By on August 4, 2020

Rustic and western-themed special editions have been part of the pickup truck business for generations. Dodge sold Prospector versions of the Ram pickup in the 1980s, and the same company sold “The Dude” “sport trim package” for its “Sweptline” pickups in 1970 and 1971.

The Dude is most famously — or rather, infamously — known because Dodge (or more likely its ad agency) made the peculiar choice of using actor Don Knotts as a celebrity endorser. People loved Knotts, but his best-known role as bumbling sheriff’s deputy Barney Fife hardly projected a “tough” image.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, International Harvester was still in the passenger vehicle market, selling pickup trucks, SUVs, and the small Scout 4X4 that competed with Jeep’s CJ vehicles. IH sometimes made region-specific special editions, like the snowplow equipped Sno-Star trucks for northern climes.

It looks to me like someone at IH was impressed enough with The Dude (or maybe they were just a Don Knotts fan) to have made a competitor for southern markets in 1971: the Johnnie Reb edition of the 1010 and 1110 pickups.

A paint and trim package, the Johnnie Reb came with a two-tone red over metallic grey paint job, with two stripes painted with stars adorning the hood. Apparently the stars and bars could be had as white stars over red stripes, or red stars over white stripes. If the grey, red, stars and bars weren’t evocative enough of the Old South, adorning the rear flank was a decal with “Johnnie Reb” and a caricature of a saber wielding Confederate soldier, apparently Johnnie Reb himself.

My guess is the unusual spelling of Johnnie may have been to avoid intellectual property conflicts. Bed rails with red inserts, and red or chromed steel wheels with ‘dog dish’ hubcabs completed the package.

At a time when Lincoln is discontinuing all of its sedans in favor of SUVs, it’s hard to imagine that in the 1960s pickup trucks were not family vehicles and utility vehicles mostly served niche markets. Even though those were the only vehicles that IHC sold, International tried its best to stay competitive with the larger automakers, introducing its new “Light Line” (to distinguish pickups and SUVs from the medium and heavy duty trucks IH also made) in 1969. Styled by IH design head Ted Ornas, the IH Light Line trucks had clean lines and a modern look that still looks pretty good a half century later.

Engine choices ranged from an inline six sourced from American Motors to IH’s own V8s in 304, 345, and 392 cubic inch displacements.

With IH’s limited dealer network, located primarily in small towns and rural areas, the Johnnie Reb edition was never going to be a huge seller. Slightly fewer than 500 were made (one source says 485, another says 487). How many survive is hard to tell.

As for how much the survivors are worth, well, values change over time, in both meanings of the word.  This price guide show early ’70s IH Light Line pickups as being worth between about $4,000 for a vehicle in #4 condition and $24,000 for something concours-worthy. Whether the Johnnie Reb package adds to or detracts from those values is an open question. With the current controversy over Confederate symbols, what was once seen as a relatively harmless appeal to Southern heritage, today might be more problematic, as the kids say.

[ImagesInternational Harvester, Chrysler Corp, Chris Castoldi/Pinterest]

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32 Comments on “A Problematic Pickup: International Harvester Johnnie Reb Edition...”


  • avatar
    FAHRVERGNUGEN

    Well…THAT will certainly stand out in a crowd at C&C…[ cringe ]

    • 0 avatar
      Oberkanone

      Easily offended? No cringe from me. A career in the military toughened me up. Very, very nice condition for this old pickup. Rare truck with rare trim package. I appreciate this well preserved pickup.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Yeah, in the context of 2020, driving around in this truck presents a certain image to the world, maybe a rung or 3 below having a black lawn jockey in your front yard.

      This one needs a lot of work, but the colors are more germane to the ’70s:
      https://richmond.craigslist.org/cto/d/sandy-hook-1974-international-200-pick/7166049092.html

  • avatar
    lstanley

    “Problematic.”

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    Yeah I’d have to paint over that, regardless of the effect on resale. Otherwise I love these simple, straight lines and boxy shapes. I like the unpretentious, inoffensive and direct styling.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      You can get a vinyl wrap to cover anything one might find offensive and leave things untouched underneath. My brother had white magnetic panels for his company truck to cover his company name because some would get offended if he drove into a competitor’s region. What ever works to keep the peace.

      • 0 avatar
        Imagefont

        In general I don’t like to tell others something about myself before I meet them. I don’t wear articles of clothing with writing or slogans or messages on it, for example. I don’t have bumper stickers on my vehicles. Not because I’m afraid of offending anyone but it puts you at an immediate disadvantage. I need to get along with people on either side of a political or religious divide, or any other divide for that matter.
        No one ever “won” an argument over an emotionally charged subject and changed the other persons thinking – like who’s a better president or who’s god is the one true god or what causes people to be gay or just how important are your gun rights or should we rename a bunch of stuff that was named “Lee” and “Grant” and “Davis” 50 years after the civil war was over. And I don’t want anyone assuming in advance what my opinions might be. Instead I’ve got work to do and I need people’s cooperation to get things done.
        Although in this case I truly don’t believe that a vintage paint job on an old truck would offend anyone, or change the way they might choose to deal with you.
        Play your cards close to your vest.

