Tuesday, July 22, 2014

800 + 800 = Twofer Tuesday Truck Week edition!

The city streets are notoriously tough on vehicles. Potholes, large metal construction plates, sinkholes, errant delivery trucks, and of course all the other folks on the road parallel parking by sense of touch all contribute to enhanced wear and tear. I encountered 2 solutions to the hard life of a city daily driver recently:

This is an International Harvester Scout 800 from 1965-1968 in Metro White (as opposed to Whitecap White which was also available). Pinpointing the date beyond that is almost impossible without the stock bumpers or hubcaps present. That logo on the hood above the grill is a red I over a black H for International Harvester, but it is also a red man on a black tractor. This is fitting because these are little tractors that just want to work hard and forgive abuse.

Scouts are some of the hardiest, most utilitarian rides out there; super reliable mechanically in a slow-but-deliberate way. The frame and running gear are so overbuilt that it's a safe bet the body would dissolve into powder from rusting before the engine would need to be rebuilt. Seeing a rust-free example in the Northeast almost invariably means it came from somewhere out West.

ALL WHEEL DRIVE is how they describe modern computer-controlled versions that send power to whichever wheel needs it most, but this is some rudimentary stuff on the Scout! To go from 2-wheel to 4-wheel drive you had to leave the transmission in neutral, get out and manually lock the hubs by turning a dial in the center of each front wheel, get back in and shift a separate gearshift for the transfer case to either high or low 4-wheel, and then drive normally. Once engaged though these are some of the most unstoppable mules out there.

This pic shows the best part of Scouts (for me); the removable roof! To have a seriously capable truck that is also a full convertible from the windshield back is awesome. This thing is ready for the beach, the desert, the mountains, or the deep woods.

One more look at this scrappy little beast before we move on. You might've noticed a gas cap on each side of this ride. For whatever reason the 800s came from the factory with dual gas tanks. When you ran out of fuel on one you simply move a lever to the other side and keep going. What the advantages were over a single, larger tank I have no idea. The thought of filling up at a gas station, then turning around and filling up again seems like a pain, but whatever.
On to the Red Rocket!

This gleaming little freak looks more eager than the lounging, sedate vibe of the white Scout above. Maybe it's the red paint (officially known as RED in the catalog), or maybe it's the winch hanging off the front of it. Who knows? To me it just looks ready to pounce!

Let's take a closer look at that mammoth front bumper/winch combination. Obviously the winch cable is missing so it won't be coming to the rescue any time soon. However, in it's day I'm sure it could've pulled this thing out of a mud pit and right up a cliff if you asked it to! Not bad to have a park bench built on to the front of your rig when camping (or tailgating on both ends at the game).

While I love the canvas top for ease of removal this hardtop looks great in white over the red body. The chrome luggage rack and fancy wheels mean this thing is ready for a less off-road, more urban/suburban life.

At first glance I thought maybe those gauges were all aftermarket additions, but research proved me wrong as they're all stock.

Dual exhaust has me thinking there's been an upgrade under the hood from the standard 4 cylinder.
I love this truck, but the owners got to pony up for some new tires and an alignment ASAP! Still, there are few rigs on the road as versatile and fun as this one. If you're considering a classic truck I would highly recommend any Scout from any year. If it's running (which they almost always are), check for rust underneath and all around. If it looks solid, go for it!

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