Unconventional: 1975 International Conco Transtar 4100

062516 Barn Finds - 1975 International Cabover Conco Transtar 4100 - 1

Scotty GilbertsonBy Scotty Gilbertson

This is a rare truck, it’s a 1975 International Conco Transtar 4100. It’s in Elizabethtown, Kentucky and can be found on eBay with an $8,500 Buy It Now price or make an offer.

062516 Barn Finds - 1975 International Cabover Conco Transtar 4100 - 2

Not to get all maudlin, but this may be the coolest truck that I’ve ever seen! Or, “tractor”, as the pros say. But, being from a farming state, a tractor to me is something that’s out in a field, not on the road pulling a trailer at 70 mph. The seller says that the “truck runs, drives, stops, builds up and holds air. It has been setting for a number of years so it will need to be hauled to it’s new home.”

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Isn’t that neat? This is the definition of pragmatic design, it’s all business, no swoopy-woopy lines just for good looks. They even had to offset the cab, so they did, not worrying about making it even on both sides, I love that. I could be mistaken, but from what I’ve found on these “Conco” trucks/tractors they were only made for about two years. They were sort of a combination of a conventional cab and a cab-over, thus a Conco. The cab was a bit lower which necessitated it being offset, so the driver sits to the left of the engine, not over it. A disclaimer: I know that the driver always technically sits to the left of the engine, (at least in the US, with vehicles that have front engines) but on this one they sit even more to the left of it! There is also another theory, that by placing the driver that far to the left he/she could see around other trucks easier.

062516 Barn Finds - 1975 International Cabover Conco Transtar 4100 - 4

It’s a unique look but, of course, it wasn’t made for looking good or being unique, it was made by International for fleet service in the days of length limits on the roadways. The Conco had a 66-inch “BBC” (bumper to back of cab) measurement which allowed it to haul a 45-foot trailer. These were the days with legal length limits and by moving the cab forward it allowed for a long trailer. Those requirements were relaxed in the 1980s.

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“The interior is what it is, pics say it all”, according to the seller who has owned this truck for over 5 years. They say that the “transmission shifts good, all the gauges work except the tack and the fuel gauge. Tail lights are missing. The rest of the light works, and turn signals need a flasher.” There are no direct engine photos because “the cab did jack up and I’ve had it up and down several times. The last time I went to jack it up, the seal blew in the driver side cylinder. It will need to rebuilt.” These were unique in that there was also an access panel in the front. This one has a 290 hp “Cummins diesel and 10 speed rtf-12510 Transmission, 12,000 lb front axle, 23,000 lb rear axle, no power steering.” I would have absolutely zero use for a vehicle like this, but I would still love to own it! Are any of you truck collectors? Or, have you ever seen one of these unusual Conco cab designs?

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Comments

  1. geomechs

    This is International’s SECOND edition ‘Crackerbox.’ The first one was called the ‘Sightliner,’ which, like the GMC crackerbox was only 48″ BBC. IH installed extra glass panels to offer the driver more visibility but always looked kind of strange. It eventually got phased out because with that short a distance between the bumper and the back of the cab, all the necessities still had to go somewhere so they just stacked it all up. The motor always stuck out the back. By lengthening the cab a little more than a foot they were able to get most everything under cover and down to a level where you didn’t need an extension ladder to get in. It was a good move but the regs had changed by the time this was released so it was no longer necessary.

    Now, for this unit. Looks to be in reasonably good shape. Cab hydraulics can be a nightmare; the buyer should look into that and also check to see that the main cab support system hasn’t all broken up; they do that. A lot of these got ‘Glidered’ into conventional cabs so a COE like this is about as hard to find as an honest politician. The ol’ ‘Columbus Vibrator.’ is virtually bulletproof. It’s probably a Big Cam I or II, the latter being a much-improved engine (camshaft problems with the Big Cam I). If it happens to be a small cam, you’ve got little to worry about. There are a lot of ‘Truck Stop’ remedies about how to perform an overhead adjustment so the first thing I would do is set that–PROPERLY. Overall I like the truck but like Scotty says, I wouldn’t know what to do with it if I got it other than take it out for a spin every once in a while; spend the next several months wearing a back brace like my good friend, Howard.

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  2. Eric_10cars Eric Dashman Member

    Given the extremely short wheelbase, would this have been largely used as a donkey engine….ya know, to move boxes around a container yard and not out on the road much?

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  3. Ed P

    No power steering !! My back is starting to hurt just thinking about driving this truck.

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  4. Howard A Member

    Man, miss a couple days, and look what shows up. I’d have to say, this was IH’s answer to the extremely popular “U” model Mack. The U model Mack was basically a R model, with the cab off set to the left. We called them a cabover with a hood. While this set up does give you greater vision on the left side and behind you, it creates a terrible blind spot ( even more so) on the right, inherent with all cabovers. The inside is pretty typical of the IH’s I drove from that time. I can say without reservation, this truck, as equipped, with shake your fillings loose. The short wheelbase and spring ride suspension, will make you think something is wrong. They literally shake. The 290/10 speed was probably the most common setup. I agree with Eric, this more than likely was a “yard horse” for some big outfit. It’s way too nice for a road truck. The ramps on the tops of the frame, before the 5th wheel, were used for picking up trailers that were dropped too low. It more than likely has 4:11 or taller gears, making this a city rig. No power steering wouldn’t be an issue for a yard horse, as most warehouses are wide open, but I pity the poor soul, who had to use truck #27, because his truck was being worked on ( been there) I guess it could be used for working, but it would be better as a show truck, because of it’s rarity. I spent 35 years as a truck driver, did it all, and if anyone has any questions about trucks like this, I’d be happy to answer them. And yes, geomechs, I do have a bad back, but I attribute that to a combination of activities ( dirt bikes, snowmobiling, etc) but trucking sure didn’t help. 🙂

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  5. scooter8

    kinda cute? but 6 pbrs” and 3 knob creeks. glad it’s almost sleepy time.

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  6. Dan

    I knew the owner of the company that is listed on the side of the truck. He used it for local New England transfer only. He had a couple of cab over sleepers also. His son is still driving up and down the east coast.

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