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50 Year Garage Find! 1950 International L111

It sounds as if M. Zelle of Lemay, Missouri got about 21 years of use from his 1950 International L-111 pickup truck, had enough of it, and parked it in a garage. Now, half a century later, it has been discovered and acquired by a seller who wants to find it a new home. It is located in St. Louis, Missouri and is available, here on eBay for a starting bid of $3,300, with zero bids tendered so far.

International L series trucks were produced between 1949 and 1952 in many varieties, everything from this pickup truck to heavy-duty tractors and school buses. The L111 was a relative lightweight comparatively speaking, with a cargo capacity of 1,900 lbs; only the L110 had a lower capacity rating. Our garage find is a basic pickup truck with pockets for securing the raised stake sides.

The license plate and registration slip show this International as being last registered in 1971. What would have laid it up? The mileage is listed as 54,622, not that many miles unless the odometer has been once around. And, by 1971, this truck was old enough to drink and that was old for a work truck that had been designed in the late ’40s and assembled in 1950. It is a non-runner and the seller says that he can’t get the stuck hood open so there’s no telling what’s up with the engine. It is probably a 90 HP, 220 CI, in-line six-cylinder, and the partially revealed body tag seems to indicate this. The transmission employed should be a three-speed, manual unit.

Mr. Zelle’s truck is perfectly aged. The seller states that its lair had a leaky roof and thus the surface rust and a resulting hole that has appeared in the top of the driver’s side fender. As extensive as the surface rust is, the body and cargo bed appear to be free of perforation, though the bottom edge of the tailgate and the grille panel both look suspicious. Other than a single, small dent in the passenger side rear fender, the body appears to be pretty straight. Considering the long, leaky slumber that this truck has encountered, it would be good to know what, if anything, is going on underneath.

The instrument panel in this L111 is in surprisingly good condition. The gauges are clear and legible and none of the switchgear is missing. There’s no radio, not really a surprise, but there is a cool, chrome “International” ashtray in place. There are turn signals too but they look added on. Take a close look at the tag above the speedometer, I wonder who Elmer and Jean Nesselhauf are/were?

As for the rest of the interior, it is spartan and worn. The seat appears to have been recovered, with a slip-on cover at some point. It, however, is worn through with the seat’s innards showing. As near as can be seen, the passenger compartment floor looks sound.

This is a neat, old find but it has many, many unknowns. And it’s not like the bids are rolling in so interest, at least at the opening bid amount, isn’t there. This is another one of those, “Yeah, it’s a nice find, but what do you do with it”? I’m thinking slightly modified, with the stakes removed – and it would be good to try to retain the business name that’s on the doors. What are your suggestions?


  1. Turbo

    Call me crazy, but I like it.

    Like 19
  2. William Spiegel

    Sweet old truck. My father had three of those, heaped up in the weeds on our farm. They had an interesting grill – part horizontal and part vertical. Always struck me as looking like an old man with buck teeth & a mustache. Just cool old trucks. I like it.

    Like 6
  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    Bring it to my place!!! This is my favorite of the L thru S models. Real good trucks in their day and even now. Quite popular so I wonder why the bids are so slow on this one. Lots of parts available for these trucks and more becoming available as popularity increases. I can’t think of any problems to speak of. They drove and handled well and always took you where you wanted to go and brought you back. No powerhouse but then back in the day neither was anything else…

    Like 25
    • Mario

      I have a 1950 L-110 harvester as well. Looking to find the chromed grill parts like the one on yours before I take it to the body shop to get a nice buff and paint job. Can you please give me some insight as to where I can find grill and emblem parts for my International. Also looking for hubcaps and rims if you know of anyone with those too.

      Thanks for your time, your International is just how I want mine to turn out, super clean. Bravo!

      Like 1
  4. luke arnott Member

    I’ve got a ’51 L112 with a 264BD.Top end 40mph!Owned coming up 30 years – love it!

    Like 6
  5. Piros1

    Since it is within an hours drive or less for me I should go check it out but not a fan of International trucks even though if his price was more reasonable I would take the time to check it out. It would be fun to have, unfortunately I have a lot of those and in the process of building a new 4800 square foot garage to house and work on them. Still a cool piece of iron.

    Like 1
  6. DuesenbergDino

    If a person could get this for about the current starting bid. Then do the minimal to get it safely driving. Not a bad little truck actually. Being retired and not looking to wash or wax my vehicles, I would leave the cosmetics alone. Get it running or find a simple replacement engine, flush fluids, rebuild brakes and other mechanical systems and it’s ready to go. All this under $10k seems like a seriously legit deal.

    Like 1
  7. JCA Member

    Wow, great find. You know it’s old when it has a hand throttle on the dash. You might want to soak that lever in some WD-40 before you try pulling it out on the maiden voyage

    Like 2
  8. Jon B

    Back then in MO all trucks-including pickups were required to have the owners name, city of residence and gross vehicle weight on the side of the vehicle. The state considered pickups as commercial vehicles.
    And your plates stated weight better match the weight stated on the side. And there were local and beyond local plates. With local plates distance from home was limited.
    This old girl has potential.
    No farms in Lemay any more.
    Btw, Lemay was named for the USAAF General.

    Like 0
  9. Brian Lamb

    If it were closer I’d bid on it.My first truck was a 1948 International.Bought it from a new car dealer in Tucson for $550.Pretty much gave it away.

    Like 0

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