International Harvester Scout 1961–1980

The International Harvester Scout is an off-road vehicle produced by International Harvester from 1961 to 1980. A precursor to more sophisticated SUVs to come, it was built in Fort Wayne, Indiana to compete with the Jeep. The Scout and second-generation Scout II were produced as two-door trucks with a removable hard top with options of either a full-length roof, half-cab pickup, and/or soft top. They initially featured a fold-down windshield.

Scout 80 (1960–1965)

The original Scout 80s were built between 1960 and 1965. From 1960 to early 1962, these models could be identified by their removable sliding side windows, fold-down windshield and vacuum windshield wipers mounted to the top of the windshield. The Scout 80 had the gasoline-powered 152 four-cylinder as its standard engine.

Red Carpet Series

Celebrating the 100,000th Scout manufactured, International came out with the first special package known as the "Red Carpet" series. Only 3,000 were produced. This model had a red interior with a white exterior, full-length headliner, and a special silver-plated medallion affixed to the door which read "Custom". This upgraded Scout was often marketed toward women. Each International dealer in the United States received one Red Carpet series Scout for use in parades, in the showroom and for promotional purposes.

Scout 80 Campermobile

In the early 1960s, International experimented with a camper body permanently mounted to the Scout 80. They raised the roof to almost double its original height to allow for standing room. Tented sleeping bunks folded out of the sides and the rear of the body was extended significantly. An ambulance-style swinging door replaced the tailgate/liftgate system. The units came in either a stripped-down shell ($960 installed), or as a "deluxe" unit, which included a dinette set, stand-up galley, and a screened chemical toilet that retracted into the wall ($1850 installed). The Scout Camper was advertised in the May 1963 issues of both Mechanix Illustrated and Popular Science. Limited orders caused few of these units to be produced, and they are rare today.

Early Scout 800

The transition from the Scout 80s came about between 1965 when the 80’s were still being built to the new 800 in 1966. Some Scouts built in the latter part of 1965 are considered a Scout 800 as indicated by the vin tag and Line Setting Ticket (LST). Approximately 3,000 of these 65 1/2 Scouts exist. The carry-over of parts from previous models to build newer ones is evident in the hood which carried over the tie down loop that held down the folding windshield. This is of note because the new 800 windshield did not fold down. Additional carry-over parts include the front grill from the 80 which featured a gold plated IH emblem on black. The new 800 featured a stronger Dana 44 axle, however, these early 800 models still bore the Dana 27, a version that was more prone to axle shaft breakage during heavy use off-road. Although the Dana 27 was still available if preferred to the Dana 44, the Dana 27 in Scouts was obsolete by 1968. By this time, these new 800 models were 4-wheel drive.

Scout 800 (1966–1971)

When the Scout 800 replaced the Scout 80 in 1965, these models had many improvements in comfort and design, including bucket seats, better instrumentation and heating systems, updated dashboard, optional rear seats, and optional 196 four-cylinder (from 1966), or 232 inline-six. Beginning in March 1967, a 266 ci V8 engine was also offered. Externally, changes were limited to an anodized aluminum grill with a rectangular "International" logo, the IH badge was moved to the hood and the tailgate no longer included the hooks. The base engine was a naturally aspirated "Comanche" 152 four-cylinder with 93 hp (69 kW), of which a turbocharged version with 111 hp (83 kW) (the 152-T) was also offered. In August 1966, the turbo version was complemented by the bigger 196 which used less fuel while producing the same power. The 196 motor achieved 20 mpg. The turbo version was dropped in early 1968. The fold-down windshield was still available, but few were ordered because this was not advertised. The vacuum-powered wipers moved to the bottom of the windshield frame with the fixed windshield.

Beginning in early 1966, International also offered the Scout 800 Sportop, which had an upgraded interior and a unique fiberglass top (also available as a convertible) with a slanted rear roof and a continental spare tire kit. The "Champagne Series" Scout, an upscale model offered in the Scout 80 and later Scout 800 models, featured a headliner, door panels, and carpet.

