More than three decades have passed since International Harvester was broken apart and sold, but the once-great American manufacturer refuses to fade away. The company’s black and red, “man on a tractor” IH logo and signature bright red Farmall paint live on today aboard Case IH agricultural equipment. International heavy trucks live on as well under parent company Navistar, and the company’s Integrated Coach school buses can trace their lineage back to International.
International light trucks have not fared quite as well, however. The pickups were phased out in 1975 as IH struggled to maintain its core businesses. The rugged Scout utility reached the end of the trail in 1980 as IH was in its death throes. Fortunately, scores of those vehicles are kept alive today by legions of International enthusiasts who recognize a classic design when they see one.
One of those people is Jim Martin, owner, rescuer, and proud caretaker of this feature truck, a 1950 International L-110. The truck was sitting idle in Redlands, California, back in 2006 when Jim’s stepson spotted it.
“He called me and asked if I would be interested in rebuilding a truck,” Jim says. “I had just finished my 1956 Chevrolet, but he kept telling me that I really needed to come and see this special truck
.”With his son along for the ride, Jim went to check out the old pickup that had so captivated his stepson. What he found was a complete vehicle that needed attention.
“The owner said it ran about five years earlier, but his dad had cut all the wires in it, and he hadn’t tried to start it since,” Jim says.
With a fresh six-volt battery and a few squirts of starting fluid, the International’s inline-six came to life and a deal was struck.
“I asked him the price and he replied, ‘I’ll sell it to you for $2,500, but you can’t part it out.’
“Jim agreed to the terms and promised he’d put the International back to good-as-new condition.”At this point, I had a new project!” Jim says.