I’ve been sitting on these pictures of this International CO Loadstar for a few years now, wondering just what the right angle to it’s story was. I’ve finally found it, thanks to a recent CC. This truck cab was widened no less than two times from this original version. Is it a reflection of the growing waistlines of its drivers?
International, the biggest truck maker in the US for decades, offered compact cab-over-engine (COE) models going back to 1937. They were of course popular with urban delivery-type service, where their short wheelbase and overall length made them significantly more maneuverable than their conventional stable-mates. This basic model was around until the early 50s.
In 1954, it was replaced by this newer model, the CO/VCO/DCO Series, now with tilting cabs. This cab was spawned a number of other International heavy duty trucks, but that’s a bit our of our scope today. But these were very common, especially so as garbage trucks, for obvious reasons.
But I will briefly note that this long-lived International cab was not their design, but Diamond T’s, first shown in 1953.
In 1964, the CO series was replaced by the new CO Loadstar. Why International made it decidedly narrower that its predecessor is a question whose answer is undoubtedly lost in the lists of time. Curiously, or perhaps to try to convince buyers that it wasn’t too narrow, this brochure rendering shows three men happily squeezed into it.
The CO Loadstar came in three series, and with a variety of powerplants, including the elderly R-series straight six gas engine, the new V345 (345 CID gas V8), and the larger V549 (%49 CID gas V8), as well as International’s DV550 diesel and the Detroit Diesel 6V53.
My original headline was going to be “The Shortest Wheelbase Dump Truck Ever”. And it might well be true. But then this truck clearly didn’t start life as a dump truck; it’s a short wheelbase tractor that had a dump bed added later in life. I was attracted to it for that reason, as a number of my houses are alley-access only, and this would have been handy a number of times. Still might be today, actually. I suspect its ride is none too wonderful, though. But then what does one expect?
There’s no doubt that International missed the mark with the CO Loadstar, in terms of its width. Which undoubtedly explains why Ford’s C Series soon became the biggest seller in this field. So in 1970 it was replaced by the wider Cargostar, easily identified by the smaller front fender protrusions. Where’s the other two guys?
Look closely; the seams where the cab was widened are quite apparent!
In 1974, the Cargostar was treated to a facelift. I’m not quite sure when the last ones rolled off the lines; sometime in mid 1980s, I assume.
But apparently even that Cargostar stretch was not wide enough, for one reason or another. So sometime in the mid 70s or so, the International COF 5370 arrived, like this one from that jet tanker CC the other day. And this time, it didn’t even rate a new one-piece windhshield. Since these trucks sit a bit higher (and wider), I’m guessing they were used primarily in heavier-duty applications, and didn’t really replace the Cargostar, but supplanted it.
This ad for it rather confirms it; it’s technically a heavy-duty truck, not a medium duty. But why that called for a wider cab is a good question. Bigger engines, meaning a bigger dog house between the seats? That seems like the most likely guess.
Back to our little shorty dump truck. When I shot it another time, it looked like this little tiny trailer was actually hooked up to it. Cute!
1982 International COF 5370 Aircraft Fueler Ed Hodges
The Almost Immortal Ford’s C Series Ian Williams
Widening it would improve driver comfort leaving more room between any doghouse and door regular mirrors could be used for rearward vision (far more important than car drivers realise), and apart from any practical considerations just the looks of it are improved and who wants their company name plastered all over a dorky looking truck.
Having spent much time in older commercial trucks, I will say that driver comfort was not a consideration during the design phase on most of them, unless they catered toward the owner/operator. Thankfully that has changed somewhat in the last 25 years or so.
From circa the mid-sixties to the mid-eighties, that’s the era in which driver comfort rapidly and vastly improved. That’s how I remember it.
Bigger cabs, soundproofing, heating and ventilation, suspension (seat- and cab suspension included), adjustable steering wheels, synchromesh transmissions, ergonomics in general, the quality of the bed (not the cargo bed), engine power.
All of these items improved immensely or were introduced during that time frame.
I’m loving these COE Internationals and their beautiful illustrations in the period literature.
It’s been a fun day of Internationals here, and I’m learning a lot (even though some of it is a result of a mistake or two on my part!).
Put me down as preferring the “double-wide” version.
Although the original cab looks cool when used on a car hauler.
In the sixties the CO Loadstar was also built in Heidelberg, Germany. Later the IHC truck production continued in the UK. The engine was either a Perkins D354 or an IHC D358, the transmission was a synchromesh ZF 5-speed.
Below an advantage of the Loadstar’s narrow cab.
( source: http://www.ihace.de/50_heidelberg/05_historie/h_historie.htm )
In the US they offered a version of the conventional Loadstar with a center mounted 1 man cab. It was sold as a steel hauler which I’m assuming the one you pictured was too. For the driver to get in and out once the truck was loaded there was a hatch in the roof. Presumably this was done to balance the load better than the offset 2 man or 1 man cabs.
Yes, it’s a steel hauler alright. That’s the first time I see a “center-mounted one-man cab” like that, thanks.
I remember seeing a couple of these steel haulers. “Pinhead” came to mind.
Keep your eyes open, for a few years one of these cabs showed up on a K20 chassis at the Binder Bee and it was running OR plates.
Now that’s a new one to me. The driver actually exited via the roof when the truck was loaded? Sounds more like an April Fool’s than an actual fact!
I too am loving our impromptu International Day. Funny how International Day features a bunch of vehicles made in the U.S.
