Scout Introduction Boosted International Harvester Sales in the 1960s

Scout Introduction Boosted International Harvester Sales in the 1960s

As the 1960s dawned, the market for trucks in the U.S. was very different from today. In some parts of the country it was rare for anyone to own a truck unless it was a Commercial Vehicle. Except for Jeeps, Dodge Power-Wagons and the IH Scout, a four-wheel-drive truck was a real rarity.

The Scout’s introduction made 1961 one of the most significant years in International Harvester Corp. history. This model was developed and brought to the assembly line in under two years – a remarkable feat in the 1960s. It bowed to the public on Jan. 18, 1961 and created an immediate sensation.


The 1961 Scout was available in both two- and four-wheel-drive versions. The engine was a 93-hp four with a floor-shifted three-speed manual transmission. Pickup, station wagon and open roadster models were available, but the wagon with four-wheel drive was the big seller. By the end of the abbreviated model year, more than 28,000 Scouts were delivered. Roll-up windows were optional in 1962. Prices for the five-foot pickup started at $2,132. There were few changes in the product between 1961 and 1964, although prices increased and a special ’64 Champagne Edition model was released.

Scout Introduction Boosted International Harvester Sales in the 1960s

Scout 80 was the designation for 1961 to mid-1965 models, which had slider windows, a Commanche four-cylinder engine, a folding windshield, vacuum-operated high-mounted windshield wipers and an IH logo center grille logo. The Scout 800 was marketed from late-1965 to mid-1971. The Scout 800 had a new car-like grille and a new windshield that reduced rain leaks. There was also a new Easy View instrument panel. Standard equipment included windshield wipers located at the bottom of the windshield.

A luxurious new “Sportop” was added in 1966 and a few Scouts got a turbocharged version of the Commanche III engine with 111 hp. In 1967, the first Scout V-8 was built. This 266-cid engine produced 155 hp. Other options ranged from a 196-cid four to a 232-cid V-8 and a 304-cid V-8 in ‘69 and newer models. Scout sales through the 60’s exceeded the sales of all Jeep models.

The Scout seen here is a 1966 model that was recently given a complete restoration by The Automobile Gallery ( in Green Bay, Wis. It is powered by the standard 152-cid Commanche Four. It has a three-speed manual gearbox and the hubs have to be manually locked to put this Scout into four-wheel-drive.

Paul Faby, acquisitions director for The Automobile Gallery, said the Scout was something he wanted to add to the Gallery for its historical importance. The vehicle received a complete restoration before being put on display early in May. It took over 900 hours of labor to make this Scout look new again.

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About John Gunnell 143 Articles
John “Gunner” Gunnell has been writing about cars since ‘72. As a kid in Staten Island, N.Y., he played with a tin Marx “Service Garage” loaded with toy vehicles, his favorite being a Hubley hot rod. In 2010, he opened Gunner’s Great Garage, in Manawa, Wis., a shop that helps enthusiasts restore cars. To no one’s surprise, he decorated 3G’s with tin gas stations and car toys. Gunner started writing for two car club magazines. In 1978, publisher Chet Krause hired him at Old Cars Weekly, where he worked from 1978-2008. Hot rodding legend LeRoi “Tex” Smith was his boss for a while. Gunner had no formal journalism training, but working at a weekly quickly taught him the trade. Over three decades, he’s met famous collectors, penned thousands of articles and written over 85 books. He lives in Iola, Wis., with his nine old cars, three trucks and seven motorcycles.

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