A few years ago I was feeling secure enough in my job and doing the usual dreaming about road trip adventures that I decided it was time to start looking for an adventure-mobile. I was leaning towards a big SUV of some sort with four wheel drive. My main criteria were that it should be able to go anywhere, that my girlfriend and I could sleep in it as necessary, and that I didn’t want to spend a ton of money. Of course, I harbored fantasies of buying some classic hulk: an old Suburban or Wagoneer or maybe even something like this 1965 International Travelall. I am, after all, a classic car nut. Why else would I frequent this site?
The funny thing is that these Travelalls weren’t marketed as adventure-mobiles, just a big station wagon for you, your wife, and your seven chubby children. At least, that’s what “husky” meant whenever my mom took me shopping for clothes as a kid. On the other hand, I guess getting stuck in the mud is always an adventure.
No mud to be found anywhere on this one, and given the absolute lack of rust, it probably didn’t spend much time getting muddy anytime in its life either. That’s not to say the owner doesn’t take this one on adventures. Though you can’t really see it well in the picture above, that little white square in the lower corner of the windshield is a 7-day parking pass to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park near Santa Cruz, CA–lots of great hikes there.
As no International expert, this front view is what leads me to believe this is a 65. This body style was made from 1961-68 with detail differences from year to year, grille changes being one of the more readily apparent. The 65 and 66 Travelalls shared similar grilles, but as best as I can tell the 65 has the vertical slats broken only by the International lettering in the middle, while the 66 has similar vertical slats but also a full-width horizontal piece through the middle. Of course, we have no idea what bits and pieces have been changed over the years. Travelallistas, educate us.
There’s the patina we live for here!
I started this post talking about buying a road trip adventure-mobile, with fantasies of cruising the country in the glorious confines of some old metal. But, ah!, it really is just a fantasy. I’m on record as saying that modern cars just lack much of the style and panache of the old ones, but these old SUVs really are quite spartan. There’s a respectable simplicity inside, but style? Eh, not so much. Not even a radio here and a great big metal dash to bash your brains out on. I’m not that old, but something tells me that logging 16 hour days at the wheel of this would leave me far less ready to enjoy my backwoods camp than anything made in the last 20 or 30 years.
The back seat is suitably spacious though. The kids can be pretty husky it turns out.
Uh oh, this one didn’t fully escape the tin worm. Classic California though: they rust top down and anywhere water collects after a wet winter. The chrome strip along the belt line leads me to suspect this one was originally two-toned there, instead of just the roof getting a separate shade.
Either way, it’s been a long time since this truck (station wagon?) was repainted. It takes a while to get that gasoline filler patina.
So did I buy a classic Suburban or Wagoneer or even a Travelall? No. My practicality, limited though it may be, won this round of dreaming. I did buy a truck, but instead of a 50 year old heap of rust and problems, I spent my three grand on a 15 year old heap of no rust and fewer problems. And I’m glad I did. I have serious doubts I would or could have put 40,000 miles of adventure over the last couple of years on something that old. Dodging potholes on the Dalton Highway is a lot harder when you don’t make it there to begin with. But even in my newer truck, I’m living out the dream of this old International anyway by Travel(ing) All over the place.
I’ve ridden in one or two of these, though not for decades. They seemed, well, not fancy, but roomy and solid in a way that represented a form of quality and luxury before power-everything and other gadgets were the norm.
As for the year, I’m not an IH expert, but I’m pretty sure the yellow on black plates, which had to replace black on yellow on all cars in California, not just for new cars, appeared in mid-1964. My parents’ car which was registered in mid-September, had plates starting with M, and my own 1965 model year car (which I bought in 1975) had plates starting with N, and two friends’ 1969 510’s both had plates starting with Z. So if the distribution of plates was fairly even across the state, I’d guess that this is in fact a 1964 model year Travelall. The front license frame is from Commercial Truck in Salinas, which I learned is the IH dealer there, starting in 1950, and still exists owned by the founding family, as the local heavy duty IH franchise.
From elsewhere on the interwebs: “…generally plates beginning with the following letters correspond to the year of issue: ABCD = 1963, EFGHI = 1964, JKLMN = 1965, OPQRS = 1966, TUVW = 1967, WXYZ = 1968-69”.
Yeah, I’d noticed the low number black plate which seemed odd for a 65 model year truck. Entirely likely that it’s an earlier one that’s had later pieces grafted on. Perhaps after an accident?
When ever I see a picture of a Travelall I’m reminded of American tourists towing an Airstream. Its an image I remember as a kid travelling in the US or seeing the combination in the Rocky Mountains. The Travelall would usually be well optioned, hardly like the example above.
I’m not sure IH had many buyers for the Travelall here in Canada as GM didn’t sell many Suburbans until the mid-seventies. They just weren’t a thing for families. Those Travelalls I saw were work trucks for contractors.
Nice catch! These were popular in Iowa City with the university crowd that had moved out into the country. Perfect for hauling kids and horses in their trailers, and whatever else needed to be done. They are surprisingly low to the ground, as long as it’s the 2WD version. That’s what folks wanted then; not to be way up in the air.
I’m glad you’ve been able to scratch your traveling itch.
2wd 1/2 ton Travelalls had two different ride heights. This 1000 series with its torsion bar IFS rides significantly lower than the 1100 series which is also a 1/2 ton. The 1100 trucks had good old leafs and an I-beam on the 2wd trucks the 4wd trucks were of course even taller.
