By on February 11, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride marks the first time the series has featured a vehicle from the defunct International Harvester brand. Though the luxury-lined Monteverdi Safari was International-adjacent, today’s truck represents the agricultural, working heritage of IH.

The Light Line was International’s new pickup offering when it debuted in 1969 for a shortened model year. The trucks were commonly known as D-Series and were a replacement for the C-Series that was on sale since 1961.

The D-Series name continuation was a hint at what the “new” trucks were: A light reworking of the old C-Series to save as much cash as possible. It was lean times for IH, and the company intended to offer as much flexibility as possible to attract the greatest number of pickup customers. International succeeded in offering more build options than any of the competition, which resulted in a dizzying array of cab, engine, and wheelbase combinations.

Seven different wheelbases were available from 115 to 164 inches. Cabs were of single and quad cab (Travelette) varieties, with both short and long beds. Trucks turned into wagons with enclosed bodywork, and became the Suburban-challenger called Travelall. There was even a panel van version of the wagon. Engines were of I6 or V8 configuration and ranged in size from 3.8- to 4.2-liters with six cylinders, and 4.4- to 6.6-liters with eight. Transmissions on offer included three-, four-, and five-speed manuals, and a three-speed automatic. Early automatics came from Borg Warner, while later ones were the Chrysler 727.

Initially, the trucks were labeled from 1000 D to 1500 D, but that lasted only for 1969 and 1970. In 1971 the pickup line received a slight front end restyling with a plastic grille. The D lettering vanished, and trucks were renamed 1010 through 1510. That naming scheme lasted until 1974 when another reshuffling saw model numbering change to 100, 150, 200, and 500. The new numbers were assigned based on the truck’s weight rating, and a new grille appeared again.

But International’s fortunes continued to decline, along with their pickup truck market share. Circa 1969, the company netted just 4.1 percent of overall truck sales. Then the oil crisis of 1973 took its toll because IH trucks were heavier than the competition and always less fuel-efficient. The primarily rural and work truck focus of the IH dealer network was also an issue, as ever-increasing numbers of suburban customers bought ever-fancier pickups. By 1975 the company could no longer support a full line of passenger trucks, so in April that year, the D-Series ended production and took the Travelall with it. Going forward, International narrowed its focus to the Scout SUV and its heavy-duty truck offerings.

Today’s Rare Ride is a lovely four-door long-wheelbase Travelette, in what looks to be completely original condition. Light blue over blue houndstooth sets the Seventies tone. This one sold at a dealer recently for an undisclosed sum.

[Images: International Harvester]

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27 Comments on “Rare Rides: The 1970 International Harvester 1200 D, a Pristine Pickup...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Quite the beauty. I especially like the “AUX FUEL” knob and the AM radio.

  • avatar
    Duaney

    Does anyone know what the “undisclosed” price was? Not mentioned in the article was that IHC substantially redesigned their light trucks for the 1974 model year at a huge expense. All new chassis, suspension, engine mounting, and axles. The new models had a “Cadillac” ride. Then, the greedy auto union stepped in, demanding outrageous new wage and benefits. Which, IHC couldn’t afford. That’s why IHC had to discontinue their light trucks mid way through the 1975 model year. All of those union members, lost their jobs.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      While the union issues certainly didn’t help the energy crisis did cause the sales of the 1974s to plummet dramatically and was a major factor in dropping them in 1975. They might have survived one or the other but both at the same time meant game over.

    • 0 avatar

      The “substantial redesign” really only applied to 2WD models, and that year saw fewer build options than before.

      • 0 avatar

        Also I saw the truck on an archive listing type site and it asked $24,5.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        No the 4wd frames were new too, even though it doesn’t seem like it since they were still a straight axle on leaf springs. Things had to be moved around to make room for the new MV 404 and MV 446 engines that were not done in time for introduction at the beginning of the 1974 model year. The gas crisis in late 1973 nixed those plans very quickly.

        The pre 73 2wd had been available in straight axle versions 11×0,12×0,13×0 and Torsion Bar IFS 10×0. The 74 and up 100, 150 and 200 2wd trucks all had an all new frame with coil Spring IFS. The 500 continued on with the 15×0 frame and front axle.

        Note in 1974 you had the choice of 100 and 200 models but you could option up the 200 into a class 3 truck.

