Live Auctions

1948 International Pickup: Rust or No Rust?

1948 International K2

As I read advertisements for older vehicles, it constantly amazes me how many definitions of “rust” there are. For example, let’s look at this cool-looking pickup, currently for sale here on craigslist in Monterey, California for $3,500 but the seller is “taking offers”. Believe it or not, this truck is stated to have “NO RUST”! The next sentence in the ad states “that’s right, surface rust only.” Now I don’t know about you, but the last time I checked (and believe me, there’s plenty of it on the cars I own), “rust” consists of iron oxide, it’s generally brown, and it looks just like what I see on the hood of this truck. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been to see a vehicle that was “rust free” only to see that body filler has been applied directly over rust holes, or seeing rust along every body seam, or the seller stating that they hadn’t noticed that hole before.

1948 International Pickup

Ok, rant over. This actually is a pretty solid truck, with an unusual for the time short bed. The original engine, which “starts with a backfire”, and original transmission add to the desirability. There are a few parts missing, such as the original seat, door handles and headlight rims, but I found handles here and headlight rims here in just a few moments of searching, so completing the truck shouldn’t be hard. Let us know your feelings about this truck and rust characterizations in the comments, and be sure and tell us if you go buy this truck!


  1. Mark E

    Having lived in Minnesota most of my life I consider myself an expert on rust. And YES, that is rust. The nice thing about that pickup is that there is no cancer, or cancerous rust on it. Cancerous rust eats holes in the body parts. Even now with modern cars you see it here on the salty roads of Minnesota. But yes, cancer aside, if you put a brand new vehicle down in the mojave desert and let it sit, it would eventually get surface rust, like this truck has, once the surface coatings wore down to the metal.

  2. Don Sicura

    Maybe he meant to say that the rust was free!

  3. Bobsmyuncle

    My particular favourite is when age is brought into the equation; “very little rust for the age”.

    Cool old truck here, lots to work with especially if you like the patina look.

  4. JW454

    To some people (not me) there is no rust until you have a hole that you can throw an average size cat threw.

  5. Kenzo

    If I lived a lot closer and not in the pacific northwest I’d be there in a heartbeat

  6. Howard A Member

    I’m sure what they meant was no rust through. This is a great example of a late 40’s KB-1. (or KB-2?, I think it’s a 1) Same cab as the K model that carried us through the war, just different grill. Wiki claims IH made 122,000 KB-1’s and KB-2’s between 1947 and 1949, so these aren’t really rare, every farm had one. Floors and cab corners were a bad spot for these, and this one looks pretty solid. I’m pretty sure this style box was common. I had a friend with a KB-1 with a box like this and a tag saying “Knox” equipment. Not sure if Knox supplied the boxes on these or not. Still, a very good example of a rapidly vanishing vehicle. I found it humorous to see there were no K-9’s or K-13’s in the truck lineup. IH didn’t want a dog or unlucky truck in their lineup.

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi Howard. I agree with you on the rust assessment, as well as nearly every farm having at least one. This one is definitely a KB1. It was also available (and more common) with a longer bed, which I understand was the KB2. The bed carries over from ’37 and the D series. I was told the rear fenders did too although I think IH altered them slightly after the war. Maybe not.

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Here’s a ’40 (’37-’40+1/2) and I’m sure it’s got the same bed.

      • Howard A Member

        Hi geomechs, thanks for the pics. The “D” series is my favorite. The KB-1 (1/2 ton) and the KB-2(3/4 ton) looked very similar except for the box length. I can’t find if the KB-1 had a different rear suspension than the KB-2 ( you know, like Ford’s 3/4 ton setup over the 1/2 ton). Clearly, when trucks were trucks!

  7. DT

    In California ,you have many micro climates,It can be a Scorching desert or Deep snow. In Monterey you have ocean influance and plenty of salt accompanying it.Ive had cars rust from the inside out. Rust is a completely different animal in the west compared to the east.

  8. N2oldcars

    I just came in from working on our 1942 K-1, it has the long box as most the K & KB`s we`ve owned. The short boxes are the rare ones as most farmers and workers wanted the bigger box. And we were at the National auto and truck museum in Auburn, IN. and they have a display of International trucks and say that they made 122,000 trucks from 1947 thru 1949. Cool truck.

  9. Karl

    Surface rust is an entirely different animal from through-and-through rust, and although I see some lengthy sessions with an air sander, there’s nothing here too frightening. However, I agree that the term “rust-free” has some seriously variable meanings, just like the other car-selling lies (I mean terms) such as “clean title”, “low mileage”, “I’m selling it for a friend”, “there is no title but that’s no problem”, “all the parts are in there”, etc. etc. etc.

    • JW454

      Two things I find with the “low miles” part of sale ads…. They put Low Miles but don’t put the miles in the ad. second, is when they put “low miles” for a 5 year old car then say “ONLY 180K”. For a 5 year old car that’s not “Low Miles”! My truck will be 20 years old next month and it has 67000 miles on it. If it was for sale would I have to say “No Miles”?

  10. George

    I’ve never seen this one in a two tone but I like it. If I had one of these I would have the old 3 diamond logo on the doors to emulate the Product Minitures prom model of the day.

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi George. I saw paint jobs similar to this one pop up during the 50s but I can’t say I’ve seen a tow-tone on a K series. I don’t know if IH still had this program when the K’s were out but IH did have a demonstrator program with the D’s. The trucks were painted white with red fenders. From what I understand they weren’t for sale although some made it out to the end users anyways. Our local Navistar dealer has a substantial collection of IH trucks but he wasn’t sure if any K’s came out with that scheme.

  11. jim s

    i can not get the link to work for me but based on the photos on this site i see some rust. i also see a truck waiting to be put back to work. so if you want/need just a truck ( not a fancy one with a lot of extras ) this is a interesting. no need to worry about the paint or dents. just make it safe and have fun. great find

  12. George

    Hi Geomechs. That may explain why during the early AMT 3 in 1 kit beginnings when I started “modifying” my existing model collection I painted my 49 IH white with red fenders and whitewalls although I actually think I was inspired by a 40 Ford pickup I spotted in a local paint shop. I’m from a coal mining area of Indiana and IH was a popular make there and I even went to a pancake breakfast open house at the local dealer where I first saw one of the double windshield cab-overs.

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