There’s a shrinking but still substantial pool of vehicle we haven’t covered yet, like this one. Back in 2012 I found a fine Travelall 4×4 of the previous generation and wrote it up. And now this has shown up a few blocks away; how convenient. And a tough customer it is, a 3/4 ton 1210, with four wheel drive. This is as rugged and gnarly as these got, which is saying something.
The Travelall was of course one of the three seminal SUV/truck wagons, along with the Jeep Wagoneer and the Chevrolet Suburban. Size-wise, the Travelall slots in between the other two, somewhat closer to the Suburban. The new—and final—generation of International pickups and Travelalls arrived for the 1969 model year, and lasted through 1975, felled by the energy crisis. It doesn’t take much imagination to guess what kind of fuel mileage this beast gets.
I’m guessing at this one’s model year, as it could also be a 1973, and I’m not enough of a cornbinder anorak to know if there’s a visible difference between the two.
What we do know is that it’s a 1210, which is the highest weight rating on these, and that it’s got a V8, not surprisingly. The question is which one. There were International V8s in 304, 345 and 392 cubic inch versions on tap, and in ’73 and ’74, there was also the AMC 401 cubic inch V8 available—dubbed the V-400—as International was not able to meet the demand for V8 engines across its broad line of trucks. That V8 engine shortage quickly turned into a glut as the energy crisis unfolded late in 1973.
We also know that it’s got an automatic, by Borg Warner. And there’s the transfer case shifter on the floor. The middle seat folded down to make a mighty big armrest. The dashboard is an unfortunate let down from the S-W gauge versions of its predecessor.
Rear seat accommodations back then in these utility wagons weren’t exactly luxurious, regardless of the fabric used.
The view from the rear window enhances the feeling of spartan utility. The new generation of Suburban that arrived in 1973 changed that equation forever. This was old school by 1975.
It’s sporting a bit of rust over its very rugged full-floating rear axle. Must not be a native Oregonian.
And it’s got that International-exclusive fuel filler down low on the front fender, to feed the optional second tank that sat in the frame in the passenger side. Given their prodigious thirst, an auxiliary tank was a good thing to have.
There’s a nice flush of hood patina. I need to go back and knock on their door and ask what’s under the hood. I hate not knowing. If it’s the AMC 401, I would like to document that.
Has there ever been a boxier SUV? Or a gnarlier one?
Oh, but I do love a good Travelall. I got to experience the “luxury version” owned by a friend’s family – a 71 with woodgrain outside and brocade cloth seats on the inside. It still had that same kind of metallic echo inside that you got with Ford and Chevy pickups of that period when you slammed the door. The luxury was all the stretch-out room in the back seat.
I always figured that these had a few good years left in them, and if International could have weathered 1975 sales would have come back in 1976-78 as happened with all of the big gas guzzlers of the time. Of course then 1980 would have come and that would have been the ball game.
I am sure that ScoutDude will be along to give us the lowdown on the 72 vs 73 thing. The ones with the woodgrain trim were easy to distinguish as the 72 trim was on the lower half of the body while 73 went with woodgrain over most of the sides. On these more utilitarian versions, I am at a loss.
You are correct that the wood grain treatment is the only quick and easy way to distinguish a 72 and 73. I think IH did change up the color availability but unless it is one of the colors that wasn’t carried over that doesn’t do much good.
Had IH continued on they would have had the ability to drop in a diesel for the energy crisis round 2. The 74 got an all new frame designed to accept the new MV engine family, which was supposed to alleviate the engine supply problem. Unfortunately it didn’t make it to market in time for the 74’s so it is just a foot note in the FSM where the engine wiring diagram for the MV 404 and MV 446 have a note added that they were not available.
However the MV and 6.9 are almost a direct interchange using the same external block dimensions, bellhousing and engine mount bosses. So once the 6.9 was available it would have been a more or less drop in solution.
Hopefully my other comment is rescued.
