A positively beautiful 1979 International Harvester Scout II SE

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/03/30/a-positively-beautiful-1979-in.html


… I had a teacher with one of these.
It broke down all the time.


Maybe thats why it is like a Vanagon?


My grandfather sold and serviced IH combines and tractors (had the only dealership for 100 miles) and was a huge fan of Scouts and it’s full sized cousin - the Travelall

He had a red one and my uncle had a blue one. Literal tanks those things were.

I remember a cross country trip as a wee lad where some faulty wiring under the dash (for the CB radio natch) caught on fire.


When I was in Boy Scouts in the early 1990s a couple of the troop leaders had these. I think they were slightly different model years but both were like a bright orange with white trim (or maybe vice versa). For quite awhile I just thought they called them “Scout” because we usually used them to transport camping gear, and always assumed orange/white was the default color scheme.


I’m so excited - I’ve got one of those - just the same - almost identical!


I’ve had many International vehicles in my life… starting with my father’s and grandfather’s. Then, when I moved to CA, I got a beat-up Scout without air conditioning which I drove from the Bay Area to Phoenix and back. It got hot and needed to be push started at every gas stop, so I would try to choose stations with hills to make the task easier. And when I drove home from Phoenix that summer, I left in the middle of the night, so I wouldn’t be driving through the desert in the heat. After that, I upgraded to a hunter green Travelall which I brought to Burning Man and another playa event. It was such a gas guzzler, that it had two gas tanks.

Me and my first Scout in 1995:

My dad and a friend:

My grandfather on a Cape Cod beach with one of his:

Baby Rusty on the beach (with grandparents and their Scout)!

The Travelall – Black Rock Desert 1999:


My family had a 1970-something Ford Econoline like that.


Is no one going to say anything about Lighting McQueen???


I had a friend that had one of those first series Scouts . I opened the hood one day because it had some operational issue, and was shocked to find a turbocharged four cylinder engine. The owner knew nothing of such matters, but apparently it was a stock offering in early production. Those early Scout’s were lots of fun, but I always thought I wouldn’t want to be in an accident in one. Love the Travelall’s too; the body style on yours is my favourite, minimal and functional . Needs to be in orange, though :slight_smile:


which is true for just about every American car from the 70’s.


She hated it.


My very first car I ever owned was a Scout II. That thing was a tank. I’ve never had a car that could match it for not getting stuck in mud, snow, or ice.

I thought about getting another one, but one of my buddies brother’s had one and had to machine parts for it.

I still think fondly of that car and it’s been decades.


I knew a guy in the service who had a TravelAll. He also had parents with a big barn. He also got deployed all over the country at least once or twice a year. At every new post he’d visit all the local junkyards and buy every one he could find to be shipped back.
Last I heard he had over a dozen parts donors ready for whenever his daily driver might need something, which was frequently. He’d call home and ask his Pa to pull whatever he needed and ship it.


Awww, man, we had a purple & white Scout II in VT when I was growing up, and it was rusty enough to be the firewood-gathering truck by the time I was old enough to learn to drive. It was my training vehicle. :slight_smile:

Dad had to reroute the wiring through the interior at an early point because the beavers in our pond nibbled the road salt off too aggressively. Miss that truck.

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Grew up a couple of miles away from my grandparents waaay back in the sticks in Virginia. My grandfather had an old Scout he used like a tractor. That thing could climb like a mountain goat and had a very tight turning radius. But yeah, best carry some spare parts.

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I once worked for a company called International Auto Parts - that imported parts for Italian cars.

But the name…

So every month, someone made the honest mistake, and called up saying “I need a carb for ma scout.”

Every month.

I had no idea there was such a market back then.

They sure are cool.


There was an old auto repair shop, that did a lot of classic car work, just around the corner from where I lived in Portland, Oregon. It had bunch of these (and some Travelalls) in its backlot for some reason. There was a Travelall there that’s probably the only vehicle I’ve ever really lusted after, confirmed non-driver that I am. The light vehicles never made it to the UK as far as I know, but for a while my farther had worked as an agricultural salesman selling Harvester International manchines and Uni-mogs. There was a corner of my childhood that was full of HI sales materials so walking past I used to experience a sort of strange alternate universe nostalgia.

They’ve made it over more recently. I’m in the process of doing up a 1959 Metro Mite. That’s a real parts bin special, which I’m certainly adding to!

In Germany apparently car wiring being gnawed by pine martens is enough of a problem that various electrical systems to deter them are popular.