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 know International Harvester was toying with a new design for the Scout in the late ’70s, and the pictures I’ve seen of it turned my stomach in disgust. Today I stumbled upon this article, which contained pictures of a prototype I’d never seen before:
Not as ugly as the SSV, but about as bland as a cheese sandwich. Still, if I squint, I can see the Scout II windshield; it looks like they stuck an Astro van nose on the front and just sketched in the rest. And they took the Hoffmeister kink out of the rear window.
Chewbacca outside East Coast Scouts, about 2002 or so. I was looking for parts and (I think) having Eric work on the transmission a bit.
My old buddy Pat, on my wedding day, back in 2003.
I was poking around on our backup server last night looking for some pictures and came across some old shots of Chewbacca in and around the blizzard of ’03. This was one of her shining moments and paradoxically the final nail in her coffin; After digging out there wasn’t anyplace we couldn’t go in 4-wheel drive, but I don’t think she was ever right after bathing in road salt that year.
Little did I know that when I parked yesterday morning, I’d be front row center for an interesting event:
I have just identified the source of the donor bucket seats in Peer Pressure, compliments of Jalopnik.com and a weekly feature run there called Down In The Junkyard. It seems they were originally in a mid-80’s Dodge Shelby Charger, a vehicle produced during the Malaise era of Detroit, where turbocharging a 2.2 liter, 106-hp engine was considered “fast”. The telltale sign: The Shelby logo embroidered on the seats, something I’d never recognized until now. Woof, what a pig. And to think I’ve been seriously considering replacing them with the original seats from Chewbacca (or even a set of donor seats from a PT Cruiser)!
In brighter news, the top is off and stored in the basement for the summer, and the bikini top has returned!
So, this Tuesday, the Scout made her maiden 2010 voyage into the city after having a new water pump installed. As recounted elsewhere, everything went smoothly until the 5-year-old battery decided it was finished, and stranded me in the parking garage after work. Jen came and gave me a jumpstart and I made it home fine, so it’s pretty obvious what the next outlay for the Scout will be.
After that, we move on to the carburetor. The mechanics tightened the Thermoquad down and plugged up a vacuum hose that was open, and the engine sounds a heck of a lot quieter now. They warned me about gas leakage from the carb, though, and suggested a rebuild ASAP, which has been on my radar since the day we got the truck started. I’ve been doing some research into rebuilding the Thermoquad, and from what I’ve read it sounds like a hassle to get dialed in correctly (and moreso to find someone competent enough to do so).
So I think my plan of action will be to buy a new or rebuilt Holley 2300 series and install that in place of the Thermoquad. From what I’ve heard the 2300 is more common, easier to work with, and generally a friendlier unit to n00bs like me. IHOnly North is offering rebuilt carbs for a decent price, and I will definitely give them a ring when I’m ready to swap out what I’ve got.
So having pulled enough parts off my truck to know the original color was a gold metallic (the original spray is evident behind the door panels and under the dash pad), I took a little time to research when that particular only-in-the-70’s color was offered. Paging through IH paint codes this afternoon, I confirmed that particular shade of gold wasn’t offered in 1976, the year my VIN states; it’s actually from 1975. I’m pretty sure it’s the one called “Gold Poly”. And, the grille shell on the front is either a ’71 or a ’72. So I’ve got a ’79 frame, a ’75 body and a ’76 VIN, which makes a lineset ticket all but useless.