Looking through my fuel/mileage notebook and doing the math, I put a total of 2932 miles on the Scout this year.

Total Yearly Miles Miles Minus Nats
2015 580 580
2016 276 276
2017 315 315
2018 1768 631
2019 1972 836
2020 1195 1195
2021 3177 2041
2022 2932 2932

Most of 2022 was spent driving to and from my Father-in-Law’s house to help get him sorted out and haul stuff to and from his house. I went over the bridge to the Eastern Shore a bunch of times, and…I can’t really tell you where else I drove or what else I did. It was kind of a lost year, but at least I got a lot of seat time in the old girl.

Date posted: January 29, 2023 | Filed under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

2022 didn’t go quite as we planned, but I got a remarkable number of things on the list accomplished. The replacement windshield is installed and makes a world of difference. the turn signal is fixed. The spare heater core is finished. And the heater valve is working! With that in mind, here’s the list of goals for 2023, in order of importance and realistic accomplishment:

  • Fix the goddamn wipers. (2019) I still don’t know what the deal is with the wipers or why the motor works but the switch doesn’t, but I’ve now got a third switch to swap in and see if I can get things to work behind the dashboard. If it’s not that, there has to be a melted wire somewhere that I’ll have to chase down in the rat’s nest back there. I can’t spend another year dealing with this dumb situation.
  • Move the rearview mirror up the A pillar. I keep knocking into it when I open the door. it needs to move up and out of the way. This is just drilling and tapping new holes, and sealing up the old ones.
  • Rotate the tires. (2022) This is pretty self-explanatory, and should be easy once I get a decent floor jack.
  • Fix the battery tray. (2021) Super Scout Specialists has new trays in stock, and I’d like to get rid of the ghetto bungee cord I’ve been using for 11 years.
  • Replace the wing window seals and spring hinge. My wing windows are leaky and loose. The gaskets are dry and brittle, and the spring hinges inside the door are both broken. I need to replace the rubber and re-weld the springs so that the windows will stabilize.
  • Swap the gas tanks. I have the original steel tank Peer Pressure came with, and I’ve heard from several places that poly tanks will never seal at the sender properly. I’m inclined to believe this after eight years of suffering through gas fumes and leaks. Having looked at the inside of the tank and cleaned up the outside, there’s a new sender mounted and ready to go. The next step is grounding the tank and checking the wiring before it goes onto the truck, and then actually swapping it out.
  • Get the spare engine on a proper engine stand. The problem isn’t the stand, but how I can lift the engine up onto it. My garage is in no shape to support a chain hoist or any kind of overhead block and tackle, so I’ll have to borrow an engine hoist from somewhere for a 15-minute operation.
  • Buy a Scout Shed. (2022) I spent a bunch of time this fall emptying out my garage attic and moving big bulky parts up there; a lot of my space issues have since been solved. So this might actually move to the completed list…
Date posted: January 23, 2023 | Filed under To-Do List | Leave a Comment »

I got a call out of the blue from the seller of Barn Find 2 on Wednesday night as I was about to walk in the door of my boss’ departure party; he said he’d found the VIN on the door of the truck and wanted to know if I was still interested. Given the fact that I’d looked at it quickly on a cloudy, cold day in December where I lost all sensation in my extremities five minutes after I got out of the car, I figured I’d take another look. Brian was available to join me so we set something up for this morning and drove out there in his shiny new hybrid F150 (the verdict: SWEET).

This time I had two sets of eyeballs on the truck, and what looked passable during the Big Chill looked worse the more we dug into it. The floorpans were welded in place on top, but underneath there was a gap of about 1/8″ between the bottom of the pans and the remainder of the floor. The body was not mounted to the frame; there were no pucks or bolts touching the tub. The welds themselves were garbage. There was more rust all over the body than I remember, and as I got underneath to really look at the frame and undercarriage I realized the rockers weren’t as solid as they’d first looked and that the rear fenders on both sides were worse than I recalled. Brian and I talked it over privately and I decided to walk away again. It’s a $2000 truck at best, and with the extra parts maybe $2500 but nowhere near what he’s asking—and a hell of a lot more work than I’m willing to take on.

So I took the four of us out for brunch, and we had a great time catching up.

