A modern design didn’t save the 1969-1975 International Pickups from plummeting sales – Pat Foster @Hemmings

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For 1969, there was big news in America’s truck market: the announcement by the International Harvester Company of a completely redesigned lineup of light-duty trucks, its first all-new pickups since 1957.

The new trucks were very attractive. Called the “D” series, its styling was clean, contemporary, and ruggedly handsome. Bodywork was straight and uncluttered, completely abandoning the bulbous styling of previous models. Roofs and hoods were flatter and fenders crisper, providing a family resemblance to the smaller Scout line, and body sculpting was much more subtle. A rectangular grille with a similarly shaped “International” nameplate floating inside was clean and simple, and encompassed the single headlamps. Larger window areas lent a bright, airy feel to the cabin. Taken as a whole, the new trucks had a look of modern, clean efficiency. International dubbed it the “Now” look, and it was the work of International Harvester styling director Ted Ornas and his small staff of designers

The D series being all-new inside and out meant the company could now integrate the optional air conditioning system into the instrument panel for a much neater look, while also substantially upgrading interior trim. Seats were more comfortable and instrument panels more car-like. Management belatedly realized that the light-truck market had evolved over the previous few years and the average light-truck buyer wasn’t necessarily a commercial user; he or she often was an ordinary suburbanite using a truck as a second, or even first, car. These buyers wanted a more car-like interior along with the comforts and conveniences they enjoyed in their personal vehicles. Automatic transmissions, power steering, power brakes, and AM/FM radios had become the rule rather than the exception. Even commercial buyers were looking for more comfort features, since they often spent their entire day in their trucks.

Chassis frames in 115-, 119-, 131-, 149-, and 164-inch wheelbases were all new, with improved shock absorbers and suspensions, and modern cross-flow radiators to allow a lower hood line. The popular Bonus Load bodies (i.e., straight side versus fender side) featured double-wall construction to keep shifting-cargo dings from showing on the outside. In addition to the regular two-door cabs, a Travelette four-door pickup was offered, as it had been since 1961. Available in 149- and 164-inch wheelbases, it was sort of like a Travelall with a pickup bed.

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Categories: 1960, 1970's, Hemmings, International, Scout

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