Weekly Roundup, 7.21.23

I had to make some space in the garage on Sunday after we got back, and took the opportunity to break out the wire wheel and clean off both seat bases.

After a coat of Rust Encapsulator I brushed on some black chassis coating and let them cure.

Monday we dropped the Scout off at a mechanic for them to replace the manifold and gasket.

Out in the garage I looked over the two seat bases and test fit them in the truck. The rear base will need some bracing but it’s definitely usable. Then, looking for someplace to store parts, I hauled the rear bench out and put it in the truck. It’s really not in bad shape at all, and it looks right at home in there.

The new door cards, behind all of the grease and rust, were originally the same gray as the ones in the truck. I test fit the drivers side to test a hunch, and I was right: there are two holes present to mount an armrest behind the door handle which line up with the door cards. So I’ll have to keep an eye out for those in the future.

I started cataloging parts and identifying what they are. Two of the door assemblies are clearly from a later truck, and they’re both for the right side, so I’ll see if I can resell them at some point. The rear door hinges are in good shape, and I started soaking them in PBblaster to remove various bolts from the assemblies. The glass went up into the attic. I’ve got to pick up a third bin for spare parts and keep working on storage solutions. One thing for sure is that the two PT cruiser seats left over from the Scout are going to the dump instead of taking up space.

Thursday after work I went right outside and decided it was time to lose the platform and old seats. I don’t have a ton of free space in the garage, and what better location to put it all than in the truck. Plus, I wanted to see what the floor looked like underneath.

First the seats came out; they were held in by eight bolts each, and the four rear inboard bolts on both seats were inaccessible underneath, so I had to use the grinder to cut them off. With those gone it took a little while to free up the platform and pull that out; underneath I found decades of dirt, one mouse nest, and some garbage.

After donning a mask and cleaning all that out I disassembled the rear platform base and the extender on the back step.

The floors are all in fantastic shape. The worst part is on the driver’s rear step by the door: water was probably getting in through the door seal and pooling between the wood and the metal. I should be able to cut that part out and weld new metal in. Under the driver’s seat there’s mainly surface rust which can be ground out pretty easily, and a few other small areas that can be cleaned up.

And when those seats are gone, I’ve got to figure out how to get a 4×8′ sheet of 18 gauge steel home from the supplier in Elkridge next week. I purchased it over the phone Thursday afternoon for pickup, and hopefully I’ll have the Scout back by the end of the week. With that and a $30 pneumatic metal nibbler I should be able to start welding things back together on the truck.

Practice

Here’s a set of practice tack welds I put down on a sheet of 20 ga. metal this evening. I think, after some trial and error, I’ve got a good setting for this thickness. Most of the metal on the Travelall is between 16 and 18 ga. so I’ll have to do more practice with a new sheet of that before I touch the truck.



Overall I’m pretty pleased; on this last piece there was no burnthrough and I got solid welds down the line. You can see the places where I hadn’t snipped the blob at the end of the wire—I’m going to buy a spring-loaded wirecutter especially for this. I was rushing things so the metal did warp a little, but when I do the truck right I’ll definitely take my time and space things out.

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A Guy Named Puddin

There’s a guy on YouTube who started a channel a couple of years ago, and kicked it off with the purchase and overhaul of a ’68 Travelall. He’s got a lot more time and experience than I do, so he swapped powerplants and put a modern front suspension under it, but there are a lot of good videos with specific repairs he made that I’ve found helpful and inspiring.

The front teardown:

Building floorpans:

New floorpan and seat mounts:

Rear floor fabrication and install:

Upgrading the wiper motor:

Hidden storage boxes under the rear bench:

Small details:

Some random assembly work:

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#Goals

Brian, tired of me texting him various Marketplace links, suggested I make a vision board for what I’m looking for in a new project, which I thought was a pretty good idea. My search has centered on one of two types of truck; I’d like either a Scout 80/800 or a ‘61-‘68 C-series pickup.

I’ve always liked the look of the original Scout; it wasn’t until I’d done the research to buy Chewbacca in ’96  that I learned about the earlier model. It looks great with or without a top, and even better without doors; I like the utilitarian vibe and would actually prefer something as close to 60’s spec as possible—wheels, tires, suspension, etc. but with a rollbar, 3-point seatbelts and maybe an upgraded powerplant. As a platform designed in the late ’50’s, it’s even more utilitarian than the Scout II, little more than an engine, transmission, steering wheel and a seat. As they iterated on the design it got things like power steering and electric wipers and a choice of engines, but the majority of them were basic, no-nonsense trucks.

This is a nice 1966 2WD with a 3 on the tree.

