Live Auctions

Aeroliner: 1973 International Harvester Loadstar

Are you a horse lover? Or, maybe you’re looking for a unique vehicle to haul your dirt bikes in and still have room to sleep in the back? This 1973 International Harvester Loadstar 1600 Aeroliner may be the ticket. This horse hauler is listed here on eBay with a $5,300 Buy It Now or you can make an offer. This one is in Columbus, North Carolina.

This great looking hauler on the back of this IH is an “Aeroliner horse van” by Frank Imperatore, Inc. out of Pennsylvania. This one has room for three or four horses. I wouldn’t be hauling horses, but I could think of quite a few uses for this vehicle. The company made bigger and smaller horse carriers and they had some interesting advertising, to say the least.

Other than faded paint I don’t see a flaw in this vehicle. Well, I guess there’s a chunk of wood in back of the LR tire so the emergency brake possibly needs work, either that or they’re just taking the ol’ belt and suspenders route. The seller has 130,000 miles listed for the mileage on this rig but I’m not sure if the horse van has been on it the whole time or not. Sometimes people switch trucks, since the van basically never really wears out. There are two ramps, one on each side, and I can’t help but think motorcycle carrier when I see this super cool van.

Ok, there are a few flaws inside the cab, but hopefully nothing that can’t be repaired inexpensively. The seller purchased this one to restore but they have too many projects. How many of us can relate to that? Quite a few, I bet. I know that my eyes are bigger than my stomach, restoration-wise. The International Harvester Loadstar was a medium to heavy-duty truck line made between 1962 and 1979. There are a few former and present truckers in the Barn Finds family of readers who could probably list the specs of this truck without missing a beat.

This SV-345 engine (345 cubic-inches, 157 net hp at 3,800 RPM) from the SV Comanche engine family was, from what I’ve read, designed to be a 200,000-mile engine by using heavier duty timing chains, hard valves and seats, etc. This one “runs” but could use a carburetor cleaning.  This truck has a manual transmission and I’m guessing that it’s a standard 4-speed but I could be wrong. A 5,6,8, and 10-speed would have been optional. Have you seen an Aeroliner “horse van” before? How would you use this hauler?


  1. Howard A Member

    The “horsey set”, eh? ( don’t care for horses, never did) I can tell you right now, if you showed up with this at any horsey gathering, they’d run you out faster than you could say,,,well,,,anything. While visiting in upstate NY last summer, the guy’s daughter rented an apt. and a horse stall from some millionaire, on a sprawling ranch on the east side of the Hudson, and I saw 1st hand who is involved in the horsey thing. You don’t do horsey things on a limited budget. The vehicles that rolled in there, looked nothing like this. New 4 door, awd pickups( take your pick) and some shiny trailer that any O/O would be proud to pull, cost, apparently, no object. BUT, back to this heap. I’ve driven many Loadstars ( in all applications) and they are not the best. ( I know, we’ve been ’round and ’round on this) I wish I had a nickel for everytime I heard “my Loadstar isn’t running right”. While not sure if it’s a 4 or 5 speed, it does have a 2 speed rear axle( red button, no not that Red Button, on the shifter) so that helps. Be a great bike hauler, or struggling contractor,( if you can handle the stench, this wasn’t no flower truck) but I’d stay away from the “horsey set” with this.

  2. Fred W.

    For some reason, seeing the front end of the horsey hauler takes me back to middle school…

    Like 1
    • Howard A Member

      Hi Fred, I can smell the gas from here. :)

    • Jeffro

      Fred, did you ride the short bus?

  3. Jay E.

    1973 55mph speed limit. 157 HP. Speaking form experience. Driving these is an exercise in patience, they are severely under powered even when empty. They are cramped, noisy and difficult to drive. The gas mileage is in the single digits. I don’t see the appeal for any kind of realistic modern trip.

  4. Francisco

    The horses will keep you warm in the winter.

  5. Dave Wright

    The problem with this old girl is the market has many newer diesel versions available for reasonable money. A couple of months ago, I bought a 93 1654 flatbed with 74,000 miles, 5 speed, new tires on bud wheels a 7.3 V8 diesel, power steering and working air conditioning for 800.00 in a federal sale. It has twice the power and 3 times the fuel economy of this old lady. These old gas rigs were good in there day but have been eclipsed by the more modern trucks on the market. If it was given to you, you couldn’t afford to operate it more than a few thousand miles a year. Might get 3 or 4 MPG and will have a short life expectinacy if driven at modern highway speeds.

  6. Dave Wright

    As for the horse van part, I was given one like this that had been abandoned at the Fresno (California) fair grounds. It was a bit larger than this one. Well designed and built but trailers have overtaken the market for anything like this. I also had a 53 foot semi trailer built by the same people….it was stainless steel and had been a very high end quality piece. We used it to haul horses and carriages to shows and jobs all over the southwest.

