Rare Rides: The International Harvester Scout, Not a Jeep (Part II)
Yesterday’s edition of Rare Rides covered the first-generation International Harvester Scout. Born in 1960 at the very beginning of the recreational sport utility vehicle class, a decade later it was time for the always difficult second album: Scout II.
By the end of the Sixties, the Scout faced much more competition than the Jeep CJ: Ford introduced the Bronco in 1965, and Chevrolet brought along the K5 Blazer in 1969. The 11-year-old original Scout IH wrapped up its 800B series in March 1971, and in April the aptly named Scout II went into production.
International knew another Scout was needed some years before, and the no-nonsense Scout II styling was finalized and shown to management at the end of 1967. Not a huge departure from the original Scout, II was identified by its new three-bar horizontal grille design (in place of the Scout’s mesh) and more pronounced square trim bezels surrounding the headlamps. Those statements apply only to 1971 and 1972, as International almost immediately began fiddling with bezels, grilles, and badges to keep the product looking as fresh as possible.
Scout II was built at the same Fort Wayne, Indiana factory as the first Scout, and much like its elder sibling was available with various roof solutions. Most SUV-like was the Travel-Top, the full metal “wagon” roof treatment. But there was also a Cab-Top (the pickup truck version), and Panel-Top, a Travel-Top sans side windows. The least popular version for obvious reasons was the Roadster, which had no roof.
Engines in the Scout II were upsized a bit over the elder Scout and started with the old 196 cubic inch inline-four from International. Up-level options included 232 and 259 cubic inch inline-six engines from AMC, 304 and 345 International V8s, and two inline-six diesels from Nissan: A 198 cubic inch SD33 engine, with or without turbocharging. The turbodiesel Nissan was the rarest engine option of them all and was only used in 1979 and 1980.
Later in the II’s run, International introduced the Terra and Traveler versions that used fiberglass roofs. The Terra was a Cab-Top, and the Traveler had a full Travel-Top with that most modern of SUV ideas, a rear liftgate. These two models were additionally notable as they sported an 18-inch wheelbase extension, added right in the middle.
Among the other special trims and editions on the Scout II (even Midas got in on it), two companies – CVI of Fort Wayne and Goodtimes Inc. of Arlington – created several special appearance trims in 1979 and 1980. These special editions were the last of the Scout II, as International suffered major financial and competitive setbacks throughout the Seventies and were forced to shut down their light-duty truck line entirely in 1980.
All CVI/Goodtimes trucks wore special stickers and trim, had coolers in the center console, and wore various tailgates, fender flares, and special paint colors. CVI produced 14 different Scout II special editions, and among them was the oddly named Midnitestar. A brown and gold-themed special edition (sometimes blue and gold), Midnitestar wore gold trim, stickers, and wheels on a basic dark brown body. It had a unique six-bar tailgate design and sported big louvers along rear side windows. Inside, the trim was suitably gold-themed. It was all very 1979.
Today’s Rare Ride is one such Midnitestar, powered by the 345 IH V8. It has an automatic transmission and four-wheel drive, and has been previously restored and sold on BaT in 2018, then sold again in 2019. Now it’s for sale in New York for $41,995.
[Images: International Harvester, Midas]
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