        For 1975 the 100 was replaced with the 150 and the springs that had been optional on the 100 were now standard. That gave them a rated GVW of 6200 lbs, avoiding the need for catalytic converters. That is the same year that Ford introduced their 150 for the same reasons, though they did offer the F-100 for a few more years.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    The grille on the 72-73 and 74-75 are all aluminum. The grille on the 71 is the one with plastic, it uses the same steel surround as this style but instead of a bar floating in the middle it has a plastic egg crate insert.

  • avatar
    la834

    Was the marque/brand name officially “International Harvester” or just “International”? I don’t usually see “Harvester” written out on the badges or in the advertising, but everyone seems to call it that.

    • 0 avatar

      The badge is an IH if you look at it.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The name of the company was International Harvester Company as noted on the data plate seen in one of the pictures. The “man on the tractor” badge you see on the fenders and that data plate is an i superimposed on a H for International Harvester. The red dot on the I represents the man’s head with the red body of the I representing the tractor grille while the black H represents the axle and tires.

      In the early years they did advertise them as International Harvester Speed Trucks. But they soon branded trucks simply as International.

      The original Logo was the I superimposed over the H surrounded by the C with the entire thing superimposed over a globe in some iterations.

      That was replaced on trucks by what is referred to as the Triple Diamond logo where International was placed over three diamonds which was inline with their engine names that included Black Diamond, Red Diamond and several others.

      Meanwhile over at the tractor division they had came out with the Man on the Tractor logo which really was an evolution of the original IHC World logo. Eventually they started using that on the trucks too and did until the implosion of the company and rebirth as Navistar. That is when the Diamond Road logo was introduced.

      So IHC was the MFG and International was the Brand for most of their run but people commonly interchange International, IH, International Harvester and IHC.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    My Dad had a 78 Scout II. With Navistar being acquired by Volkswagen, it would be great to see a return of the International badge as an ironically appropriate brand name. Utilize the partnership with Ford to source a small and mid-size pickup from Maverick and Ranger, respectively, base a Scout off the Bronco Sport, and bring back the Touareg as a range topping Travelall.

    • 0 avatar
      Oberkanone

      Much talk speculating VW will use International and it’s model names for pickups and SUV models. None of the rumors attributed to VW. No trademarks filed. Wishful thinking from IH fans.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    My uncle worked for “Uncle Harvey” and always drove a IH Wagon company car. My uncle would always comment that IH made great tractors, but cars, not so much. Besides riding and handling like a tractor rust was a real problem

    • 0 avatar
      Oberkanone

      Fenders and rockers rusted quickly on the Scout. Father of my best friend in elementary school worked at IH dealership as mechanic. He replaced fenders, quarters, rockers three times on his Scout before I entered college. He really loved that Scout.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I was always bemused with the front fender mounted fuel tank and filler on the Travelall and pickup. Other pickups of the era were moving them from inside the cab with the filler on the outside just behind the door to the rear bed or GM’s side saddle mounted tank with the filler on the side of the bed.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The pickup only got the fender mounted fill when it was an auxiliary tank in the driver’s side fender. The main tank fill was in the passenger side cab corner.

      On the Travelette since the tank ended before the cab they used the passenger fender as the fill for the main tank and if you got the aux tank it was still in the driver’s side fender.

      All of those tanks were located underfloor even with the cab mounted filler.

      For the Travelall the main tank was in the Driver’s side rear fender while the Aux was in the passenger side front fender.

      As far as I can tell this was done simply because the switch for the gauge was turned to the Right to indicate one of the tanks level and to the Left to show the other tank’s level. Note that did not switch the fuel supply. That was done mechanically by pulling the knob out to select the Aux tank.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Never seen a running 4 door IH pickup in person. This 1200D is amazingly clean and original except the spray on bedliner. That is a failure.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    “The International” was the place to work in my home town of Springfield for many years. Tough angry union always locking horns with a miserable management, strikes aplenty, sabotaged Travelall’s with nuts and bolts loose in the tires (put in during mounting), beer cans inside the fenders for that factory fresh rattle. Two big plants at one time, now down to one. The “breakdown yard” was usually filled fuller than the yard with vehicles ready for transport. Only one plant there now, building Chevrolet’s along with International’s last time I was over there a couple years ago.

  • avatar
    Daveo

    Such an interesting bed shape. So low and wide. Seems much more practical than the current designs.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Never realized the IH symbol was the man on the tractor but looking at the logo I can see it now. thanks for bringing that to our attention. My nephew has restored my granddad’s 63 IH 1000 stepside pickup with a straight six and 3 on the tree (it only has 60k original miles). My nephew’s IH gets a lot of attention at car shows.

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