Obsession | International Harvester Scout

My obsession with boxy SUVs first touched on the Bronco II and now shifts to International Harvester’s Scout. Often considered one of the first sport utility vehicles, the Scout is an American classic with a cult following. A few months back there was an excellent article in the Oregonian about 90 year-old Scout dealer Ernie Bisio. Take a few minutes and read the article on Ernie and watch the video below. They don’t make ’em like the Scout anymore, but they really don’t make ’em like Ernie.




Comments on “Obsession | International Harvester Scout

    sam on February 9, 2009 9:40 AM:

    even though i’m always hoping you will turn me on to something new in the clothing world, it never ceases to amaze me how the rest of your “obsessions” feel like perfect compliments to said clothes. and the last picture with the airstream is wonderful. just let me echo one of your previous sentiments about looking back in order to move forward in a better way. this post reminds me of the simpson’s episode where grandpa is telling the kids about how cars and stuff used to be made out of metal…”meh-tull?”


    william on February 9, 2009 9:43 AM:

    The Scout is cool, but my heart belongs to the late 80’s Jeep Grand Wagoneer.

    james fox on February 9, 2009 9:51 AM:

    yes. IH for the win.

    Alpha on February 9, 2009 9:55 AM:

    I love this utilitarian box of a car! I have always loved the Bronco II as well…especially with a big V8. Sadly, it just doesnt make sense to own a V8 anymore.

    Foster on February 9, 2009 10:05 AM:

    My home town paper! great post. Although i like the airstream trailer, i think a scout would look better towing a Teardrop trailer, http://restlesstransplant.blogspot.com/2009/02/teardrop-trailers.html, It would be the perfect weekend warrior.

    Jim Sofranko on February 9, 2009 10:18 AM:

    My brother owned a Scout in the mid seventies and we used it for various hunting and trapping excursions…a great vehicle sturdy, dependable and almost as rugged as the International Harvester pickup my friend’s father owned…the memories of traipsing around the Iowa countryside!

    Christopher on February 9, 2009 11:22 AM:

    Thanks for this memory. I owned one of the behemoths in college and loved taking the lid off and rolling on urban safari. Mine drank oil like a southern deb at a bourbon tasting, but I didn’t care.

    looks like on February 9, 2009 11:53 AM:

    you took a step back behind the curve.

    JP on February 9, 2009 11:55 AM:

    I have always loved the old Internationals. I have many fond memories of piling in a sawed-off Scout with my goofy bunch of high school chums for off-campus lunch and shenanigans.

    Chris on February 9, 2009 11:57 AM:

    Great post! Kirk had a ’73 Scout II in Los Angeles for a few years. It was originally from Oregon. He misses it like I miss my ’71 TR6.




    JL on February 9, 2009 11:59 AM:

    Still remember when the parents handed me down their ’79 Scout as my 1st car….damn I miss that beauty.

    ita-darling on February 9, 2009 12:04 PM:

    i learned how to drive in a IH scout! Not only was it an amazing looking car, but it also bore the amazing RaymondLowey designed logo. You should really do a Loewy inspired post- he revolutionized American industrial design and was dressed to a T. Ever seen the picture of him on the rug of the oval office with JFK working out the design for airforce 1?

    Charles Taylor on February 9, 2009 1:07 PM:

    I overheard someone trying to describe a IH Scout to another who coudn’t remember if he’d seen one:

    “Imagine if you told a 5 year old to draw a picture of a car with a crayon, that’s basically what a Scout looks like.”

    morse on February 9, 2009 1:34 PM:

    ACL- Great blog and thanks for what you do. I don’t normally add my two cents, but I couldn’t pass this one. I was hoping you would change your mind about the Bronco. I bought a pristine 78 Scout II (khaki) in 1990 for $500. (used my credit card!), then dropped $300 on sheepskin seat covers and another $500 on a new (nutmeg) soft top. Drove it 60,ooo miles and then sold it for 10x my cost. One day, I took it over to over to Bill Thomas’ then fledgeling company (Bill’s Khakis)whose HQ was a third floor walkup, bought some MP-2 and suggested he come and down look a this thing. I thought it would be ideal as a prop for one of his mailers. He politely declined. Another time, I went into an NJ surf shop for some t-shirts, and when I came out, the local surfer dudes had it surrounded 3 deep and were all ooooh’s and aaaah’s. You made me think I should have kept it and sold the old Jag instead…

    Ol' Sport on February 9, 2009 1:37 PM:

    Love the Scouts, Travelall’s and Trucks…they had their share of problems, but a simple and classic design that will be cool forever.

