Isn’t this truck just oozing with authenticity and testosterone? None of that sissified cushiness of its modern successors here. And in case you’re wondering about the Travelette name, it’s International’s moniker for a double cab; a play on the name of its popular Travelall proto-SUV. Now there’s history with that name and style, because the Travelette was the first production double cab pickup in the land. Sadly, International bowed out just as double-cabs were finally beginning to catch on.
I’d been following this truck’s comings and goings for the sixteen years we’d lived here when I shot it back in 2009. For a while it lived down the street from us; now its over on the east side. It seems to have slowed down a bit in its old age, but after forty-five years, it deserves a slower pace of life.
I’m not sure what’s under the hood, but the two V8 choices that year were the 266 (154.8 hp) and 304 (193.1 hp). Of course, it could well be the infinitely rugged BG series six, which came in a 241 CI version rated at 140.8 hp. You know International was primarily a big truck and tractor outfit, given the hp ratings in decimals. No inflated numbers here.
A look at the interior, especially the driver’s compartment, also confirmed that. Just plain round gauges, but plenty of them. A farmer hopping in after a day in the fields on his Farmall was going to feel very much at home. And that goes for that extra-long shifter too.
International had a storied history, one of the great classic American industrial giants. Its roots go all the way back to the 1830’s, when Cyrus McCormick refined and patented the horse-drawn reaper. A merger in 1902 with the Deering Harvester Co. (no relation to John Deere) and a few other agricultural manufacturers created the ag business equivalent of GM. The Farmalls of my youth were the crowning glory of International’s golden era, but trucks were an increasing part of the industrial mix, beginning in 1907. International had a very strong position in the mid and large size truck market; their Loadstar series was ubiquitous for decades.
International stumbled, starting in the sixties. Pickup production ended in 1975. A combination of labor issues and the recession of 1981 practically wiped out the company. It sold the flagship ag products division, and retrenched as a mid-large size truck manufacturer, which it continues as today. But I can’t but believe that it’s a matter of time before the now-called Navistar gets swallowed up in the global truck consolidation already well under way. My guess: VW, which has just increased their MAN holdings and will likely consolidate it with their Scania and VW truck ops. Another vestigial American icon from the golden era ripe for plucking.
Update: that was written in 2009. In September of 2016, VW announced that it was acquiring a 16.6% share of Navistar. it’s probably just the first step.
Sweet looking International. This is my idea of what a truck should be.
Looks like the Greyhound decal was acquired from Greyhound Bus Company at some Point and wonder where it’s companion on the other side went? Sweet looking truck indeed and I like patina it has. I hope this truck will not end up in a junkyard if it suffers mechanical maladies.
WOW ~ what a nice rig .
Someone is *very* lucky and hopefully won’t scrap it when some $2,000.00 repair becomes necessary .
Great looking old rig. I love the home crafted camper, I’m getting some good ideas from the pics, for my own creation. Quad cab trucks are just so useful, t’s no wonder they are so popular. Maybe it only has one Greyhound because it is only “half fast?” Heres a pic of my monstrosity. (not the truck, the side boards)
This is no semi-tractor but in my head I can hear Red Simpson’s spoken introduction to his most famous song: “Hello, I’m a truck.”
One of my favorite songs — and the Travelette here really seems like an embodiment of that song.
And besides, I can see the El Camino filling the role of the song’s “little pink Mack.” He finally got parked near his sweetheart!
Our local Navistar plant is an important employer and the plant itself is very impressive- actually huge. Monstrous, actually. I sincerely hope it’s not closed or otherwise devaluated as a result of the VW business. I need to get some shots of that building and put them at the Cohort.
Love these. The greyhound decal is a nice touch, but I’m wondering if the blue doors are replacements then what did the originals look like?
Judging by the chrome trim on them I’d say that the blue doors were sourced from a Travelall.
When I was growing up in the 1960’s I remember seeing a few crew cab International trucks and more rarely a Dodge crew cab. I cannot remember seeing a GM crew cab pickup until the version that started the 1973 model year. Those were always no-nonsense trucks for survey CREWs or the like.
Once, in the early 1990’s I went to the local auto upholstery shop to have the seat covers replaced on my F150 SuperCab. In the shop at the time were three brand new F350, 4-wheel drive crew cab trucks. The shop owner told me they were to have their bench seats re-upholstered in a very heavy, practically puncture-proof vinyl as the standard seat covers just weren’t up to the abuse they would receive in the oil field. He further said the trucks would have about a 3-year life in the field (they were headed for Venezuela) after which they would be abandoned by the company that owned them.
GM didn’t make a crew cab prior to 1973!
The decal has me wondering if this might have been a Greyhound Bus service truck long ago.
As a kid, I thought these were so, so stupid looking.
Today, thru my 2016 vantage point, I get it now, marveling at IH’s prescience. And unlike the Dodge 4-doors where the fronts were repeated at the rear…International used the Travelall rear doors to concoct a well-integrated 4-door pickup.