I did remember the one other “if equipped” clue to the 72/73 thing and that is if the truck has the bucket seat and console option. The 72 and earlier have the unadorned console/armrest while the 73 and later have “Not a Seat” embossed in them.
Of course since this one is out of another truck based on the fact that it doesn’t match the color of the rest of the interior it is useless in determining this one’s model year.
I just saw a Willys Station Wagon at a “living” estate sale last weekend – that might be the only boxier SUV. This looks like a great Travelall, but I wonder what happened to the left front fender. It looks like it’s angled up a bit, but there’s no obvious damage to the sheetmetal.
I’ve heard that Internationals rust fairly badly in the cowl area, but I’ve never worked on one personally. Anyone know if that’s true? I only ask because it looks like there’s some pretty decent rust near the base of the driver’s A-pillar on an otherwise pretty solid truck. Never a bad idea to keep mental notes – just in case I ever find myself shopping in the future.
I wonder what happened to the left front fender. It looks like it’s angled up a bit, but there’s no obvious damage to the sheetmetal.
Nothing, actually. The truck has a slight nose-up attitude. Hold up a straight edge across the truck’s beltline; it’s perfectly straight from stem to stern.
Yes that rust on the corner of the windshield pillar is not uncommon.
Yes the cowl area is a big problem on these and their pickup brethren. It is similar to the problem seen in early Mustangs and requires major surgery to properly correct. So yeah look up under the dash on the passenger side as that is where it is easily seen, often as light coming through.
This is what I initially thought the Suburban I found a while back was. The IH seems more useful with the extra rear side door.
That’s a nice Travelall although I prefer the earlier (I think) gauge panel with the five round ones that IH used to use. The fold down armrest (center backrest) looks comfy to lounge on while driving too.
One of these was my dream car in my early teens in the late 80’s. There was a country store close to where I lived that had a beached whale in the back, red with Di-Noc, and an odd granny panty maroon fabric interior.
For some reason it seemed perfect to my eyes, rust holes and all. I watched it slowly dissolve for the next decade and a half or so, noting when I would visit my parents that “yep it is still there.” There was a slight pang when I noticed it had finally departed.
I looked at purchasing a Travelall several times over the years, and rust ended the inspection each time. Some of this was due to only being interested in 4×4 and living in salt country at the time, but they did seem to corrode extravagantly.
The cowls, and windshield frames do rust in strange ways. A ’75 truck that I purchased in western Oregon was completely, and oddly, rust free, except for a very small spot on the cowl. The paint was perfect, there was just this pencil size eraser blister that had not broken the paint.
I think IH left bare steel bodies exposed to the elements and then painted over rust.
Wow….what a beauty. Rare survivor.
Reminds me of this one I saw a couple of years ago while driving up the CA central coast area.
Hmmm ??? 🤔
Not sure why my pic isn’t showing up for you guys?
Oh well 🤷
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Thank you Paul 👍
My very first car was a 1973 Scout 4X4 with the 304 V-8. It was so rusty the rear fenders were flapping around. Dirt roads caused dust storms inside.
I never measured fuel consumption because it was so awful. Looking back it couldn’t have been more than 10 MPG, and them’s the big Imperial gallons.
The 304 was Strong Like Bull. It was overbuilt in every way. In a vehicle as small as the Scout it must have lasted forever.
Because my Scout was such a beater, I had no problem taking it on very rough, overgrown roads, where parlour trucks dared not go. I literally took it through bush and small trees. The metal on the front was so thick it didn’t even dent it.
I didn’t keep it long. Fuel was $0.35 a litre and I was a high school student making $6.00 per hour in part time time job. This is $20 in todays money and my average paycheque was $200, or $654. I was a well off teenager. I made more than enough to feed its habit but I was infected with my dad’s obsession with gasoline prices.
I paid $100 for it from a family friend and then it needed a $400 exhaust system. I had it about a year when an IH fanatic bought it off of me for $1000.