  • avatar
    Old_WRX

    I don’t remember these. But, I certainly remember the Travelall and Scout. The Scout, as I recall, sat lower to the ground than the competition: Bronco, Land Cruiser, Land Rover, Nissan Patrol (this was in Ecuador in the early 70’s)

    Ah, when pick up trucks were pickup trucks. In line 6, four on the floor, vinyl floor mats (if any), rattles, squeaks, appropriately scarred bed….

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Yeah those clean lines were so modern that GM aped much of it for their 73’s.

    The redline tires are a nice touch on this one, even if it is unlikely to have left the Truck Sales Processing Center (where it earned its stripes so to speak) with those and the trim rings. The “Bed Rails” are actually the parts from the roof rails as used on the Travelall and Scout, just longer.

    These were not 1010 and 1110 trucks however, they were 1000D and 1100D in 69-70 the 1010 and 1110 designation was used on the 71-73 trucks which got a new grille to go along with the new model desgination. For 74 the 1/2 tons became 100 and in 75 all got the higher GVW package to become a “heavy half” and earned the 150 designation and an exemption from the catalytic converter.

    The difference between the 10×0 and 11×0 1/2 ton trucks is that the 10×0 trucks had a torsion bar IFS while the 2wd 11×0 trucks had an I-beam. For 74 the chassis was all new with a coil spring IFS for the 2wd trucks.

    That chassis redesign was to accept the new MV or Medium V in 404″ or 446″ displacements. The delay in finishing that engine combined with the energy crisis meant the MV would have to wait for Ford to buy the diesel version before it found its way to a home in a pickup.

    • 0 avatar
      millmech

      Sorry Scoutdude, they did.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Good to know someone else sees it. I know as a kid, long before I got into IH’s I thought at a distance the first 73 Chevy I saw on the street was a new, refreshed IH.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      As you must know by the 1975 model year International got out of the light duty Pickup and Travelall market leaving only the Scout II and Traveler which came as a pickup version until 1980.
      When I was a business liberal arts undergrad in the early 80’s I wrote a paper on the problems within IHC corporate culture. I was even somehow prescient stating that they should have kept and updated the Scout II (III?) Traveler because of the popularity of the K5 Blazer/Jimmy, Ramcharger and the Bronco.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Well the heads of the Scout Business Unit or SBU as it was called internally, predicted the future quite well.

        Many years ago I picked up a copy of the proposal made by the SBU to corporate management in Sep 1979 of some different options for moving the unit forward.

        They actually under predicted the rise of the SUV as the family car and made direct comparisons to the Impala. The also predicted the rise of “luxury” features and cited the fact that some Scout II were given and upgrade package, including a 3rd row on the Travelers by the conversion van builder Midas. Those would go out the door at transaction prices and margins that made Cadillac dealers envious.

        The also designed the Dodge Caravan though it would have ridden on the Traveler chassis and promoted it as another market that was about to explode. They even had dual sliding doors that didn’t show up on production minivans until many years later.

        The proposal also detailed the different engines they were testing to meet the 1981 emissions standards as well as increasing CAFE requirements. One of those would have had it powered by Chrysler slant 6 and 318, or possibly an all diesel line up, including the 4cyl version of the Nissan 6 they had offered for years.

        Some of the other options they presented were to sell it outright as an on going concern, with Chrysler as a potential suitor, who got a glimpse under the skirt and of course had been a supplier for the Scout.

        The also suggested an option that was preferred over selling or shutting down options was to enter into a joint agreement with another party to build the fiberglass bodies and do final assembly of the SSV or Scout Supplemental Vehicle that they had been developing. A deal was made in this case with RV manufacturer Coachman, that unfortunately fell apart. In developing the SSV they invented the vacuum bag method of composite construction.

        Of course as you know once the Coachman deal fell through upper management pulled the plug.

        Chrysler having seen under the skirt snapped up many of those designers and engineers when IH told them that they were not going to need any more automatic transmissions and weren’t interested in a 1981 emissions compliant 225 or 318.

        Here are some pictures of the sketches and clay of the 2dr version that you the general theme and shapes of the Town and Country version. Unfortunately no sketches of the “mini-van” concept in that article and they are gone from the place I had found them in the past. https://jalopnik.com/have-a-look-at-the-1980s-international-scout-that-never-1758491270

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Option 1: Since some may deem an obscure, 50-year-old truck trim level offensive, this vehicle must be crushed/cancelled. That will make things better, because we will not be constantly reminded of a shameful past.

    Option 2: In the interest of maintaining vehicle diversity, this truck should be preserved and celebrated, and its value should increase due to its unique contribution to community awareness.

    So which should it be?

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      It’s referring to a common soldier, so it doesn’t bother me. Monuments and bases named after traitors that killed American soldiers I have issues with.