 

Date posted: January 21, 2023 | Filed under Friends | Leave a Comment »

I drove to the outskirts of Lancaster, PA to look at another Scout on Sunday. The weather was perfect; dry and sunny, and by the time I got to the location the temperature was warm enough that I didn’t need a winter coat. Google Maps took me the scenic way, through forest and across farmland, and I spent much of the drive out there regretting that I hadn’t driven Peer Pressure. There were so many scenic spots I could have stopped for pictures, I had to remind myself to shut up and enjoy the drive and the day, and just live in the moment.

I had hoped Brian could come with me but our schedules didn’t align with the seller. The Scout had originally been part of a package deal of two, one runner and one parts rig, but he’d sold the parts truck before I got there. He’d then listed both trucks separately for more money than the package, so I was already on the fence before I got there. What I found was better than any of the other trucks I’ve seen recently but not enough for the price he was asking. It ran, and the body was in better shape than the last two, but there were crude metal pans sheet-riveted over the floors and two red bucket seats of unknown origin sitting unattached to the floor. The driver’s door took some coaxing to open and close. The rear bed was wavy in places and not attached to the walls on either side—I couldn’t figure that one out. There was a hardtop off to the side that went with the truck, and it looked relatively solid.

I may regret it later, but I passed on the deal; I feel like the price was a little too high for what was there. The seller was cool and had a barn full of other Internationals—two D series Travelettes, a pair of Terras, and a new Scout II on a trailer ready for rehab. Brian keeps telling me that the right one will come along; I’m going to remain patient and wait until it finds me.

Meanwhile, I had Peer Pressure out for errands yesterday and today, and she ran like a Swiss watch. I’m thankful for the things I have.

Date posted: January 16, 2023 | Filed under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Update: The seller couldn’t find the VIN plate that goes with the truck, and I was unwilling to buy it without a title that matched the chassis, so I passed on the sale.

I was fortunate enough to be the first person to respond to a Marketplace listing the Tuesday before Christmas for a ratty-looking 1969 Scout 800. What caught my eye was the fact that it was listed in Baltimore; turns out it’s right up the road in Owings Mills. The seller and I set up a time to look it over right before the holiday on the coldest fucking day of the year. I bundled up as warm as I could, figuring I’d be out in a field somewhere, but the cold got into my bones quickly the minute I was outside.

He’s got it in a shed behind his house with minimal clearance on either side to see the driver’s sheetmetal, but the pictures online tell most of the story. It’s an 800 with a 6-cylinder AMC 232 that’s been disassembled for structural body work. He cut and formed new floorpans on each side, claiming they’re 12 gauge, and had a guy weld them in place.

He claims the inner rockers were done, but I couldn’t get underneath to see how the stringers or rockers looked. The rear bed floor was replaced, and the side walls and tops were in good shape, but he welded angle steel on the tops of the corners. There’s also a low bulkhead welded in across the rear bed.

From what I could tell the work was done well; it all looks solid and the welds aren’t garbage. There’s no hard top for it, but that’s not a dealbreaker; I’d put a soft top on it and leave it alone anyway.

The only outward rust I see is on the driver’s side rocker behind the B pillar, and the thought of cutting that out and repairing it doesn’t frighten me. The tailcaps are both bent, so I’d need to pull those dents out.

As mentioned before, it’s an AMC 232, a mid-60’s to late ’70’s engine IH offered as an alternative to their homegrown 4- and 8-cylinder options. I didn’t test to see if it spun, but that would be one of the first things to look at on my next visit. For some people this might be a dealbreaker; I don’t mind as long as it’s not either missing or locked up.

He said he had a bunch of parts to go along with it—a hood, two cowls, two extra doors, maybe a front fender, and boxes of parts—but they were in two other locations. We talked it over a bit and he told me I was first in line; he had family obligations after Christmas break but would be available after that. I told him I was definitely interested but wanted to look over the other parts—that’s a big part of the sale—and that I’d want to see the truck out in the sunlight so I can crawl over it.

I drove up to Mt. Airy today to look over the parts he’s got; he’d returned from York with two spare doors and a grille on his flatbed.

On a trailer in a storage lot he’s got two hoods—one rough, with lights cut and mounted to the surface, and the other a patina’d blue in better shape. Under that was a step bumper in good shape.

Next to those was a tailgate which was pretty well rotted at the bottom—more art than functional at this point.

Inside an adjacent trailer was another tailgate in much better shape; apart from a section on the right side the metal looked to be in good shape.

Next to that was the original 1969 cowl, which was pretty much crap.

