Curbside Capsule: c. 1978 International Scout II – A Year Of Exploring

c. 1978 International Scout II. North Center, Chicago, Illinois. Sunday, September 4, 2010.

The new year will here in less than four weeks, which means I’ve started to take inventory of what my 2021 has looked like.  I go through this process around this time every year, almost like the self-evaluations many of us perform at our jobs.  I’ve begun to assess my accomplishments and things I wish to improve, made plans for things I want to do next year, and then have also sat back and let it all soak in without trying to do anything else that’s too cerebral.  Some days when I sit down to write, I have fully formed ideas, and my typing fingers struggle to keep up with my brain as my thoughts come to me.  On other occasions, I’m low on inspiration and/or energy and mostly just want to share a few pictures of a vehicle I find interesting or compelling.  Today is one of those days, but there is a common theme between this vehicle and the outgoing year as I’ve experienced it.

My grandparents' pole barn. Northwest Ohio. c. August 1993.

If the front grille of this Scout II is an accurate indicator, this one is a 1977 – ’79 model.  It was originally manufactured in Fort Wayne, Indiana, territory familiar to our own contributing writer and participant, J. P. Cavanaugh.  He had previously covered histories of both International Harvester and also the Terra pickup variant of the Scout II, roughly five years ago.  That’s the kind of comprehensive reading many Curbside readers come here for, and it’s a great essay and introduction to both make and model for many unfamiliar with either.  The International Harvester brand will always remind me of my maternal grandfather, a crop farmer who had many pieces of equipment stored in the cavernous, metal pole barn behind my grandparents’ house in northwestern Ohio, pictured above in a photograph I had taken in the early ’90s.

c. 1978 International Scout II. North Center, Chicago, Illinois. Sunday, September 4, 2010.

Many of those pieces of equipment belonged to some of the farmers who leased land from my grandparents, and we kids were cautioned not to play around on or near those giant machines.  My beloved grandma, who I still think about often, had no shortage of tragic, gruesome accounts of dismemberment, decapitation, and other pleasant bedtime stories.  However, my grandparents’ I-H Cub Cadet riding mower provided me with some of my earliest driving experiences – with supervision, of course.  (Everything should have a throttle control marked with a turtle and a rabbit on either end of its continuum.)  The discovery that the same manufacturer who made the Cub Cadet also built vehicles immediately endeared me to the Scout II and the Chevy Suburban-like Travelall parked in the driveway of our neighbors across the street from the second house where I grew up.

1978 International Scout II print ad, as sourced from the internet.

The Scout II was never a truly plentiful vehicle, and while there are some sources of information online, data on these isn’t readily found everywhere.  From the original Scout’s introduction for 1960 through the end-of-the-line 1980 models, there were over 532,000 produced overall.  Though the updated Scout II was introduced for ’71, the only production figures I could find for it went back only to ’73, with a total of just over 272,606 produced from that year up until the last one rolled off the assembly line on October 12, 1980.  I’ll again reference J. P. Cavanaugh’s earlier post, in which he had detailed the reasons for the Scout’s eventual discontinuation, including a months-long strike.  Of those production figures I could find for the Scout II, ’79 appears to have been the high water mark, with over 44,000 sold.

c. 1978 International Scout II. North Center, Chicago, Illinois. Sunday, September 4, 2010.

I had spotted this particular example in Chicago over ten years ago on a late summer Sunday evening.  Its tape stripe graphics don’t look like any that I’ve since seen in print ads for the Scout II for any model year, so I wonder if they might have been applied by one of its owners at some point, perhaps after a respray.  These vehicles were notorious rusters, and aside from a little bit of surface corrosion, this example might have been given an aftermarket rustproofing treatment like Tuff-Kote Dinol or Rusty Jones.  (Remember those?)  I don’t have any clever metaphors or other things to say about our featured Scout II, outside of the fact that I like it and am glad it existed (and hopefully still does) and presented itself for a quickie photo shoot.  Here’s hoping for continued exploration and inspiration into 2022 as we all continue to scout out, read, and write about the vehicles that interest us out in Curbsideland.

North Center, Chicago, Illinois.
Sunday, September 4, 2010.

Click here for a related post on a ’71 Scout II I had spotted in downtown Chicago traffic four years ago.