With the pickup, my favorite are the final design iterations of the C-series trucks. They started out with a face only a mother could love but were restyled in ’61 to a much more pleasing design, and the improvements to the dashboard and interior made a huge difference. There’s something delightfully ’60’s about the styling, and the interior is also no-nonsense. There have been a few D-series trucks I’ve liked but they are usually not my cup of tea, and it’s hard to love the cab design.

For a Scout, I’d like to find a body that’s not Swiss cheese. If the floorpans or rear bed are holed, I can work with that. If the rockers are gone, or if the outside sheet metal is damaged, I’ll have to really think about it. Early scout sheet metal is rare, and if I can’t source replacements I’d be fabricating what I need. If it’s missing doors, that’s not ideal but it’s ok. I don’t care about seats. If it has a top, that’s great but it’s not a dealbreaker either—but havng a top usually means it hasn’t been completely exposed to the elements for twenty years.

This Scout is very local but I’ve never heard back from the seller, even though the ad is still up on Marketplace. It would be worth the short drive and small sum of money just to drag it home and see what’s savable on the chassis.

I’d like for it to have enough sheet metal that I can cut away the bad stuff and still weld good metal to; if the cancer is so bad there’s nothing to work with, that’s a hard pass.

This Scout is in Maine, which is too far to drive just to look over a worthless carcass.

In terms of running gear, the ideal would be a V8 installed, but I don’t care if it’s running. a 4-cylinder will take more modification to fit a larger engine, but isn’t a dealbreaker. It’ll have the weaker Dana axles as standard equipment but that’s not an issue either. And I don’t think many early Scouts came with an automatic, so a manual would be perfect, even though it’ll be a non-synchro first gear. I prefer a stick, and I like the added bonus of theft deterrence. I will avoid any cobbled together suspension mods; if someone has attempted a spring over or backwoods lift kit, I’ll walk away.

This one looked very good from the pictures but was shot through with rust almost everywhere.

In terms of looks I’d prefer if I didn’t have to deal with some asshole’s spray can camo job, or a full Rhinoliner treatment over the paint. The more patina the better. If the original paint is half worn away, that’s actually perfect. Anytime fresh paint has been applied the price goes up by the thousands, and I almost always don’t like the color they’ve chosen anyway.

Running or not, I’d like for it to be within a three hour drive from here, but I won’t mind if I have to go a little further for the right truck.

For a pickup, the ideal is a 2wd full-length with a V8. The key is the cab. I want something with clean cowl vents, as that’s the hardest area to fix. The second hardest place would be the cab corners which are all compound curves.

The glass isn’t impossible to find, but not cheap. If the floors are holed, that’s fine, I wouldn’t practice cutting and replacing them—within reason. I’d like for the fenders and hood to be in decent shape, as the sheet metal isn’t easy to find either.

This one looked very good from the pictures, but when he sent me detail shots it got very ugly very quickly.

For the bed, I’d like to find a full length example, either fleet or a stepside bed. If there’s some damage, that’s ok, I don’t mind cutting that out and repairing it, and ultimately I’d strip the whole thing and bedline the shit out of it anyway.

This truck was for sale last winter, and I should have jumped on it when I could. It’s pretty much perfect in my eyes.

For the running gear, there are a million different possibilities. I don’t really mind any engine variation, but if it’s an inline 6 that will make replacing it a little harder. I do want a manual, and in a perfect world it will be a floor shift, not on the column.

I’d love to find one with power steering. The trailer special I looked at in PA was the perfect drivetrain combo- a V8 floor shift manual with power steering, but the clutch was fucked and the engine was locked.

Here’s the Holy Grail: a crewcab C series in fantastic shape. If I had $16K of disposable income I’d already own it.

For the looks of the thing, my ideal is the same as the Scout—original paint in any condition is preferred, and actually the more faded the better. I don’t mind some dents but I don’t want a demo derby loser either.

This is a fancy model; look at all the chrome spears on each side. It’s a 2WD based on the hubcaps.

The goal is to own something I’m not afraid to drive; a 100-point paint job would ramp my anxiety up enough that I’d never take it out of the garage. Scrapes and dings and patches aren’t discouraged. I’d like something that looks well-loved but not like it’s held together with duct tape.

The best case would be a roller with minimal modifications from stock, where I can get in and fix rust and damage at my leisure while hopefully keeping it running. I’d like to get whatever I buy into resell shape, or something I can had off to Finn for her high school vehicle. Brian is still moving forward with his plan to electrify vehicles, and with either one I’d entertain either an EV or an LS swap happily.

Several possible trucks have come and gone; there have been a couple that are 75% of what I want but have some things I’m not interested in, or the rust is too much to deal with. I’m going to bide my time and be as patient as possible, and hopefully the right truck will come along.

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Obession Update

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.

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#goals

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.

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Little Red Pickup

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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.

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Hubris

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.

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Top 9

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.

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