Curbside Capsule: International 1200C Pickup – The Lowest HD Pickup Ever

Although we’ve never done a full CC on the International C Series (1961-1968), they’ve made numerous appearances on our pages. I don’t have time to do a detailed write-up today, as it gets a bit complicated, given the considerable number of variations, including those with torsion bar IFS. So I’m going to focus on one particular aspect, which confirms something I’ve long suspected: these always looked exceptionally low to me (total height), and to the extent I’ve been able to find that metric, it does appear that they really were the lowest of the conventional pickups.  In this case, it’s a 3/4 ton 1200C (as best as I can tell), and it’s all of 69.9″ tall. That’s right about a foot shorter than a 2021 Chevy HD pickup, and an inch taller than the very popular RAV4, as a frame of comparison.

I’m not trying to instigate another pickup growth pissing match, but these were mighty easy to climb into the cab. No need for running boards, stepladders, or airstairs.

I spotted this on a recent trip to Portland, and it’s obviously missing a few non-essential body parts. Given the reduced weight, this one might well break through the 70′ height barrier. I didn’t have a measuring tape on me.

As another frame of reference, my ’66 1/2 ton F100 is listed as being 70.5″ tall. The 3/4 ton F250 sits a couple of inches taller. The closest one I could find specs on was the 1967 Chevy C20, at 71″. I could not find specs on the comparable Dodges.

Given the lack of side marker lights, we can pretty safely assume it’s a 1967 or earlier. And where did International buy those taillights? At Pep Boys? Yes, if there was a styling department at International, I’m guessing it didn’t exactly attract the best talent coming out of ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena.

It’s all business back here, along with the taillights.

And no need for dashboard designers either. Just a flat “board” and a passel of SW gauges. And there’s the obligatory “snake charmer” gear shift rod with at least four bends in it. A four speed with a granny low first gear. Another oddity about these is how vertical the steering wheel is.

Here’s a spec sheet for a 1968 version. I assume things didn’t change much from a year or two or three earlier.

As to what’s under the hood, your guess is as good as mine. The standard mill was the BG-241 six, churning out a 140.8 gross hp @3800 rpm, and 223.5 lb.ft. of torque @2000 rpm. I love those International ratings, with the tenths listed. No Big Three maker would do that. But where’s the net ratings? Even Ford listed those back then.

Optional was a 193.1 hp 304 CI V8, as well as the 345 V8, hp unspecified.

It seems rather incongruent that International—that hard core truck maker—would build the lowest pickup. But when those International engineers set their mind to such a lofty goal, they really went for it.


Related content:

In addition to the lowest conventional pickups, International also made the shortest ones, the Compact C900, with a 2.5 L four. More details here.

International also pioneered the standard production crew cab, dubbed “Travelette”.

Undoubtedly the 4WD version was a bit taller. Maybe an extra 4″ or so, from the looks of it.