In between Scouts, nine years ago, I went up to White Marsh to look over a Scout on Craigslist. What I found was a rough example with a lot of rust, bondo, and primer. It was a non-runner, up on a trailer, and the victim of questionable aftermarket mods, the best of which was a chain steering wheel and skull shifter knob. I snapped a picture and left.
Imagine my surprise when a Scout showed up on Craigslist this week with the same shift knob. A little comparison shows it’s the same Scout with a new steering wheel. The rest of it looks exactly the same: rust, bondo and primer.
I didn’t buy it then and I wouldn’t buy it now.
I ordered a lineset ticket for the VIN on Peer Pressure a month ago or so, and it came in this afternoon. I always figured the plate was not original to the body, because it’s screwed in with sheet metal screws, but I was never really sure. From what it says, the original shell was built on August 18, 1975, in Kansas City for Bob Post Chrysler Plymouth in Aurora, Colorado. It was painted Solar Yellow, Code 4410 (a 1976 color), and it had a 304 V-8 with an automatic transmission.
My body shell was originally painted Gold Poly, a 1975 color, and as mentioned before, is not original to the frame. This basically just confirms it. My only shot at identifying it now is finding the VIN chalked on the body somewhere.
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!