman in a used '66 I-H 4x4 Travelall with well over 100K miles on the odometer. We pulled a travel trailer from Carson City, Nevada to Kenai, Alaska. The rugged, 304 V-8 powered truck performed flawlessly, using less than one quart of oil on the trip...As for "rugged", an early '70s Travelall could be optioned with a 5-speed Clark medium-duty manual transmission!
All Scout II, I-H light trucks and Travelalls were built to the highest standards and from a remarkable list of available options. The last 4x4 I-H light trucks were among the best-built American trucks and utility models in history. Restorers and loyal owners appreciate these models to this day.
This forum is about building community. Enthusiastic and informed I-H, Scout and Scout II owners and restorers can share unique experiences, restoration projects, technical questions and parts needs with other I-H buffs...My interest is ongoing, as is my praise for International-Harvester trucks!—Moses Ludel