    Randall on February 9, 2009 1:37 PM:

    As the IH brand seemed to fade into oblivion somewhere in the 70’s or 80’s, depending on your location in the US, there was always something about the less decorated Scout versions that increasingly attracted purists to the brand, and not merely for reasons of nostalgia. As it ages, I still see the continued interest of those I call home sweet home design snobs, where I’ve found pristine examples driven by sprockets with pointy glasses in the mountain west, the Pacific northwest and midwest. The most revered one I have seen was a pristine two-tone buttermilk and white late 60’s version in Innsbruck, Austria a couple years ago. The modest design in those earnest and puritan colors seemed to polish the entire low-key myth to a ridiculously cultivated glow. It seemed a suitable example of international style snobbery, with the colors giving it a baroque edge. The best examples would have not been out of place in a Loewy, Eames and Prouve decorated exhibit at any MoMA. These less complicated versions are the quintessence of sobriety and in my mind and experience have earned a place with the best of Americana, those artifacts that reside on the ‘right side of the curve’ as it could be said (ahem ;).

    Randall on February 9, 2009 1:44 PM:

    The two posts indicating the oil thirst and other problems just reminded me that in my teens, I had a friend who drove his family’s hand-me-down Scout, it was a slightly rusty beast in frigidaire metallic beige with clashing big white mag wheels. I don’t recall riding in it more than once as it had so many mechanical issues the family started calling it ‘The Intertrashional’. Cruel, but that was the sentiment.

    dan on February 9, 2009 2:46 PM:

    Now this is a goood post! Scouts are sweet as is the aforementioned Bronco. I like the Landcruiser, bad gas mileage and all.
    My friend carries two red spare gas cans on the back of his Scout for backcountry treks; he rolled his beloved Scout between WSU and UI on the Palouse.

    Rob on February 9, 2009 3:22 PM:

    landcruiser>_____ IMHO

    Ryan on February 9, 2009 4:39 PM:

    I think I am now obsessed with these. Ernie is the man!

    Kevin on February 9, 2009 5:09 PM:

    My friend just got rid of a scout that looked exactly like the one in the tennis scene pic above. He didn’t have it long and got it on the cheap. Had to replace the rear differential right away. I think parts were somewhat of an issue. I drive an 85′ FJ60. Bought it pretty cheap and it has over 250K miles on it now. Had to fix a few things but if you do it yourself it isn’t too bad. Especially with a resource like IH8MUD forum. Post a question and you will get an answer.

    Michael Williams on February 9, 2009 5:11 PM:

    Maybe I should post about cars more often. It’s nice not to have a new asshole ripped in the comments for once…


    Tyler Galpin on February 9, 2009 5:37 PM:

    Great post.

    I haven’t seen these since I was a little kid, and I especially like the black one shown above.

    Draplin on February 9, 2009 6:11 PM:

    I drive past this little lot each morning on my way down to the shop. Incredible.

    Nachas on February 9, 2009 6:26 PM:

    While the Scout is no doubt beautiful, what about some love for the Toyota Land Crusier FJ62 and earlier? There are easier to come by then Scouts, and in my opinion just as beautiful of trucks

    dan on February 9, 2009 6:28 PM:

    I predict Engineered Garments comes out with a Scout-inspired line. Those fishing waders…..$1800!

    jeremy on February 9, 2009 10:13 PM:

    Aw man,now I’m gonna spend the rest of the day looking at Scouts on ebay….again.