      Have you seen how Ford labeled cruise control buttons in the 60’s?

      https://cdn1.gocars.org/photos/full/593298-13346-1968-ford-thunderbird.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        @mcs, My high school daily driver dash!! (Except mine didn’t have cruise.)

        The turn signals have been discussed in detail. The clock works when it wants to. The vacuum-actuated windshield wipers (control is to the right of the temperature gauge) are… problematic. [As are the vacuum-actuated headlamp covers.] The horn control looks cool but you don’t always remember where it is if you’ve been driving the newer vehicles in the household fleet.

        The slider switch on the courtesy lamp was nice – had forgotten about that. The vent controls had a good feel.

        The ‘bright’ indicator was the best.

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      As this is a caricature of a crazy Civil War Southerner – as with all caricatures – the group being made to look cartoon-ish are the ones who are expected to be offended.
      For example, the Cleveland Indians mascot, 1940s-1950s cartoons depicting Black people, the stereotypical drunken Irishman are all offensive for the way they portray people.

      So in my mind, if the people who feel the drawing of Johnnie Reb is a representation of them are not offended there should be no problem. If they are offended, the drawing and lettering should be removed.

      • 0 avatar
        SPPPP

        This is an interesting point that Land Ark raises. The soldier pictured was on the losing side. So by definition, anyone who bought the truck had a picture of a “loser” on it. But International stopped selling a pickup in 1975, so the days of both this trim package and the vehicle as a whole were very much numbered. Perhaps it was a bit of a knowing irony?

        In reference to Dodge’s choice of Don Knotts as an endorser for “The Dude” pickup, it looks to me like it was 100% intentional. The term “dude” basically means a western dandy, “all hat and no cattle”. The truck was designed as a style package. But in the advertisement, they were careful to say it’s tough too. So I see it as a deliberately humorous name for the truck, in line with Mopar’s odd sense of 1960s/1970s humor. (Also expressed through bumblebee stickers, wacky color names, and stuff like that.) Don Knotts fits that humorous and light-hearted image.

        • 0 avatar
          Imagefont

          “The soldier pictured was on the losing side”.
          Irrelevant.
          Just like the thousands of streets and parks and city squares, along with a ridiculous and excessive number or statues and monuments all named after Lee and Grant and Davis, these things were nothing more than non-subtle reminders that although the war was lost…. it wasn’t really lost and nothing has really changed. The same people are still around and the same attitudes persist – don’t expect anything to change. And of course nothing did change for a very long time, and then only very slowly.

          • 0 avatar
            mike9o

            You know that Grant was the Union general that ultimately beat Lee, right? And that he was elected president after the Civil War was over.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Does anyone else see a family resemblance with Yosemite Sam?

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    I would love to find a Sno Star but I would imagine they were all worked to death. How the heck did they ever move snow back then with a 197 hp truck pushing an 8 foot blade????

    • 0 avatar

      If it was really heavy snow lo range. I have plowed with older trucks never had much of an issue really. Done it with slant sixes and it was fine.

    • 0 avatar
      4drSedan

      whynotaztec, my friend is selling a 1970 Sno Star. He’s in D.C. It has had the life you’d expect but isn’t as rotted out as many Scouts of the era I’ve seen. Also he has a bunch of new sheet metal as he was planning on restoring it but quit.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      At a walking pace. Granny 1st and maybe a hand throttle barely cracked open.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Once upon a time people didn’t tow at 85 mph either, just like they actually plowed nice and easy.

        I worked in a maintenance department with some guys who had worked for the local hospital. Their maintenance department maintained several acres of parking lot with a few early 80s I-6 Chevys.

        Years later all those guys could talk about was how smooth and tough those trucks were. If the storm was bad sometimes the trucks didn’t even get shut off for hours upon hours.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    This truck reminds me of the first advisor I had during my undergrad (the late 1990s). The gentleman was in his 80s and was one of the most tenured professors in America, having spent his entire career on our little private school campus. He had been born in West Virginia (which had stayed in the Union) but had a poster hanging in his office which had a picture of a Confederate Veteran and said “Forget? LIKE HELL!”

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      I remember stuff like coffee mugs that had a young Johnny Reb with “FORGET, HELL!” on one side, and an old Johnny Reb with “Oh, forget it” on the other side.

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    This’ll appeal to every southerner who can’t afford it.

    I lived down south, and saw plenty of confederate flags and stickers around. Never on a nice home or a valuable car. Nope, always on a trailer home or run-down heap driven by someone who looked pretty down on their luck.Something about adopting victim culture and identifying with traitors, I guess.

  • avatar
    aja8888

    I’d drive it like it is. I don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of the truck.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    IH also sold refrigerators and freezers (or “deep freezes”, as my elders called them) for awhile, out of the same dealers that sold Farmalls and trucks.

    Sell the farmer a tractor and combine, and sell his wife a fridge and a deep freeze.

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