The dash on my Scout came to me painted the same disgusting shade of purple the rest of the truck is. I’m stuck with it for the time being, until I pay someone to rewire the whole truck (that’s not a challenge I currently feel up to). Because I’m stuck with the dash, I’m stuck with the glove box door, which appears to be different than my old Scout and both of the spare dashboards I own. The difference is in the lock mechanism and its strikeplate. Most Scouts I’m familiar with came with a Chevrolet-sourced lock mechanism (IH raided parts bins from Chrysler, Chevrolet, and AMC liberally) that looks like this:
Mine came with a much earlier pushbutton design that looks like this (minus the keys):
The problem is that these are made out of cheap cast pot metal and break down over time. Mine is barely functional and never worked properly when I got the truck. I’d love to be able to use the glove box for stuff, but currently it’s empty and rattling.
Ordinarily I’d just swap it out for the Chrysler lock barrel, of which I have three in my parts bins. I did in fact try this, but it turns out the striker plate bolted to the dashboard isn’t compatible with the Chrysler lock. So I’m stuck with the old-style pushbutton, which I’m finding is hard to source for an affordable price. This site, specializing in Willys trucks, wants $5,000 for this part. This eBay site wants $44. This site doesn’t have a price listed.
I can’t find a non-keyed version of this lock anywhere, but I do see a Jeep lock button that looks similar in operation, averaging around $30:
Depending on its size and diameter, I might be able to make this work, but I’d have to take a $30 chance on it. Or maybe I’ll wait until I see a CJ in the junkyard and try to nab one for cheap.
I follow a bunch of Scout people on Instagram, some of whom are prolific posters and use it to their advantage. Others are quieter but show off some good stuff. I’ve been aware of GRC Fabrication from the Binder Planet but haven’t really done much investigation of their products until I saw a post with their Scout II rollbar. It looks pretty good from the few pictures I can see, but I’d like to know how it mounts to the floor and where. If the front legs mount the same way the factory bar does (folding down the front of the step) and use the same bolt holes, I’d consider buying this to replace my rollbar–and adding rear seatbelt hookups for Finn. The price is right; I just want to know about the mounts and how strong the bars are.
One day in 2000 when I was at work, one of the local news teams came to my leafy, paved street (the only one in our neighborhood), blocked off traffic, and shot a promo in front of my house. The blurry shape in the upper left corner is Chewbacca, who had her 15 seconds of fame throughout Baltimore. Parked in front of her is my neighbor Bertha’s 1973 Dodge Dart. Mixed among the crowd are my neighbors and some paid stand-ins. This blurry 251x189px video is a video capture I took of a VHS recording from TV; the VHS tape is long gone and I doubt I’d ever be able to find a copy online anywhere.
This is about all I can do to the Scout right now, but it’s a welcome addition. I replaced the missing strap on the left corner of the soft top, sewing it into the seam where the top and rear panels meet. Hopefully it will last longer this time.
I don’t have much to write about. Peer Pressure is running really well. I had her out on errands last weekend in the sunshine and three different people stopped to talk to me about her. I had her out today at the Farmer’s Market and left the lights on by mistake; when I got back to start her up the battery was too low to crank. I got a jump from a friend who has a booth there and she fired right up. When I got back to the house I set up the trickle charger, which will run until next spring.
I did remake a new tiedown strap for the driver’s side corner of the soft top. It was missing when I bought her, so a few years ago I made one and sewed it on. Apparently I didn’t do it correctly, because it ripped off one day last spring and I haven’t seen it since. This time I bought stronger polyester UV-resistant canvas thread, so hopefully it’ll last longer when I get it sewed into place.
We had a real nice turnout for our Maryland meetup last night, although Brian and I were the only ones to show up in a Scout. Erik and Brian came over from the Eastern Shore, and our two Brians came even though they don’t currently own IH. Bennett surprised Brian with a check from partial proceeds of the auction at Nationals this year, which was super cool of everybody there. We caught up over beers, told stories, and made tentative plans to get together in the fall.
This is Chewbacca as they dragged her out of Brian’s garage. God, what a sad sight.
The local Scout guys are getting together next week to catch up, which will be great–I haven’t seen anyone in over a year. I’m hoping a few of the guys I haven’t met yet will show up. There’s Dwight, who lives right near the train station I use, who has a pretty green Terra. I’m going to send another email to the guy with the diesel Traveler I saw last month. And, there’s another new Scout in our neighborhood, under a tarp by the high school. I’ve stopped over there a couple of times but it’s always under cover. I’m going to ring the doorbell this weekend and see if the owner is home and likes beer.
I just found out via text that Brian had a catastrophic fire which leveled his garage today, enveloping part of the house. Brian and his family are OK, but Chewbacca, which was sitting in the bay of the garage, is likely destroyed. The pictures he texted me show a pile of charred timbers sitting on the shell. I can’t believe it. It’s a shit end for a reliable, faithful truck that I was sure would outlast Peer Pressure.
Image pulled from the Chestertown Volunteer FD Facebook page
For anyone following along, Chewbacca was my first Scout, and I secretly sold it to Brian’s wife as a Christmas present for him. He spent a year restoring the whole thing, using a Kentrol tub and new parts wherever possible, and the result was a work of art. Some might say it was a different truck entirely, quoting Theseus’ Paradox, but I always knew her beating heart was the same.
I went into the project convinced I was going to be a ace wrench in no time, though. Surely, even a clumsy and sheltered city boy like myself could learn how to repair and maintain a machine as basic as a tractor.
Andrew Collins over at Jalopnik totals up what a year cost him to own a Scout that he traded for a high-mileage Toyota Tundra. I’d say he made out pretty good.
Peer Pressure has been out and running strong all spring. I haven’t done a thing to her other than keep her running weekly through the winter, and she has responded by staying dependable all year. I haven’t tackled any kind of major project because money and time have been tight. I’ve also not talked to any Scout friends in months; they mostly converse via Facebook which I haven’t been on in over a year. I did have to hop on there last week and found that Wagonmaster Brian is now without a Wagonmaster. He decided to sell it and pick up an Edsel Pacer instead. After the 4th of July I’m going to see if I can organize some beers with the locals and see what’s happening.
On the way home from getting some frozen yogurt last Friday night, I spied a familiar shape parked at a local gas station and swung the car around to get a better look. It was a primer gray ’80 Traveler with fresh Maryland plates, and as I was preparing to shoot a picture, the owner came walking up. We got to talking, and he told me it was a relatively new purchase he’d gotten from out west. I got his card and dropped him a line last week, offering a beer and conversation if he was interested. We’ll see if he reaches out.