  7. Chebby

    It would make a perfect Tiny House, unless it’s too stinky……

    Like 1
  8. CapNemo

    I got to pet a horse just the other day! I asked him, “Why the long face?”. He just looked at me.

    • Jeffro

      Mr. Ed?

  9. Richard

    The interior should be easily sourced at an International dealer. I spent 8 years at one, and sold many seats and seat cushions. The engine may be trouble, but NAPA supplies aftermarket parts for it. I see a bad brake master cylinder! ANd the wiper motor is common, so there is a partsman’s observations

    Like 1
  10. Chebby

    Plus it’s easy to add 3-4 more horse power!

    Like 1
  11. steve

    Maybe stick in a diesel and convert to a camper.
    Can’t tell for sure, but no rear loading ramp?
    Checkout the floors, horse urine is very corrosive, may trailers meet their end because of this.

  12. mtshootist1

    you could join the gypsy caravan with this rig.. maybe start a fortune telling operation.

    Like 1
  13. Peter K

    I knew a family that coverted one of these into an RV to haul his 3 kids to bike races around the country in the 60’s and 70’s.

  14. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Can we beat this dead horse – er International – some more ?

    Like 1
  15. erikj

    Hey Howard I think you said it perfect. As a former farm boy that drove these a lot they are not for traveling to me and when my youngest daughter got in her teens we did the 4-h horsy thing. It was great as far as something we did together, But as not a high dollar guy we had to go cheap. Sometime, going to shows we would park with the others and most every other set-up was way better then us.
    Still no regrets, great times with the daughter.
    This truck makes me wonder how hard it might have been to load horses in. I had many a scary time trying load some of the horses we had in our little rear load 2- horse trailer.
    Nobody got to hurt thank god. My daughter is 21 now and still has her last Add to dictionary and she’s finding out how much it costs.
    Wow, I lost track, this is about the truck, It just jogged a lose bolt in my head.
    Anybody else relate?

    • Howard A Member

      Hi erik, perhaps I was a bit hasty on the horse followers. They really are a responsible bunch. And why not? Like you say, most, if not all the folks I saw, had their kids with them, lucky kids, but still, they doing that together.

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi erik. I grew up on a farming/ranching operation out west in the Chinook Belt. Horses were part of ranch life and I rode many of them. My sister absolutely worshipped horses but to me they were more a tool to herd cattle or to nap a sick one to treat it. We used to trailer horses in the 5th wheel stock trailer from one end of the ranch to the other to save time and we had very little trouble loading them although one old palomino wouldn’t get in the trailer unless he was ridden in. You ducked low and almost rode in side-saddle to keep from banging your head on the cross bar. The local banker and her husband and two girls were horse fans and went to shows all over the country. They marvelled at the fancy rigs that some people used. They would sort of hide their modest 4-horse trailer and three year old extended-cab 3/4 ton and try to get with the show. Horses are an expensive hobby; I think they compete very closely to our old cars and trucks.

  16. Jay E.

    Not sure where they get the 3-4 horse idea. This would be two horses MAX and wouldn’t be much fun to load. Perhaps that is why the interior of the box looks so clean, it doesn’t appear that it has had much horse use? Possibly it was used for transport of something besides animals.
    This type of horse van truck is much more common in Europe, the where the town streets are very narrow and getting any kind of trailer through them is difficult. Plus the speed limit for all trucks is still 55 mph.

  17. geomechs geomechs Member

    I like this truck and there are a lot of possibilities. A dirt bike hauler/camper would be the most likely. It’s kind of intersting the mention of timing chains; I don’t think I’ve ever seen a timing chain in a Binder motor, unless the later versions came that way. Yes, Howard, the carburetors can be a source of trouble but Binder still produced a lot of them and they in turn produced a lot of return customers. Back in the 60s at least a third of the farmers in our region used Binders….

  18. Martin Sparkes

    We had one when I was a kid. Same truck actually. Ours had a dump box on it. It never left the yard with room in the box and when we sold it the frame was severely bent. But we used it to haul corn silage and the harvesting contractor had a catch wagon that filled a tandem axle dump box. So dad build a tandem size silage box so he could use his own truck to save money. It was underpowered but lots of gears with the split axle, so it still went pretty good. Dad would threaten me with death if I went faster than the 55 mph indicator on the dash. Of course I only went that speed in town. Foot to the firewall all the time. 65 was no problem but it took a while to get there with a load on. It must have had close to half a million miles when it was finally parked in a corner. I sold it to a friend who build tapered double frame rails to compensate for the bent frame and hauled gravel with it. He eventually sold it and it is still around on a local farm ready to work.

  19. Martin Sparkes

    By the way they came stock with a double pumper holley and the fuel system at least on ours was never a concern. Sure leaked a lot of oil though.

  20. Eric Barbosa

    No timing chain
    Gear driven

    Like 1
  21. Dustin

    One of the best-looking Internationals in my opinion.

    Like 1

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