It’s definitely a project but a lot of the hard stuff has already been done. It looks like hot garbage but that’s never stopped me before; I’d look at buffing off the rattle-can black first to see what’s underneath, and painting it after pulling the dents later. For the price he’s asking it’s a good deal, especially after being cleaned up and made to run again. However, there’s a saying about buying someone else’s project; you never know what’s going to be there and what won’t. For this truck it’s not like there’s a ton of expensive chrome trim or unobtanium plastic that can’t be found; he might not have the original seats but I’m sure I could source some over the next couple of years.

The biggest question now is that of the VIN plate; it’s not present on the firewall of the truck. He has a title but if there’s no VIN plate, I really don’t want to mess with the DMV to sort that mess out. So he’s looking for that and hopefully he can lay hands on it. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

Date posted: January 1, 2023 | Filed under Purchasing | 1 Comment »

One of the guys I met in Austin has a beautiful red Scout 800 that’s been featured in ads for Stetson and some other large brands; he told me he was using an online service to rent it out, which I thought was pretty cool. He told me the name of the site and I soon forgot it in the rush of meeting new people. Fast forward to last week when I was looking for photo reference for a new illustration, and stumbled across Sam’s Scout on a site called Vinty, where he’s been listing it. I don’t know if Peer Pressure is clean enough or stock enough to feature correctly in advertising, but I’m thinking it might be worth a shot. I think I’ll have to shoot a series of clean pictures of her in the spring and get her listed.

Meanwhile, the Threadless storefront has been slowly generating sales; the first deposit came into my long-dormant PayPal account over the weekend from November sales, and soon after that somebody bought two more shirts. At this rate I’ll have made my hourly rate back by the time I’m 73, but I’m not in a huge hurry right now.

Date posted: December 19, 2022 | Filed under Future Plans | Leave a Comment »

A couple of weeks ago, Bennett let the local Scout group know that there was a celebration of life scheduled for our friend Alan, and I was sure to put it on the calendar. We met up at a seafood restaurant outside of Laurel and I walked in about two minutes before him. Alan’s family had a private room set up in back and we introduced ourselves to his sister and brother in law, who were lovely and introduced us around. We were joined by John B. and his wife, and later Ray and his family stopped in; we spent the next two hours swapping stories and catching up. I met Alan’s dad and told him the story of when I first got Peer Pressure and couldn’t sort out the throttle linkage: Alan immediately contacted me to tell me the part I had was for an automatic, and sent me the correct part that week. I said that only Alan would know that, and only Alan would have the part sitting in his stash. His dad seemed to appreciate that story, because he got a little misty. On the wall behind us a slideshow was playing, full of pictures from his early life and a bunch of scouting adventures. There were a few pictures where we realized that several of the subjects were gone, and that was a little sobering. We’re not getting any younger.

As usual, the Scout guys were the last to leave. I said my goodbyes and fired up the truck; the heat blew warm and the engine was full of life. I said some quiet thanks to the Sky Pilot and pointed toward home.

Date posted: December 18, 2022 | Filed under Design | Leave a Comment »

Pictures never tell the whole story, and what looks halfway decent via the Interwebs is always worse in person. There are no exceptions to this rule. When you get five shots of a decent-looking truck, you know there’s something lurking that might sour the deal: square feet of rust covered by carpet, an engine block with a big hole, a dead body in the trunk, live possums—but you’ve got to go look anyway.

Brian sent me a link on Sunday morning for a Scout that didn’t look half bad, was in my price range, was relatively close by, and had a clear title. The pictures showed a tired-looking ’61 Scout 80 in about four different colors, and from what I could see the rust wasn’t too bad. I messaged the seller, we talked on the phone, and I made plans to run up and see it. It was in southern PA about an hour and twenty minutes from my house, so I hit the road at four and made it up there, through traffic, by 6. The seller shook my hand, showed me the title, and we walked down past some horse barns to the back of his work shed where it sat.

Surrounded by piles of farm implements, tools, boxes, and other stored items, sat a rusty Scout. I started by looking at the outer skin, trying to figure out if the body was worth saving. The driver’s rocker was pretty crispy, and the lower edge was perforated in multiple places. Toward the back the rear rocker was bent upwards, but could probably be adjusted back downwards with a hammer or some careful pulling. The tailcap was a different story. Someone had backed into it and then used a slaphammer to try to pull the dents out—with no success. Tailcaps for this era Scout are as common as dinosaurs, so that’s a problem.

