1971 International Travelall: 17k Original Miles?

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This 1971 International Harvester Travelall here on eBay is a former school bus that the seller believes has only 17,000 miles on it. Normally, I quickly dismiss such claims due to flaky odometers but given its former use, it may be possible that this truckster just did local travel for school children and was retired to the field after many years of short-distance trips. 

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There was a time when my school bus was a converted Chevy Suburban. By “converted” I mean “painted yellow.” There wasn’t much done to transform these ancient SUVs into municipal vehicles, and I’d personally want to retain this Travelall’s identity as much as possible. Refresh the school bus lettering on the roof and see if that Big Bird paint will come back to life with a good buffing.

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Now, the mileage claim: the sellers put the low odometer reading together with the truck’s quiet operation as a potential indication the motor is still quite fresh. That’s a big leap to make, but given how many ex-fire department, parks department and other municipal vehicles we’ve seen with super low miles, there is a possibility this Travelall is barely broken in. What do you think?

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The rig doesn’t appear all that rusty and the manual transmission is an unusual find in such a utilitarian vehicle. I can’t imagine trying to pick up kids, monitor their behaviors and operate the stick of such an unwieldy vehicle. The seller is including spare parts and an extra rear door to replace the one that’s dented, but the only damaged door I see is the front passenger section. The $3,000 Buy-it-Now seems pretty fair, and if it’s high, I suspect it’s only by a few hundred bucks. How would you restore this school-bus Travelall?

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Comments

  1. ydnar

    Being 4X4 will help bring the ask price, other than that, I say no way.

  2. Dave Wright

    I think it is all the money………and 17k orignal miles is rediculous. A 4X4 school bus picking up kids in rural Lander Wyoming would have more miles than that in 90 days. I drove a similar truck for several years. Good truck, but had difficulty passing a gas station, of course mine had a 392 and an automatic. This is more likely a 345.

  3. Dolphin Member

    No chance this has the 17K *original* miles the seller claims. It hasn’t just been exposed out in a field. It’s a beat up old school bus. I don’t know what you’d use it for, unless you need an old school bus and you don’t mind a beat up one.

  4. JW

    The seller states it was either a ambulance or a school bus DUH it’s school bus yellow and it has painted across the top SCHOOL BUS !!! I have only a 10th grade education so when I see people I assume have more education than me put ads on craigslist or ebay that are just plain stupid I get irritated. I guess a piece of paper will not make you a genius but it will get you a higher paying job.

  5. Frankie Paige

    When I see fire trucks, police cars, ambulances, hearses, school buses driving around they are washed regularly, maintained regularly and do not have a bunch of dents, scratches, so no, I don’t believe the seller, it just doesn’t make sense. County, city owned vehicles are well cared for.

  6. That Guy

    A family friend had two Travelalls when I was a teenager – one of this vintage, another about 10 years older, and I drove them both numerous times. They are trucks in every sense of the word. First gear winds out at around 10 mph, and I have no doubt they would literally be stump-pullers.

    $3K OBO doesn’t seem ridiculous for this old monster. Forget the claimed mileage, just take it for what it is, and it’s a cool rig.

  7. skloon

    Must control urge to make short bus joke

  8. Alex

    I can’t believe no one has said camper! I have a soft spot for travelalls and this one would make the perfect Westie Killer!

  9. Bruce E

    It may have been a school bus at one time, but by the looks of it, it hasn’t been one for a long time…Somebody has beat the hell out of it since it’s original use days, and I also find it hard to believe it “purrs like a kitten” with the upper radiator hose disconnected. If that is original mileage, it’s very hard miles…I’m also with J.W….If they didn’t know whether it was a school bus or an ambulance, it’s a good thing they owned this “short bus” ( and maybe should keep it !!!) !!!!

  10. Howard A Member

    1st of all, a 4×4 school bus? Where were they picking these kids up, on top of a mountain? 2nd, if you think this has 17K miles, I have some land in Florida you might be interested in. I never had any luck with the IH V-8 ( I can smell the gas from here) and this thing is plum wore out. I see little, if any, collectibility here. School buses weren’t the most memorable vehicles for most people.

  11. AMC STEVE

    Tavelalls are highly desirable and hold there value well. There was a rusty hulk of a scout on here last week and it was priced similarly. Don’t know what it sold for but this one is at least not all rusted out.
    I like the camper idea, besides what else would you do with it.

  12. Russ

    17K? I don’t believe it for one second. And that reminds me of a time in the 70’s when I was in desperate need of a cheap van. Some old guy sold me a 68 Econoline that evidently was a retired school bus painted back to normal. “86,000 miles,” he told me and I bought it. A week later I pulled up at the 7-Eleven and the clerk behind the counter saw it and asked me ‘Did you buy that truck from a guy out on Swift Road?’ I told him I had. He said ‘I looked at it too. I was thinking of buying it til he told me it had 186,000 miles on it.’

  13. Jim

    The mileage may or may not be correct, it only holds 4 or 7 kids depending on the original seating. It’s possible if had a short run each day or only used during real crap weather with the 4×4. Either way anyone who uses of restores it is going to go through the truck front to back. Me? With the raised roof it would make a great tow tig, switch to a dually rear, overdrive auto and roof mount a/c, no more sweating in traffic for this guy. I missed the original ad, anyone see what engine?

  14. Steve

    My wife would love it . A few shelves and racks in that thing and I could carry every piece of hunting and fishing gear I own . She would gain a sewing room after I loaded up .

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