For fans of orphan vehicles, this one is going to be tough to beat. Everyone knows International Harvester as an early manufacturer of farm equipment, and that the company eventually became the company known today as Navistar International and making large trucks. But what many folks dont realize is that International Harvester pretty much invented the vehicles we commonly call SUVs, and perhaps most specifically, the large truck-based, wagon type SUVs like todays Chevy Suburban and Ford Expedition. And if you think Chevrolet invented the big 4-door truck/wagon, guess againthe Suburban didnt have four doors until 1973.
This particular 1968 International Harvester Travelall might very well be the finest one in the world. Its hard to imagine any with lower mileage than this trucks 24,044 original miles, and there cant be many with expensive, accurate, high-quality restorations done to this level. If youre an International Harvester fan, an old truck enthusiast, or just someone who wants to drive something nobodys ever seen before, this Travelall is the hot ticket.
The color is called Bahama Blue, but this truck grew up on a ranch in dry, salt-free Colorado, and still wears 100% of its original factory sheetmetal. Make no mistake, the Travelall is big, and someone spent an awful lot of time getting that body into shape for a fresh coat of two-stage urethane paint in the original hue. These were designed to be working vehicles, and even though the notion of an SUV was ahead of its time, the execution was still rugged and aimed at the commercial market. Nevertheless, panel fit is good, and the big body can even be considered handsome with its expansive glass areas, big-rig style front end, and stylish tailgate with round tail lights. I can guarantee that the paint is far, far nicer than it was when it was new, and it looks great on the 1960s body panels.
Nice detailing helps the Travelall shed some of its commercial vehicle DNA, with things like the black strip running along the sides giving it a sense of style. Theres plenty of chrome, too, including big front and rear bumpers that have been refinished. Of course, this is a truck, and things like the big side-view mirrors and cool pod-mounted running lights atop the cab are nice reminders that this Travelall is ready to work as well as play. The glass is exceptional, and sine its highly unlikely that there are reproduction pieces available anywhere at any price, it speaks volumes about how well-maintained this truck has been since it was new. Amazing.
Moving all this vintage sheet metal is the top-of-the-line engine for International Harvester, a 345 cubic inch V8 of their own design. No, its not grossly overpowered, but thanks to correct gearing, the Travelall is a very versatile machine that can move big loads or tow a trailer with ease. The engine has been rebuilt and highly detailed, starting with the bright red paint on the block, a correct 4-barrel carburetor, and that heavy-duty air cleaner up top. The epitome of easy to work on, the hardware is simple, rugged, and dependable, and every piece is wearing a correct original finish, from the alternator to the dual circuit master cylinder. Power steering is also part of the package, as well as what is perhaps the largest radiator Ive ever seen in a passenger vehicle. The wiring harness is all-new and accurate down to the connectors used, and even a bottle of International Harvester washer fluid still hangs on the firewall. Its all very cool.
The robust chassis is definitely truck-based, and I dont think you could abuse it enough to do any damage to the thick frame. The transmission is a 3-speed automatic, which makes driving this big wagon no more difficult than a modern full-sized pickup truck. The robust front suspension is a rigid axle supported by leaf springs, so it can go places and haul things that would make other trucks go weak in the knees. It also features dual exhaust to help the engine eke out a few more horsepower, and sounds healthy. 15-inch steel wheels feature the original hubcaps and trim rings and wear handsome American Classic whitewall radials.
International Harvester positioned the Travelall as a family wagon, and inside it was certainly spacious and comfortable enough to be the vehicle of choice for family vacations. With gold-toned vinyl on the seats and door panels, its bright and airy thanks to those massive windows (which were a big selling feature in 1968). According to brochures of the time, the inside width is over five feet, and theres plenty of legroom for passengers in back. The dash is fully instrumented, and even includes an ammeter, temperature gauge, and an oil pressure gauge in addition to the speedometer and fuel gauges. Those gauges appear to be beautifully preserved or beautifully restored, with bright, crisp markings and shiny brushed stainless backgrounds. New carpets are underfoot, and a tweed type mat protects the cargo bay. In back, handsome wooden bins on either side of the cargo bay provide some secure storage, and an electric rear window is standard equipment.
Documentation includes an original International Harvester brochure, and there are a handful of spare parts including new tail and parking light lenses, and some spare keys.
This is a very cool old truck, and its easy to imagine it hauling, say, a vintage Airstream trailer. Still fully functional and just as useful and hard-working today as it was in 1968, its a fun vehicle that can easily earn its keep around the ranch. There cant be many of these left, and of those, this might be the lowest-mileage example. Add in a high quality restoration, and this truck will be a hit at any show, and even down at the local Home Depot on Saturday afternoon. And no matter where you go, we can practically guarantee youll never see another one. Call today!
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