The tailgate was in good shape from the outside, and the other tailcap was OK. On the passenger’s side the rear quarter looked OK and the rocker under the door was in better shape, but everything was filled with mud. The front fender was in decent shape but none of the panels met up. Neither of the doors opened or closed correctly; this could have been because the latches were bad, or it could have been because the body was folding in on itself like a giant taco.

Inside, the cab was maybe a 4/10. The driver’s floor was rusty with some pinholes but the passenger’s side was perforated 2-3″ in places, and definitely a lot worse. A bench seat of indeterminate origin sat on the floor but was not attached to anything; under that the floors looked OK. The bulkhead and dash were in decent shape, and all the dials and indicators were present.

The rear bed was rusted through along the passenger and driver’s side seams at the wall and wavy at the back, but other than that not in bad shape.

The hardtop was intact, but there were several holes in the roof from a rack or some other installation, and the passenger window was missing. The inside roof was rusted pretty badly.

Under the hood there was a 4-cylinder engine with a one-pot carb which turned freely. The heating elements were present but the hoses were gone; this Scout was early enough that it had a box plenum up against the firewall vs. a heater box on the inner fender (I have one of these stored up in the rafters of my garage).

Down under the cowl there was a winch welded to the front of the frame; an inspection under the frame showed that it was a PTO driven unit connected to the front differential transfer case.

I talked with the owner a while and he warmed up as I looked things over; he wasn’t aware the winch was a PTO until I showed him the linkage. We talked Scouts for a while and I told him I’d have to think about it. It’s just on the edge of being a project I could handle but I think it’s still too much to take on; there’s more rust than I can manage right now and a lot of expensive sheet metal work to tackle. If I had a spare garage bay I’d feel much better about buying it and tucking it away while I got the parts together, but I don’t and I can’t at this point. And I think that there are better options for an extra $3-5K out there, stuff that’s much further along but still in need of help. So I’ll keep looking.

Date posted: November 30, 2022 | Filed under Purchasing | 2 Comments »

I had time to myself today, so I went out to try and solve the mystery of the dead lightbulb behind my heater controls. Now that I actually have heat it would be nice to see what the controls say; at one time I knew exactly how they worked by muscle memory, but that was in the days of Chewbacca and I got the heat in this Scout working only recently. To get to the one bulb on top of the control box I found it easiest to pull the fascia plate off the dashboard and with it the radio; this is the best way of getting back there without cutting a hole in the firewall and going in from the back. The bulb installed was weird, in that it has two wires going in and was zip-tied in place at some point. All three of the spare dashboards I own have one wire and no zip-tie. Additionally strange is that this bulb is different than all of the other bulbs in the dash: it’s a 5GE 57 bayonet (or some equivalent) so I have to source a new one from somewhere—all of the spares I own didn’t work.

On the subject of fascia plates, I’ve been thinking about dressing up the one I’ve got or replacing it, now that the rest of the cabin looks better. I own five in total, the one in the truck and these:

The chewed up green one is from the Flintstone Scout. I don’t remember where I got the woodgrain one from. The bottom two are from other rigs that I can’t remember (the good green one is left over from Chewbacca days). I’m hesitant to touch the two good ones so I’m going to see if I can use the better of the two bad ones and make a clean hole for a DIN9 receiver. That’ll be tomorrow’s project, along with sourcing the correct lightbulb.

Walking the dog through the ‘Ville today I noticed a familiar green Scout parked at my neighbor’s house. The house belongs to a nice man named Steve, who passed away a couple of years ago, but I’m still in touch with his son. I sent him an email this afternoon asking after him and to see if he needs help getting her roadworthy—the last time we traded messages he was having problems with the carb and I don’t know if he got them sorted out. I sent along info for the guy who did the brakes on PP last year, and hopefully I’ll hear back from him sometime soon.

Date posted: November 26, 2022 | Filed under Friends, Repairs, Sightings | Leave a Comment »

Spurred on by an Instagram post by another Scouter/designer, I got off my ass on Tuesday and finished building out a set of Scout II grille designs I started sometime last year. I put them up on Wednesday and got the highest number of likes on any post all year. It hasn’t translated to millions yet, but I’m hopeful that when I post the second set—Scout 80/800 grilles—I’ll get some more eyeballs, and maybe some more sales.

Date posted: November 24, 2022 | Filed under Design | 1 Comment »