By on January 23, 2017

1978 IHC Scout Traveler in Colorado wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Because I think that any highway-legal vehicle made by a farm-equipment manufacturer is interesting, I photograph IHC Scouts when I see them in the junkyards I frequent (and we have not seen a truck in this series since October, so we’re due). Living in Colorado, this happens often.

Here’s a ’78 Scout II Traveler that I spotted in my local U-Pull-&-Pay.

1978 IHC Scout Traveler in Colorado wrecking yard, rust - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Like most of these trucks, this Scout has some rust in the usual spots.

1978 IHC Scout Traveler in Colorado wrecking yard, emblem - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

If you’d like to see all the Scouts I have photographed in wrecking yards, here you go: This ’70, this ’71, this ’72, this ’73, this ’74, this ’74, this ’79 and this ’79.

1978 IHC Scout Traveler in Colorado wrecking yard, engine - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The last year for the Scout was 1980, so this is almost as new a Scout as you can find. The V8 engines available for ’79 were the IHC-made 304 and the 345, and I’m not enough of a Scout expert to tell them apart at a glance.

1978 IHC Scout Traveler in Colorado wrecking yard, RH rear view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The Traveler had a long wheelbase and fiberglass roof and was the top-of-the-line Scout in 1979, listing at $7,657. Compare that to the $7,373 1979 Chevy Blazer.

Complete with rousing disco music, this ad showed how the Scout was the perfect blizzard vehicle. These trucks were (and are) extremely popular in Colorado, but beat-up ones tend to get discarded and replaced with 21st-century SUVs nowadays.

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31 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1978 International Harvester Scout II Traveler...”


  • avatar
    OldManPants

    “this Scout has some rust in the usual spots”

    Cars are from Mars cuz they always end up looking like its surface.

    Phuq rust!

  • avatar
    Zackman

    When I was planning on buying my first new vehicle in fall, 1975, the IH Scout/Traveler was on the list, but after seeing others on the road and how fast they rusted out in St. Louis winters, I shied away from one as a consideration.

    That was too bad, for they were unique in many ways.

    I suppose I could have taken it to Z-Bart, but I imagined at the time it was beyond my budget, not knowing how much that cost.

    Truth be told, back then many cars showed rust after two or three years, but not like these. Jeeps were almost as bad, too.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Looks like light collision damage, not the tin worm took this one (?) .
    .
    -Nate

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    Now what sort of price difference when new, between a Scout Traveler (nee Travelall?) and a Wagoneer?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      According to the NADA Guides website, a 1980 Scout II Traveler was $8,783 MSRP before any options. For that same year, a Wagoneer with no options was $9,732, but they also had the Limited model (precursor to the Grand Wagoneer) that could top out at $12K or more.

      I could easily be using the site wrong and getting numbers that are way off. Anyone who thinks/knows they have more accurate pricing data is probably right.

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        Hmm so a thousand dollars more, but much MUCH better made (I’m sure the Chevy was also). I think IH had the big eye on pricing.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          The Jeep was much worse in the durability and general assembly quality than the Scout, the Chevy was worse as well.

          The Scout could quickly top any and all comers when it came to pricing. Add at least 50% if you wanted all the goodies and if you really wanted the nicest Scout you could have you could send it to Midas before it made it to your dealer and spend near $15k to get it made into a 7 passenger vehicle lined with the finest thick shag carpeting you could find at the time as well as seating covered in highly durable Flexsteel fabric in the most fashionable colors and patterns of the time.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            With your login name, not sure if biased! Lol.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            No not biased at all ;0, but seriously as you probably remember I was a mechanic for years and a lot of that was back when Wagoneers and Scouts were just “used cars” and still fairly common on the road, that experience is why I choose an International addiction over a Jeep addiction.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            Yep, I remembered that about you. I withdraw my prior assertion about build quality then!

          • 0 avatar
            Dave W

            I’ve not owned any IH cars but currently own 4 IH cub tractors. Durable as all hell, initial build quality? I’ve heard a few comments at shows that a tractor must have been restored because it doesn’t have enough runs in the paint to be original.

          • 0 avatar
            JustPassinThru

            The Jeep had gone up and down in quality.

            During the last of the Kaiser years, assembly was atrocious – and the paint application about half-a-step better than rattle-can. But the steel used was thick and solid.

            AMC did little to improve quality on the SJ line…especially in the late 1970s when the company’s very survival was in question. Looking as I did at the time at SJ Wagoneers and Cherokees…I’d say the steel was either thinner or from a lower-quality source. Those things rusted like MAD.

            The Scout, after 1976, was abandonware. IH was trying to sell the line…with their pickup and Travelall lines shut, the Scout was the oddball product. Obviously they were making, and by 1980, had the plans that would sell off half the company and have the other half focus on Class 8 trucks. The Scout was an orphan; and smog standards were growing ever-tighter.

            So it was built and sold with little concern for the future – individual units or the product line or the customer.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          You’re saying the Wagoneer was much better made? I don’t see how that is possible. They were both pretty much assembled by throwing parts at the line from three feet back. Wagoneers did rust less quickly, but they had more stuff that broke within two years too.

          • 0 avatar
            mikeg216

            If you thought that the quality of the steel couldn’t get any worse on a jeep.. Well it could and it’s name was international.. And as far as quality? Well the jeep was built in a factory in toledo with wooden floors that originally made wagons.. Meanwhile international hadn’t really updated anything since probably the 50’s and all of the tooling was long past worn out..

