BACK­WARD GLANCES

Four Wheeler - - Contents -

Scout-hearted: 1961 Cab-top

WHEN THE IN­TER­NA­TIONAL HAR­VESTER Scout was in­tro­duced on Novem­ber 21, 1960, In­ter­na­tional was op­er­at­ing on a set of as­sump­tions that proved woe­fully in­cor­rect. The first was that the Scout was go­ing to be a mi­nor ad­den­dum to the com­pany’s light-truck line—maybe 6,00010,000 units per year. The sec­ond as­sump­tion was that peo­ple mostly wanted a pickup ver­sion of the Scout. Fi­nally, they fig­ured peo­ple only wanted bare-bones Scouts.

So, let’s talk about flawed as­sump­tions and how In­ter­na­tional came out smelling like roses any­way. Al­most im­me­di­ately, In­ter­na­tional had more Scout or­ders than they could han­dle. A sec­ond shift was added on Jan­uary 23, 1961, the first time for a sec­ond shift since the Fort Wayne plant opened in 1923. Pro­duc­tion rose to 164 units per day, a gob­s­mack­ing statis­tic for the nor­mally slow-paced com­pany, but it still took six months to work through the back­log. By May 1961, the 10,000th Scout was cel­e­brat- ed, and to­tal pro­duc­tion would rise to 28,031 for the year, more than dou­ble their best-case es­ti­mate.

The Scout was con­ceived as a pickup, which In­ter­na­tional called the Cab-top, but late in the de­sign process, a full-length top was de­vel­oped. This top stemmed from a com­ment by VP of the Mo­tor Truck Divi­sion Ralph Buz­zard. He noted that liquor-store own­ers us­ing the Scout for de­liv­er­ies might want a lock­able bed cover. A bed cover was de­vel­oped but also a

full-length top, which was the more gen­er­ally use­ful idea adopted for pro­duc­tion. The full-length top, called the Travel-top, proved ex­tremely pop­u­lar even though it didn’t make the Scout a “true” sta­tion wagon.

How do you de­fine “sta­tion wagon”? It starts with an eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble rear seat. Be­cause of a per­ma­nently in­stalled bulk­head be­tween the front and rear, and a pickup-style rear tail­gate, the cargo area wasn’t eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble by any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion. In­ter­na­tional toyed with a rear-fac­ing seat but very quickly re­al­ized the lame­ness of that idea. Yeah, the bulk­head had to go, but it took a while. It hap­pened first with an in­terim spe­cial con­ver­sion done on the as­sem­bly line (or via a dealer-in­stalled kit) start­ing in the mid­dle of the ’62 model year, and fi­nally with a re­mov­able bulk­head start­ing with the ’63s. With­out a bulk­head the rear seat could be ac­cessed from the front, and the Scout could be­come a true sta­tion wagon.

Ini­tial pro­duc­tion had a high per­cent­age of 4x2s by de­sign, but buy­ers left them sit­ting on the lot in fa­vor of 4x4s. In­ter­na­tional ad­justed pro­duc­tion very quickly, but 1961 would have the high­est per­cent­age of 4x2 Scout pro­duc­tion in its 19-year his­tory—33 per­cent. After 1961, it av­er­aged about 12 per­cent, oc­ca­sion­ally fall­ing be­low 10 per­cent, and the last year it dropped to 0 per­cent.

Al­most im­me­di­ately, deal­ers were in­un­dated with com­ments like, “If only you made Scouts with a few com­fort fea­tures.” Early on, “com­fort” con­sisted of an op­tional heater, left- and right­hand door arm­rests, and a few dealer-in­stalled good­ies like a ra­dio. A good num­ber of the com­fort re­quests re­lated to the Travel-top/fixed bulk­head combo and lack of a rear seat op­tion, and they were ad­dressed start­ing in July of 1962 with the in­terim Walk­thru con­ver­sion. Bit by bit, In­ter­na­tional added bling, and 1964 be­gan the era of the “Doll-up,” an in­ter­nal moniker for a high­level-trim Scout. Later that year the plush

<|Eric did the sheet­metal work him­self, with Crouse Body Shop in War­saw, In­di­ana, ap­ply­ing the paint. Har­vester Red was a color that ap­peared on all In­ter­na­tional Har­vester equip­ment of the era. Scout tops were all White­cap White, un­less you paid ex­tra to have it painted body color. By re­mov­ing 10 bolts, the top came off and the wind­shield folded down. The slid­ing side-win­dow as­sem­blies came off the door tops. Roll-up win­dows didn’t come un­til late ’62. The doors were re­mov­able by tak­ing out two pins per side. In 10 min­utes, you could drop 118 pounds and go top­less and doorless! The 6.00-16 non-di­rec­tional tires were the stan­dard Scout tire for many years. |>The “IH” on the tail­gate was phased out start­ing in Fe­bru­ary of 1962 and re­placed by “In­ter­na­tional” in block let­ters and “Scout” in script. IH mar­ket­ing gu­rus de­cided they wanted to main­tain a more sep­a­rate iden­tity from the agri­cul­tural di­vi­sions. The rear bumper was a sep­a­rate op­tion, though a com­mon one. You might be in­ter­ested to know the amount of filler on this body is about as much as you can hold in your hand. In­stead of weld­ing and filler, Eric in­stalled used, re­pro, and sev­eral N.O.S. pan­els and spent a lot of time with the ham­mer and the dolly.

|>The Scout 4x4 had a 5-foot bed and a 900-pound pay­load, in­clud­ing peo­ple. In Scouts with sin­gle fuel tanks, the lid on the right cov­ers a tool­box. If dual tanks were or­dered, that tool­box was elim­i­nated. In­ter­est­ingly, the first dual-tank set­ups had no switch­ing valve; the tanks were cross-con­nected with a send­ing unit only in the left tank.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.