In 2016, unless it’s lowered or otherwise modified/hot-rodded, it’s the current-model 2-door pickups that look out of place.
I remember seeing these around every once in awhile when I was a kid. A 4 door pickup just looked so strange.
This generation of IH pickup always looked just a little off to me – The beltline always looked a little low. I thought the pickup series’ before and after these were more attractive.
That is a sweet truck and unlike Dodge’s quad offering of the time, this truck looks like it goes together(the Dodge ones looked like it was put together haphazard and looks awkward.)
I like the home brew reverse light. I take it that this truck was built before mandated reverse lights?
Did some research and found that Dodge used an outside firm to convert trucks for its original crew cab. By ’64 it was done in-house, but using the same awkward design. So, IH was the first in ’61, with the Dodge offering also a ’61, but not factory produced. I wonder if the Dodge crew was originally done for government contracts.
The third brake light requirement began in the 1986 model year for cars in the US…..I believe the requirement on light duty trucks took effect several years later…..I owned a 1991 Full size Chevy Blazer which did not have a factory third brakelight.
I wasn’t aware International made a double-cab, or that they were the first, so this is both a very cool and informative find Paul!
It’s almost an incomprehensibly long way from the Travelette to the LoneStar. Here’s a pic I took of one and what it reminds me of, my favorite big truck ever!
Never knew these guys were factory by now. An idea before its time…very cool old truck though.
Good prediction on the VW thing…it’ll be interesting to see what changes if they do get a controlling interest, as heavy truck designs aren’t exactly universal. A shame to see another independent become part of a giant conglomerate though, or at least heading that way.
Powertrains (engines, transmissions and axles) can be used universally. And both MAN and Scania happen to build first-rate big truck hardware, Scania even has its own transmissions. And (global) vertical integration is the way to go.
I wonder how long MAN and Scania will keep their own separate line of engines. Since 1969 Scania is famous and beloved for its big and very powerful V8 engines (up to 730 hp from 16.4 liter displacement these days). It would almost be a Deadly Sin, never mind the month November is over, to phase them out.
You could park that down by the river and live in it.
I don’t think VW is in a position to acquire any more of Navistar. In fact they’re more likely to sell. The financial fallout of Dieselgate will cost them billions in fines, reparations and lost market share, and will consume all their capital.
Someone else may snqp up Navistar, though.
Part of the deal required VW to hold its shares for a period of time 3yrs IIRC. So I see it as VW using it to park some money until the dieselgate problems are behind them.
Navistar needed some more cash to put their own emissions problems behind them and get their new MD truck line off the ground to put their divorce with Ford behind them and the marriage with GM .done.
I would be interested in the story behind the diamond plate box end caps. Diamond plate rear bumpers were common fare in the 60’s and 70’s but this is the first time I have seen diamond plate box end caps. Look almost too good to be home made.
The VW tie makes good sense, the current Navistar N13 diesel is a license-built MAN design, and a very fine engine. Makes up a bit for Navistar’s failed ‘advanced EGR’ debacle. I expect the VW/Navistar relationship to grow as it certainly benefits both parties, but not too sure VW will eventually end up with Navistar. CEO Clarke and a lot of his team are ex- G.M. guys and they sound like they want to remain independent. In addition, Navistar is also currently building a very strong relationship with GM. Navistar will soon begin assembling certain Chevy van-based commercial trucks and a new joint venture GM/Navistar medium duty truck is due in 2018.
MAN’s current truck top-diesel is a 15.2 liter inline-6, its max. power output is 640 hp. Picture below.
Also available for heavy-duty trucks are the 10.5 and 12.4 liter engines. I assume the latter comes close to the Navistar N13. Around 13 liter displacement is the most common engine these days in big diesel trucks. Around 500 hp, “adequate” I’d say.
Didn’t the Air Force buy a lot of these too? I know the Interior Dept. did because I got seat time in ’em when I would visit my Godfather who spent 60 years working in the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Preserve. Hard riding trucks, they would beat you up.
The Air Force used a bunch of blue Dodge crew cabs on SAC bases.
We still had some of these in the Air Force when I went in in 78 – maintainers and we in Security Police primarily used them – 6 pack in Air Force speak…gradually replaced by Dodge models.
Nice truck, I remember seeing those in the ’70s as a kid and thinking that they all had the broken back look from saggy cab/bed mounts. I find it hilarious that the two companies that couldn’t produce emission legal diesel engines are joining forces. I have to deal with the Maxxfarce DT garbage on a daily basis, these should be a forced buyback also. IH has taken a huge dump since the days of the featured truck. My experience with their products and dealer service had been so bad that I wouldn’t advise anyone to touch one with a stolen ten foot pole.
In 1960 a fleet of more than 300 Travelall and Travelette were imported to Brazil to fight malaria. In 1966, for the first and only time, I saw such a vehicle here in the south of the country. What end will this entire fleet have taken?