Scout 800A & 800B

In November 1968, the 800A replaced the 800. Improvements included more comfort options, a slightly different front-end treatment, drivetrain upgrades (heavier rear axle and quieter Dana 20 transfer case), and the options of a 196 four-cylinder, 232 six-cylinder, 266 V8, or 304 V8. The inline-six was only offered for a short period in early 1969. The 800A's grill had three segments: the center grill and two matte-black headlight bezels. The Light Line of pickup trucks had bodywork similar to that of the Scout in late 1969.

The Sport top (a slanted sporty top made of canvas or fiberglass) could still be ordered on the 800A and later on the Aristocrat and SR-2 packages. The Aristocrat was the final version of the original-bodied Scout. These trucks had a blue vinyl interior, blue and silver painted exterior, and had a chrome roof rack. Four-wheel drive was standard on most models.

The last of the 800 series – the 800B – was available for less than eight months, from August 1970 until March 1971, before being replaced with the Scout II. Other than minor cosmetic details (primarily chrome headlight bezels instead of matte black), it was identical to the 800A.

The 800B was available with the Comanche package. This package included special paint and decals, chrome trim, sliding travel-top windows, and other upgrade options such as roof racks, chrome wheels, and upgraded interiors. Line tickets of the special-package Scouts (and some non-package units) were stamped. After coming off assembly, the line ticket identified such things as the engine type, transmission type, drive line, paint codes, gear ratio, and standard and optional equipment, specific to that vehicle. This was, and still is, a valuable tool when ordering parts later at the dealership. Late in 1970, the Sno-Star package appeared (only with the six-cylinder engine), developed especially for snow-plow usage.

Scout II (1971)

Some early Scout II’s contain Scout 810 badging on the glove box. The later standard production model with a removable soft or hard top (100-in wheelbase), Scout II’s were manufactured from April 1971 to 1980, with a version nearly identical to the production model shown to management in December 1967.

The Scout II is most identifiable by variations to its front grill:

  • From 1971–1972, the Scout II’s grill had three horizontal bars between the headlights and chrome rings around the headlights;
  • In 1973, the grill had 14 vertical bars between the headlights, a split in the middle, seven bars on each side surrounded by chrome trim pieces and an "International" model plate low on the left side;
  • The 1974–75 Scout II kept the same grill as 1973, with the addition of a vertical bar trim overlay. The 1975 had chrome and black square trim rings around the headlights;
  • 1976 had the same headlight trim rings as 1975, and a chrome center grill of 15 horizontal bars split into three sections was used in this year only.
  • The 1977–79 Scout II’s used the same grill between the same headlight bezels, but the new chrome grill had two large horizontal bars with three vertical support lines and the "International" nameplate moved up to the center of the grill on the left side;
  • In 1980, the final year of production for the Scout, the grill had a distinctive design available in either black or silver, which came as a one-piece grill with square headlights made of ABS plastic. Both grill color options had imprinted chrome trim around the headlights and an "International" name located on the left side.

Starting with late 1974 Scout II’s, disc and power brakes were standard features. Early 1974 models had disc brakes as a rarely selected option. A three-speed A727 automatic made by Chrysler was optional.

Before International discontinued the Scout in 1980, the company experimented with Scout-based minivans, station wagons, dune buggies, Hurst-built special editions (in similar fashion to the Oldsmobile Hurst/Olds and Hurst SC/Rambler), and even a small motorhome. A strike of 1979-80, as well as a lack of funds for the company to expand on the Scout product line, caused International Harvester to shelve these plans.

The Terra and Traveler were produced from 1976 to 1980. A light pickup truck version, the Scout II Terra (1976–1980) had a 118-in wheelbase. Scout II Traveler (1976–1980) had a removable fiberglass hardtop, and optional third row of seats with the 118-in wheelbase. Terras and Travelers had fiberglass tops; half top for the Terra or full top with hatchback on the Traveler. Most notably different, these models were extended by 18 in (46 cm) in the region between the door and the front of the rear wheel well.

Super Scout II (1977–1979): This model had removable fabric doors, a rollbar, and soft top. The soft-top model was tagged the "SSII" by IH marketing. Eventually, the "SS" letters were assumed to stand for "Super Scout", the name this model is called today.

The last International Scout rolled off the assembly line on October 21, 1980.

Rig illustration reference credit: @newlegend4x4