  • avatar
    CaddyDaddy

    The 345 drank go juice like a sailor on shore leave, with not much to show for the all the noise and gas. The bodies were slapped together by disgruntled striking workers and it was a guessing game to discern what 3rd party parts were used to make it all work.

    Here in Colorado many Scouts are in self storage lots melting into the ground, plagued by tin worm while their owners are dreaming of that awesome build project to forge those rocky mountain trails. All these Scouts would be in the driveway fouling the concrete with its bodily fluids, from but the HOA will have none of that.

    In ’79, the choice definitely would have been a Bronco with a 300 six.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Sorry but no, the 345 did OK in MPG for its time but that was heavily dependent on the choice of the rest of the drivetrain. The final 345 with the Thermoquad was rated for 20mpg hwy when equipped with the close ratio 4sp and 2.73 gears. It was the 304 that was the dog of the bunch that gave you no increase in MPG with a slight disadvantage in power and a larger disadvantage in torque.

      To compare it to a somewhat modern vehicle for years my 72 Traveltop was my daily driver in the winter while our 2003 Mountaineer was my wife’s daily driver.

      72 Scout specs, 345, close ratio 4sp, 3.73 gears, 235/75-15 tires (29″)

      03 Mountaineer specs. 281, 5sp AT 3.73 gears. 245/65-17 tires (29.5″)

      Daily driven MPG with a bias to city type driving. Scout 12.5 MPG, Mountaineer 13.5 MPG.

      As far as them leaking oil they were about average for the cork gasketed stamped steel covered engines of the time. Certainly far less likely to leak oil than the small block Chevy of of the era.

      As far as knowing where the parts were sourced if you had any clue as to the different brands you quickly recognized all the GM parts that make up a Scout II, as well as the common drive train components and Bendix brakes.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      ’78-’79 Broncos were only available with the 351M or the 400. But they should’ve had a 300 option IMO, and they did for the ’80+ models.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I always liked the looks of these – but never had a chance to own or even ride in one. Now they are oh so rare here in the land of eternal winter salt.

  • avatar
    Rday

    I was in sales for IH trucks back in 66. The scout came with a 4 banger which i think was one side of a 304 v8. It was the standard engine. you could get the 304 but all IH engines used alot of gas, particularly as i recall the 345. IH came out with their own line of medium duty diesels which were competitive and fairly popular. IH put their heavy duty construction diesels in their HD trucks but they smoked terribly and california loved to ticket the owners. IH did cover some of the fines but eventually gave up because they couldn’t update these engines. The new IH diesels are good engines and do meet the pollution laws but i believe that Cummins owns this market right now.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    I noticed the window curtains. I had those in my ’63 Dart wagon for um, camping privacy.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    This one would be a 304 assuming that the engine is original. In 79 the 345 had a Thermoquad 4bbl while the 304 had the Holley 2bbl. Of course after all this time things may have been swapped around and a 78 or earlier 345 which wore the same Holley 2bbl as the 304 may be present instead. So you have to go to intake manifold width and height. The giveaway there is the relationship of the distributor cap to the water outlet. On the one hand it is refreshing to see that the spark plug wires are the proper set but on the other hand it is depressing to see that they are not installed properly. The 3 with the straight distributor connection should be going to the driver’s side up and over the water outlet. The 4th one for the driver’s side should head to the passenger side and then around the back of the carb. This was done to prevent inductive cross fire that can happen when one of 2 adjacent cylinders follows the other in the firing order and are run parallel.

  • avatar
    la834

    IH’s decision to abandon the light truck and SUV market at the dawn of the 1980s just as the SUV boom was about to get under way must be one of the worst moves ever in autodom. Of coursed it looked different in 1980 coming off the second huge oil shortage in 7 years. Navistar (owner of what’s most of left of IH/International) tried selling an SUV based on one of its medium trucks several years back, but it only showed that even giant SUV buyers have size limits. It also showed someone at International was dreaming of what could have been.

    I wonder if they still own the naming rights to “Scout” and “Travelall”

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Hindsight is 20/20, but it wasn’t the “worst move” at the time. IH was hemorrhaging money in the late ’70s, and it was all they could do just to stay afloat until Tenneco bought them out.

      IH does still own the rights to “Scout;” it’s what they call their JD Gator competitor. They almost certainly still own “Travelall” and “Travelette” too.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        No “they” don’t call “their” side by side utility vehicle a Scout that was Fiat who did so and a lawsuit ensued when they marketed it in reference to the real Scout.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      It was a stupid maneuver to abandon the MPV market just as it was about to take off. The heads of the Scout Business Unit did their research and knew that the market was about to take off and that a good chunk of it would be fully loaded high profit margin sales. Unfortunately the company was hemorrhaging cash and just didn’t have the money to ether bring the SSV to market or finish development of the SII and bring it to market.

  • avatar
    millmech

    These engines, including the 4-cylinder, had a great attraction to the center of the earth.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I have always had a fondness for IH learning to drive on my Grand Dad’s 63 IH 1,000 step side. Yes they did rust but they were built like tanks and were easy to work on. I enjoy this series but I especially enjoy the IH junkyard finds. At one time International Harvester made appliances and room air conditioners besides farm equipment and tractors.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    Unlike a lot of vehicles in this series, this one at least looks like someone bought some parts from it. Good.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    On ‘Bring a Trailer’ this is worth real money.


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