International bigger trucks always seemed to come in a dizzying number of models and variations, and I have never done very well at keeping them straight.
Never mind. I am happy to be a member of BinderFinders for today.
The picture of the early cab over trucks shows a very unusual feature that they had. As you can see the door on the driver’s side has conventional front hinges while the passenger side is a suicide door with rear hinges. I’ve never seen an explanation of why they did it that way. It certainly isn’t because the doors are symmetric.
As far as the CO Loadstar cab I’m pretty sure that it was made by Chicago Manufacturing Company. The built the Comfo Vision Cab that was used on REO and Diamond T trucks as well as many Internationals including the L, R and S. Note some say that IH designed the Comfo Vision Cab and just had CMC build it while others maintain that CMC designed it. IH did get patents for the mounting system of the Comfo Vision Cab as used on their trucks. So it is certainly up for debate who did all or parts of the design of the cab as used on the early CO Loadstar.
How odd about the doors.I’m trying to imagine the rationale for that, but so far, no luck.
Possibly so a passenger could lean out the door and have an unobstructed view forward to help with driving in tight spaces? That’s just a guess, though.
The one thing that came to my mind is that when trucks were all lined up at the docks you could open doors on adjacent trucks at the same time.
Of course I’m not sure why that would be so important. For one I would think most times they would go out with only the driver and is there such a rush that you couldn’t wait a few seconds for the other guy to get out of his truck.
The other remote benefit that I could think of is that the driver could access the other side from walking around the front of the truck a little easier. Again not something that strikes me as a big benefit. Those trucks are narrow enough that you should be able to get anything out of the cab from the driver’s seat and walking a few more feet to open a conventional door does not represent a significant amount of time or effort.
Since these cabs did not tilt forward, I would think that access to the engine and other mechanicals might need to be gained though the cab. Having the rear hinged door on that side would make it much easier to work on.
I’m 53 and have always lived in a decent sized metro area (in Ohio no less) and have never seen a COF 5370. Didn’t even know these existed! Ugly fuggers LOL! Damn things have a Russian look to them!
These CO Loadstars bring back fond memories for me. In 1973, when I was 20, I spent the summer working for my hometown on in the street maintenance division. I was assigned to work on the “patch” truck, 3 of us fit comfortably in the 1967 CO Loadstar since we were all reasonably thin (heck, I was so thin then a good breeze would carry me away). The next summer, I worked on the paving crew, and regularly used an almost new 1973 CO Loadstar (1710?) bobtail dump to haul asphalt. I loved driving that truck.
Maybe Scoutdude can correct me on this, but I think the 1967 was rather unique in that it had a 4 speed manual column shifter, presumably to help accommodate 3 adults in the cab.
Prior to obtaining the 2 1973 CO Loadstars, my employer had 2 1964 CO bobtails which I never drove, but on one occasion I rode in one to the hot plant. Conversation was impossible while we were on the freeway because the engine roaring between us was so LOUD. 20 years after these 2 went to auction, I saw one parked up in Richmond, still had “our” number on the door.
I enjoy these International posts, I drove so many of them back then.
In doing a bit of research, I came across reference to column shift too. I wish I’d looked in the window of that one I shot. Apparently the early ones at least have it.
I’m not that well versed in the older big trucks to know all the in cab and power train details.
I can see a column shiftier possibly being a little easier to engineer to tilt with the cab by centering it around the steering column pivot. I can also see that being a long and tortuous path for the shifting linkage that could be difficult to maintain good operation.
One reason why the COF-5370 cab was so much wider was because those trucks had a very large doghouse for larger diesel engines, like the Cummins N series or Detroit 71. They also had a much larger radiator, as evidenced by the ‘real’ radiator grille openings in the front of the cab. The Cargostar (and the Ford C series, Chevy Tilt Cab, ect.) were ‘cab forward’ trucks. They had no doghouse, the radiator and engine was to the rear under the seat riser, which provided 3 across seating (improved when the cab was widened!). A proper grille was not necessary, just a few slots in the bumper. The ‘grille’ on those later Cargostars was just paint and moldings, only a small intake for the cab heater! The COF-5370 had single bucked seats on either side of the engine doghouse, and was only a 2-man cab. One advantage with the COF-5370 was that even with a large diesel engine, none of it protruded behind the cab. A Cargostar with a mid-range diesel like the DT-466 showed some engine past the cab.
Here is a good shot of what the interior of a CO Loadstar looked like.
I just about spit out my coffee when I saw Kleen Kole in the third picture.
A fine explanation of the genesis of these things. As I mentioned I’ve never, in my recollection, seen one of the “double wide” versions. But when I was a kid the facelift Cargostars were all over the place. There was a produce shop across from the apartments where I lived from age 3 to 10, and that shop owned two Cargostar box trucks, which may explain why I’m so well acquainted with them. I’m kind of surprised the original CO Loadstar was so narrow!
The chatter about these trucks is interesting. I own a 1963 CO-1800 Loadstar. It is a blast to drive. A 345cid V8 with a 5spd column shift and a 2spd rear axle. The zinc dipped cab helped as there is no rust on the cab at all. The shifter is on the column so that there are no holes in the floor of the cab, especially when tilting the cab. The cab tilts on loaded rubber hinges.
Just some tid bits of info.
We need a CO ownes club.
My CO is a 1969 CO-1600 w/ a Perkins 354 TD, 5sp+2ps rear end.
Brian in Atascadero CA
50’s Diamond T’s are rebadged Internationals.
The conventional uses the R series cab.