I’ve been scouring the classifieds for the last six months, looking for some kind of a project vehicle to work on. Peer Pressure has been running smoothly all summer, and I’ve been hesitant to mess with anything (the First Rule of driving an antique vehicle: if it’s running, don’t fiddle with it) but I’m looking for a project I can tackle on the side to scratch a couple of different itches. It’s gotten to the point where there are some nights that I wake up and spend an hour going over the details of a project I don’t even own.

The current market reflects a wide range of options and prices. There are factory-fresh trailer queens available for high five figures, as well as piles of rust for scrap value; and then there are people who think a clapped-out shitbox buried in a field is suddenly worth thousands.

I started obsessing about pickup trucks last year when I was working on the schoolbus, and that kicked back in when I was doing a lot of hauling at my FIL’s house. A pickup would solve a lot of problems: all of the debris and crap is contained outside the cab of the vehicle; the bed is larger and can hold more stuff than the Scout. Several pickups have come and gone, but the right truck within the right distance and right price range hasn’t appeared yet.

Ideally, I’m looking for something in the ~$2K range. I don’t need for it to run (I’d actually prefer it didn’t) and I don’t need for it to be complete. If it’s a pickup, I’d like for the body to be in decent shape, the glass to be present, and the hidden sections of the cab to be solid. If I’m looking at a Scout, I’d like to see the outer body in decent shape, but if the floors are crusty, I can deal with that—I’d actually like to practice welding using that as the project.

There’s a guy who listed a Scout 800 on Marketplace about three weeks ago. He posted pictures of a topless, doorless blue Scout sitting in a forest with plants growing in the rear bed. It looks mostly complete otherwise, and it would be the perfect project vehicle—at least through the photos presented—if only the seller would respond to me. I’ve messaged him about eight times since he posted it, but it’s not been taken down and I’ve heard nothing from him. It’s only miles from here and it’s something I could tow home with a dolly trailer; the price is perfect. It looks exactly the way I want it to; I’m not interested in perfect paint and laser-straight panels.

I guess what I’m looking for is something I can tear down (within reason) and not worry about having to get it back on the road by the end of the weekend; I’d love to practice welding skills on the floor of that ratty Scout and get it sturdy enough to drive, then take it over to Brian’s and use it as a testbed for an EV conversion. I really want to buy some metal and bend it and start shaping things with it.

Date posted: August 17, 2022 | Filed under Inspiration | Leave a Comment »

I saw this lovely ’72 Scout on Marketplace yesterday and grabbed a couple of the pictures. This is a beautiful shade of green, and the grille/wheel combination works perfectly. I think the only way it could get better is if the top was white, leaning further into the ’70’s vibe.

BTW, The guy wants $42,000 for it.

Date posted: August 9, 2022 | Filed under Inspiration | Leave a Comment »

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I’ve been keeping an eye on the classifieds for months now, looking for a particular kind of truck to appear. I’ve always liked the lines of the C model IH pickups of the 60’s; there’s something very unique and interesting about the shape of the cab, how it meets with the hood, and how the lights and grille were adapted over the years to fit the lines of the truck. Both the square and stepside beds look good, and I’d be happy with either one; the longer stepside beds feature a divot in the driver’s wheel well to fit a spare—a feature that originates with roadsters of the 1920’s with spare wheels mounted behind the front fenders.

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The interiors are spartan and utilitarian, but there’s a real nice design language around the later dashboard design, and the non-linear, organic shape of the inside door cards is very 60’s. In short, I’d love to have one of these, and it’s been on my mind a lot in the last couple of months.

I wrote about the last one to catch my eye late last year, but I waited too long and the listing disappeared. On Saturday a little red 1100B appeared out in East Baltimore for a low price, and I sent Brian a text with the listing:

After some back and forth with the seller, I drove out to look at it Sunday evening.

