Cars for the rest of us.

Tuff Trucks Vol 1: 1980 International Scout II Terra Turbo Diesel

Jul 26, 13 • by Randy Foster • Featured, Uncategorized1 CommentRead More »

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I’m guessing that I was around 10 yrs old when I first met an International Scout. One summer afternoon, one of my father’s friends drove in our driveway behind the wheel of a brand new Scout 80 in two-tone red with a white top. I thought that was just about the coolest truck type vehicle I’d ever seen and couldn’t wait for the test ride. I got to sit in the small back seat with a perfect view down the center of the front buckets. We immediately hit some of the field roads and a couple of muddy spots on our farm and the little scout handled it with ease. I couldn’t wait to tell my friends about my experience that day and I now had Scout fever. Not many people had 4wd vehicles back then as they were bordering on being a luxury item. Sure, there were a few of the original military style Dodge Power Wagons and smattering of offerings from the big three, but the Scout was different due to it’s compact size, quirky good looks and relatively economical price.

Scout 80

Scout 80

Fondness for things made by International was not a new experience for me. We had a few IH products sitting in our barn that were dead reliable for years and years. Besides farm tractors, the very first vehicle I turned a steering wheel on was a ’47 International KB5 truck. I couldn’t have been more than four years old and I would stand on the seat in front of my dad and move the gigantic steering wheel while my dad operated the controls. Later on, I would sit in the middle of the bench seat and he would let me shift from 4th to 5th gear on his command, what incredible fun. I learned what double clutching was before I learned to ride a bicycle.

IH KB5

IH KB5


'47 International KB5

’47 International KB5

IH produced that Scout body style until mid ’71 when the Scout II product line was introduced, great trucks but not quite as cool as the originals. Like all the companies that were building vehicles at that time, the Scout evolved into a bigger, more optioned truck with many models to choose from. For more reasons than I need to cover here, IH ceased Scout production in 1980 and ended a 20 year production run. For many years I never thought much about Scouts but did enjoy seeing an occasional one on the road or sitting in the weeds.

'72 Scout II Rallye

’72 Scout II Rallye

Fast forward to the summer of 2010 when I’m visiting my friend Al to check out the latest acquisition for his multiple car collection. I was aware that Al liked Scouts as he had a Scout II Traveler sitting in his garage, but I never paid much attention to it as it sat among the Austin-Healeys, Jensen Interceptors and various other great marques. As I pull in the driveway I see what looks to be a Scout II but it has a half cab and pickup bed. On closer inspection I notice it says Terra on the side. It had been recently refreshed and was done in it’s original Yuma Yellow and may be the best looking late model Scout to have.

Al Witt's '79 IH Scout Terra w/ 345 V8

Al Witt’s ’79 IH Scout Terra w/ 345 V8

A few weeks later I got a call from Al to say he’s purchased another Terra, an ’80 model with the optional Nissan turbo diesel. I scurry on over to take a look and view a VERY used and abused Terra. Al’s love of the IH brand would have him opening his wallet to bring this truck back to life. Nearly everything on the truck needed help and the rebuilding of the Nissan power plant swallowed up a huge chunk of the budget. Although IH offered the normally aspirated diesel option starting in ’76, only the ’80 model was available with the Nissan SD33T turbo diesel.

80 Terra teardown

80 Terra teardown

nice and shiney TD

nice and shiney TD

The truck was recently completed and is near ready for its first road trip. As he already had a yellow version, he chose IH Flame Red as the final color and did a few things with the body that are not original but gave the truck a nice look. Being a life-long IH fan, I’m sure glad Al saved this last year Terra from the crusher and look forward to when he takes it to the local cruise-in.

Al Witt's '80 Scout Terra TD

Al Witt’s ’80 Scout Terra TD

Al Witt's '80 Terra TD

Al Witt’s ’80 Terra TD

'80 Scout Terra TD

’80 Scout Terra TD

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One Response to Tuff Trucks Vol 1: 1980 International Scout II Terra Turbo Diesel

  1. Tony says:

    Love the Scouts! Had a few of my own and a bunch in our family. Great to see them getting restored and preserved!