This is wearing an “A-series” grille. In this era IH did not follow the annual model year changes like rest of the US automakers. Not unlike the Australian practice of a two letter designation denoting the model IH changed the single model letter.
The change between model designations could happen any time of the year. The 60’s A-series was built between Jan 1965 and Mar 1966, while its successor the B-series was only built from Apr 1966 until Dec 1966.
Of course after so many years the grille may have been replaced and the correct model year may not have been available. My 72 Scout came to me with a 75 Grille along with missmatched paint on the LF fender.
As far as being comfortable, this one being a 1000 series has the torsion bar IFS which does give a very smooth ride and good handling for a big station wagon. Of course there is a lot more to a comfortable road trip vehicle than ride.
Hello…I have a 1964 International C900 pickup for sale…in Banning Ca .92220…4 cyl.!! Short bed stepside…3 speed stick on floor..will take $4,500.00…
760-609-6458..please call…for pics.
“Not even a radio here and a great big metal dash to bash your brains out on. I’m not that old, but something tells me that logging 16 hour days at the wheel of this would leave me far less ready to enjoy my backwoods camp than anything made in the last 20 or 30 years.”
Ah, but if you had made the trip to California, back during the Great Depression, in a clapped out overloaded car like the Joad’s 26 Hudson or the one below. It is always a matter of perspective.
Of course, you’d have probably been lucky to cover 500 miles in your 16 hours back then, so anything short of walking probably seemed like an improvement. On the other hand, being cooped up with the whole extended family like that probably made even walking seem like a more attractive option.
This should be a fun, memorable adventure. Two factors that will make it that are shockingly poor gas mileage and enough rattles and road noise to leave you temporarily deaf for a while after you drive a distance in it. When you say, basic, IH Travelalls are that and the IH V8 was definitely not designed with gas mileage as a consideration.
There were some who called them “Rattlealls”.
I think that the idea of using an SUV as a small camper is a great idea. I tried lying down in the back of my ’96 Explorer after folding down the second row of seats. I ended up with a little over six feet of space and since I’m 5’10 I actually had enough room. There would have been more room in my old minivan. Besides safety and comfort those old trucks got really terrible fuel economy. You could end up with a neat old truck that you can’t afford to drive anywhere.
I bought a GMC Yukon XL (i.e. a Suburban), and it’s been a great road trip vehicle. With the third row removed and the second row folded, you have 8 feet of flat, and more importantly level, space from the tailgate to the front seats. But then I can put it all back up and use it like a regular car as needed, instead of a more dedicated vehicle like a camper van.
Not to nitpick, but that is not the original steering wheel. Internationals of that era had the wheel with the four long spokes. Just an observation.
Besides the steering wheel, I’m wondering if the steering column itself is from some other later model. That transmission quadrant doesn’t look right and it looks like a 4-way flasher switch is located on the column below the quadrant. Definitely not period equipment. If the entire column has been changed, I’m wondering if the drive train may have been modernized as well. Need a cornbinder expert’s opinion on the observations.
The steering wheel and column are from a later International light truck.
Yes that is from 69-73 truck. I’d bet it was swapped in as part of a power steering conversion using the later steering box.
Good catch! I don’t know enough about Internationals to catch these types of details. That’s why this place is so great, so I don’t have to.
What a find! Looks like an automatic transmission, but I’m having no luck on the web finding out what kind it was. My ignorant guess would be something by Borg-Warner, but what model? How many speeds? And for the matter of that, what sort of engine do we suppose this Travelall has? Hagerty suggests a 266-cube V8, which sounds pretty small to me. Scoutdude, gotchyer ears on?
Borg Warner. 3 speed; All the B/W automatics had 3 speeds.
Engines: 241 six; 266 V8. Plenty of power, for the times. These really weren’t all that big. Possibly the 304 V8 was already available too.
Just curious about where the fuel tank is on these, it looks like the fuel filler is on the front fender,? never seen that before..
That front fender fill is for the main tank, a side saddle unit under the passenger side. Regular cab pickups have the tank in the same place but the filler is in the rear passenger side cab corner. The Travelette (crew cab) shares the Travelall’s fender fill for the main tank.
If you get the auxilary tank the filler is in the driver’s side fender for both pickup cabs with a side saddle under cab tank. On the Travelall the aux tank is in the driver’s side rear quarter.
Thank you for that info.
I do love a Travelall, though I would prefer the series that followed these.
My best friend’s family had a Travelall when we first met. The downside was that without a 3rd row of seats, it was just a bigger Country Squire, which left me sitting in the middle of the front seat when I accompanied his family of 5 on a weekend trip. The Dodge Sportsman van that followed it was an upgrade for usefulness.
But I did love that Travelall. It was a big, no-nonsense bruiser of a wagon, even if it did have a bit of fake wood on the outside. Theirs was very nicely equipped with air conditioning, even.
Agreed. There’s just something awkward proportionally with this generation. The next one just works better stylistically.
I LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT A 1962 120/130 INTERNATIONAL TRAVELITE. I JUST GOT ONE AND LIKE TO FIND OUT WHAT I CAN ABOUT IT. I WANT TO START RESTORATION ON IT .OVER TIME.
I DID LIKE THE INFO ON THE FUEL TANKS. THAT WAS GOOD TO KNOW.
Don’t drill holes in passenger side floor with fuel tank in place.
Binderplanet.com is where to go, the premier site for IH enthusiasts.
The family I mentioned in the Chevy Sportvan thread a few days ago had one of these. While it was 2wd, it took them all the way to Guatamala (and back). I recall it had the 304ci V-8 and automatic.