Having really looked over some of the pictures before arranging the meet, I knew what to expect, but as always, seeing things in person is so much better. This truck actually has a lot going for it; the 6-cylinder IH engine sounded good even though the seller couldn’t keep it idling without staying on the gas. The rear bed is in decent shape except for some rust holes in the center and dinged-up rear caps. The tailgate is rusty in several places but does open and close. The back of the cab is in good shape. The doors are decent, close correctly, and the rockers and sills are in excellent shape. There’s a hole the driver’s side floor. And everything is there except for the headliner. The front of the cab is crispy, though—where the cab meets the fenders is rough and the fenders themselves are junk. The front valance is rough. It looks like someone parked it with the nose hanging outside a garage door, and all of the weathering happened in front of the windshield.

For the motivated buyer it might be a good project—but there were enough strikes against it that I decided to pass. If the cab had been solid, I could have found two replacement fenders. If it was a floor shift instead of a three-speed column I might have looked twice. If the bed and fenders were in better shape, it would have been worth buying to wait for a donor cab. But this wasn’t the truck for me. I’ll keep looking, and maybe the right one will show up.

Date posted: June 27, 2022 | Filed under Inspiration | 1 Comment »

This interesting specimen showed up recently in my usual Scout sales feed, and I almost spit out my coffee when I read it. This “Inernational” is a work of art. It looks like the rockers on either side are held together with Elmer’s glue and Ritz crackers; the interior looks like a bear was trapped inside and ate the cushions for breakfast. Naturally, the owner spent money on the most important elements and put a stupid-looking set of wheels on it. I’ve heard of a lot of carbs in my day but a Daytona is not one of them, and not for an IH engine.

He’s right, you will definitely be the only one around with anything close to this.

Date posted: April 14, 2022 | Filed under Inspiration | Leave a Comment »

I’ve been considering a switch to my Instagram account to split out the Scout into its own account for a while now. Looking at the Top 9 results from this year, I think my mind is made up.

Date posted: January 1, 2022 | Filed under Inspiration | Leave a Comment »

Looking through my fuel/mileage notebook, and doing some revised math, I put a total of 3177 miles on the Scout this year. Now that I’ve fine-tuned the ratio calculation, I’ve updated the averages table from earlier this year to truly reflect the miles driven:

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

It certainly does feel like I’ve put more miles on her this year; from another Ohio trip to a visit out to the Scout Guru’s garage in Rehobeth to parts hunting in Western Maryland to multiple trips out to Chestertown, I’d say she’s gotten a hell of a workout.

Date posted: December 22, 2021 | Filed under Inspiration | Leave a Comment »

I ran across an auction for a Scout in Gold Poly the other day, and grabbed the photos while they were online. This is exactly what my tub looked like from the factory complete with a true ’75 grille:

Minus the west coast mirrors and black aftermarket wheels, of course. This rig even has the chrome trim strips, which mine was drilled for (Chewbacca did not have this exotic decoration). This one also has a factory step bumper, which Peer Pressure did not.

As much as I despise the purple, I think I like it better than Gold Poly. And I’m much happier with a ’72-73 grille than the odd ’75 grille design.

I also saw this gold ’75 at Nationals this year, parked several rigs down the line from me:

Gold poly 1975 Scout II

Gold with a white top and Rallye wheels—I like that look a lot more. And interestingly the grille surround is silver as well, something they did on the ’71-’72’s from the factory.

Date posted: October 20, 2021 | Filed under Inspiration | Leave a Comment »

On my way out of D.C. yesterday I fell in behind this engineering masterpiece, and many questions were asked:

  • What is that bar those shocks are connected to?
  • What is that bar connected to?
  • Do the bars act sort of like torsion suspension along with the springs, to slightly soften what must be a kidney-punching ride?
  • How did this man add leaf springs and what are those leaf spring hangers connected to?
  • How does this handle at speed?

I mean, it’s drivable, as it made it up to the District from South Carolina, but damn.