Really, I should have kept it but dad’s Corolla was available and I bought it for the same $1000. That’s $3270 in today’s money. Dad ripped me off.
Looks similar to the one Walter Matthau drove in the movie “Grumpy Old Men”.
To the best of my knowledge the 401 only found its way into the 1/2 tons and maybe only the IFS 1010s in the 1973 model year.
The transmission would be the Chrysler 727 starting with the 1972 model year.
The thing between the bucket seats is not a 3rd seat, it is a storage console and armrest. There were no seat belts installed for that position and the owner’s manual makes note that is not for passengers. The 1973 and later versions actually have “not a seat” embossed in it. It wouldn’t be too comfortable as it is a very thin pad over the metal lid for the storage compartment.
The fender fill for the gas tank is quite an interesting thing. Selection of the tank is done by a push pull cable while rotating the knob allows you to switch the gauge reading. For pickups the standard tank was on the passenger side filling through the B pillar to the underfloor location. The aux tank was located on the driver’s side again under floor but with the fender fill location. For the Traveall the main tank was the one inside the driver’s side quarter panel with the passenger side fender filled one pictured here as the Aux tank.
It always annoyed me that they didn’t use the pickup Aux tank location as nothing is more annoying that having your fill points at opposite corners of the truck. I don’t know if it is because they wanted to balance the weight or so they could use the same “prograph” for the fuel selector that had L & R. Once they got to a certain point the valve stopped sealing well and because of the height difference the rear tank will drain into the front tank, making it self filling. Unfortunately filling both will result and letting it sit will result in fuel coming out the front filler.
IH must have had at least a dozen different part numbers for the 69-73 full size trucks. For the passenger side fender fill vs pillar fill, a couple of different capacities and EVAP and non EVAP equipped. I believe the changes to the frame for 74 resulted in their under floor tanks being slightly different.
Every time I see one of these, I’m reminded of “Dog Day Afternoon”.
And when I was a little kid, just a few years into my reading skills, when I saw these with block-letter model callouts I thought they were called Travela II (“Travela 2”). Can’t really blame myself, with all those Mustang IIs and Chevy IIs and Fury IIs and Bronco IIs and suchlike in traffic.
How did these compare in size to the 67-72 generation of Suburban? To my eyes, they look awfully close, with the Travelall maybe being slightly narrower. Definitely smaller looking than the 73+ generation. I don’t have ready access to my library of auto books to find a quick answer.
The ’67-’72 was only a couple of inches shorter than the ’73+ version. It had a 127″ wb and was 215″ long compared to the Travelall’s 119″ wb and 204″ long.
Had the Travelall and the rest of the IH light truck line continued past 1975, they would have been available with the MV series V-8’s. The MV’s were International’s answer to the Chevy 454, Ford 460 and Dodge 440, a more modern and larger V-8 than the V series 266-304-345-392. Despite their large physical size and weight the S series were really ‘small block’ engines and 392 was their practical displacement limit. The MV was primarily designed for the light truck line and when the light line was dropped the MV was ready for production, so it was instead used in the Loadstar and Cargostar medium duty trucks. As diesel engines were rapidly gaining in popularity in medium duty trucks during the late 70’s the MV gasoline V-8’s were never very popular. Also during this time International’s financial situation was rapidly deteriorating, so in order to recoup their substantial investment in the MV engine IH decided to develop it into a diesel using as much of the existing tooling as possible. The resulting 6.9L IDI diesel was a great success and was adopted by Ford for the F series, and contributed to International’s financial recovery.
One footnote to the story of the International MV engine: When Chrysler discontinued the B/RB 400 and 440 V-8’s, they planned to replace those engines in the Ram pickup and motorhome chassis with the MV 446. A small number of Dodge class A motorhome chassis were build in late 1980 with MV446’s, but the engine never made it into the pickups before the decision was made to convert the engine into a diesel. I did see one motorhome on a Dodge chassis with a MV446 back in the mid-80’s.