Curbside Classic: 1963-1969 IH International CO Loadstar – The Only Truck Cab To Get Widened Twice?


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