Date posted: July 20, 2021 | Filed under Inspiration | Leave a Comment »

I walked out to the garage on Saturday fully expecting to fire up the Scout and go for some supplies, and…the starter barely cranked over. All the air drained out of me like a leaky pool float. Annoyed, I put the trickle charger on the battery with the cables to the truck disconnected, and took care of some housework. An hour later, it still wouldn’t crank, so I put them back on and waited two hours—with the same result. I thought I’d try swapping the old starter out for the new one in the off chance that was the issue, so I put the tow strap on the CR-V and pulled the Scout out of the garage so that I could take the tire off and have level ground to work on. I’m getting pretty fast at swapping starters out, and I’ve now added a 9mm wrench for the ignition lead to my toolkit.

That, of course, did not change anything, so I put the smaller Honda battery in the Scout and found that it fired right up.

At this point, I’ve got two possible culprits:

  1. There’s a parasitic drain on the battery from something that has suddenly appeared; perhaps a critter got into the wiring in the last couple of weeks.
  2. I mistakenly reversed the polarity of the trickle charger and messed the battery up.

Because time was of the essence, I figured I’d solve for #2 and bought another new battery, which was not a cheap solution—but I didn’t have time to chase down wiring issues with other projects waiting. Once I put the new battery in, she fired right up. I let her sit overnight and she started easily on Sunday morning, so I put about 20 miles on her running errands.

On my way, I spied a new Scout sitting at the shop up the street, so I drove up to the back lot and peeked around. He’s moved the stuff that was there and pulled in some new trucks: the thing that caught my eye at once was a beautiful, beat up Metro that I think I’ve seen online in classifieds.

There was a red Scout that looked good from one side and kind of terrible from another—minus axles, engine, and front clip, and covered in interesting speed parts stickers. The inner fenders were in really nice shape but the more I looked the sketchier it got.

Near that was a 1980 in rust-colored primer, which looked like it was in very good shape from the outside. Peeking inside showed it was a manual with bucket seats, but I didn’t see any diesel badges.

Conscious that I was trespassing, I was careful to stay away from them as much as possible, shoot some quick pictures, and then leave quietly. I figure driving a Scout up to see other Scouts means I’m not just some rando, but I don’t want to piss anyone off, and it’s not hard to find the guy in the purple Scout around here. The rest of the trip went without a hitch, and I was able to slide 4 sheets of 4’x8′ beadboard in the back, using several bits of scrap wood to make sure nothing got scratched or dented.

The plan now is to let her sit in the garage until Thursday with the new battery connected, and if she starts without a problem I’ll call this fixed. If she doesn’t, then I’ve got to pull her back out and chase down a parasitic drain, the concept of which does not fill me with joy.

Date posted: May 3, 2021 | Filed under Inspiration, Repairs | Leave a Comment »

I stopped in to the Harbor Freight and picked up the cheapest auto-darkening helmet they had along with some small welding magnets, but the guy at our local Home Depot rental counter looked confused when I told him they offered welders on the website, and assured me they didn’t have any. So I’ll have to take a day off, go to our rental outlet, which isn’t open on weekends, and get one there.

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Sunday was supposed to be wet all day but shaped up to be sunny and warm, so I took advantage of it and pulled the roof off the truck. This year I’m modifying the setup in the garage a little to move the top backwards so that I can pull the truck in a little further, but I need another set of ratchet straps and a 2×3″ to finish it up. We then took a ride to the Home Depot with the top off and the entire family enjoyed the sunshine. I didn’t have time to pull out any of the soft top hardware and install it, so next weekend I have to decide which color I want this spring: black, nutmeg, or tan?

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Otherwise, she’s running smoothly. There’s an intermittent squeal from the power steering belt that alarms me, so I’ll put some belt dressing on that to see if it helps at all. The manifold bolt I replaced makes a huge difference in the engine note; everything is much quieter now. She is being a little finicky on hot starts—it takes some cranking to get her to catch, which tells me there’s something in the carb that needs adjusting.

Date posted: April 12, 2021 | Filed under Inspiration | Leave a Comment »