    Mike on February 10, 2009 3:16 AM:

    It kinda reminds me of the VW Thing, especially the last picture

    Clifford on February 10, 2009 3:09 PM:

    Those old Scouts had a lot of personality. I had an early 80’s Bronco for a short time but always coveted the Scouts.

    Jared on February 10, 2009 6:25 PM:

    Gramps drove an IH Travelall and great gramps drove a Scout, then a Scout II. He was legally blind, but for whatever reason my folks let him take us kids out for burgers (we never wore seatbelts). That post brought back a lot of memories about the men I most admire.

    J. F. B. on February 11, 2009 12:23 PM:

    When I saw your Bronco II post a few months ago I knew this was coming. I too love the Scout and small SUVs in general. Toyota’s original Land Cruisers were incredibly and Land Rover’s current Defender is gorgeous as well… if only they’d sell it in the States.


    J. F. B. on February 11, 2009 1:22 PM:

    Hell, I even think Toyota’s new FJ Cruiser is pretty slick.

    Michael on February 11, 2009 9:16 PM:

    The above post is fantastic, since I bought a MINT 1978 Scout Traveler from Ernie himself. Avacado green, original owner. And yes, it was an old lady. All manuals and records intact. I’ve enjoyed driving it every day, and no doubt it will become my son’s when he comes of the driving age. The Scout is like a tractor…truly “agricultural grade.” AWESOME.

    Oscar on February 12, 2009 9:38 PM:

    More car posts would be great. Talk about your love for the 94-96 Impala SS.

    Nicholas on February 18, 2009 11:59 AM:

    Great read, as always. I still live and play in a corner of the world where we can justify these toys, but the mortgage and the tie keep me in check more often than not.
    My top three:
    1. ’66 Ford Bronco – my first, and therefore one true love
    2. a bitchin ’78 Scout II with rattlecan matte camo, lift kit, and a snorkel. Finished college, “grew up,” and bought the new truck to prove it. I hate myself sometimes.
    3. Land Rover Defender 90/110 – never owned one, but on better nights I can dream…

    harlo on March 2, 2009 9:51 PM:

    This collection of Scouts is indeed impressive, but why aren’t we talking about how insanely great that old Johnson snowmobile is?

    K on March 24, 2009 7:42 PM:

    My heart usually belongs to Volkswagens, esp. type 3 squarebacks.

    However, there’s something about the IH that calls my name. I don’t know if it’s the clean aesthetic, the instant trigger to living tough and naturally, or what.

    That last photo is serious perfection.

    IH Fan on April 1, 2009 12:57 AM:

    Erine is a true legened, as of his planned retirement in Dec 2008 he held the oldest continuously operating dealer license in the state of OR. As a diehard IH fan owning Scout II’s, a Travelall, and a Travelette (the one in the back in the second to last photo), I can say I have been truly blessed to have meet him in person, listen to some of his stories, and discuss the first and last serious SUV the International Harvester Scout and Scout II.

    Scout, anything less is just a car!

    Brian Miller on April 14, 2009 8:03 PM:

    Love the IH Scout. Brother had one. I drove one as a work truck when I worked at a lake – 3 on the tree – shimmied like crazy over 25 mph but it was charming as all getout.

    John on April 27, 2009 8:08 PM:

    I came across this cool shirt on this website. It says “Only in a Scout”. I got myself one and the quality was good. I wear it all the time. Thought I should let you know.



    Al on May 8, 2009 2:59 PM:

    I’m a big fan of that car style. @William, the wagoneer is tops too! I currently have an AMC Eagle from 1987 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMC_Eagle) and it’s slightly to the left of this aesthetic but near enough. I used to drive a Bronco II but it had some minor issues that drove me nuts. Taking corners did scare the crap out of me, I almost tipped it once going very slow on a dirt road.

    Matt on January 16, 2010 5:50 PM:

    Someone out there owns the rights to the name “Scout”. The rights were bought at the height of the SUV craze, but nothing ever happened.

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