An American Icon? 1961 Travelall

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This is one I wish were closer to me. I love the shape of these older Travelalls, and this one has an even more purposeful look than usual with the grille guard. It’s located in Ouray, Colorado if you hadn’t guessed the state already from the mountains and is listed for sale here on eBay, where bidding is below $1,000 as I write and there’s no reserve. The seller calls it “an American icon,” which is fine with me but somehow I’d generally think of a Jeep or Suburban first.

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While the Travelall is by no means pristine, you can see the worst parts of the body in this picture. There’s a previous repair on the passenger side rear door that will have to be completely redone, and lots of small areas of rust-through on the rest of the body. There’s also a fair amount of rust in the drip channels of the roof that will be tedious to fix correctly. All the glass is intact except for the flat rear glass, including those impossible to find rear side windows.

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The driver’s side does look considerably better, so if you are from the “if I can’t see it, it’s not a problem” school maybe you are fine with this early SUV as-is. As you might guess, the elevated stance of this International is due to it being a four wheel drive version.

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I was laughing for a while at the exhaust “repair” in the center of this picture. The underneath as a whole looks pretty good, and is characterized by the seller as solid, but there are some small holes in the floors. The seller has never actually had the vehicle running, so there may be other issues as yet undetermined.

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Both the front and rear seats have been covered in fake Indian blanket seat covers–who knew those existed? I’d love to drive something this simple and straightforward now that we are moving out to the country. I can see going into town to the Farmer’s Market now–you’d fit right in.

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The seller says the engine hasn’t been started in 20 years, but that it is free. They say it’s a 392 V8, but that’s not a size that would be normal for this year; the largest would have been a 345 V8. Any International experts that can tell for sure? It certainly looks like this image of a 392, but not exactly the same. Overall, I just think this is a lot of vehicle and the cosmetics are just right as they are (although I would at least attempt to stabilize the rust). What about you?

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Comments

  1. Todd Zuercher

    Neat looking rig in a great location! I believe it’s not possible to visually determine the difference between a 345 and a 392.

    • Billy

      There is a stamp just above the right engine mount on these old binder blocks that will tell you. Other than that, I’m not sure there are any other visual clues to tell a 304 from a 345 from a 392.

  2. Woodie Man

    Back in the late fifties early sixties we had a neighbor who had a 58-61 identical to this only in the salmon pink so common to the time. He also had an early Seagrave fire engine and a thirties Packard limousine that was once owned by the opera singer Lily Pons. He was quite a well known voice actor with a booming baritone . What a character…. And to top it off he had a really steep driveway which made sledding in the winter a kids paradise.

  3. Dave Wright

    John Wayne had one with the roof cut out so he could shoot from it at one of his ranches. Deffinatly not a 392. Everything from a 266-392 look the same, indeed are the same except for internal and carb changes. There were not many if any 392’s this early, even in medium gas trucks the 345 was the common engine until the early 70’s. Great trucks overall. This one looks to me like it has had some suspension tweeking……not a factory stance, and I don’t think power steering was available yet. It would have had the awful large 6 lug split rim wheels requiring tube type tires and nearly impossible to find tubeless rim replacements for. Today, they can be made but are over 1000.00 for a set. My 68 3/4 ton is getting axles from a 1970 truck. With normal 8 lug rims.

  4. Todd Zuercher

    John Wayne’s truck was on display at the auto museum at Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort in Laughlin, NV, for many years. Might still be there.

  5. Badnikl

    John Wayne’s “War Wagon” IH Travelall heads to auction 2013 Hemmings,
    SOLD on January 16th, 2014, Approx. 8:14 MST
    Scottsdale, Arizona at Russo & Steele

    http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2013/12/19/john-waynes-war-wagon-ih-travelall-heads-to-auction/
    The truck has it’s own website:
    http://www.johnwaynemobile.com/Home_Page.php

  6. geomechs geomechs Member

    In ’61 you would have had the choice of (2) V8s, a 266 or a 304. Binder kept a close leash on its motors till ’69 when it pulled out all the stops, and offered everything including the “kitchen sink.” I don’t think the 345 was available until ’63 and even then it was only optional in the Loadstar series. The air cleaner on this unit is a lot later design so I won’t dispute what engine is here; I’m sure it would be a transplant. Good trucks just the same.

  7. Skip

    I love the older TravelAlls, too. I’ve had two…a ’62 and a ’63…both were used as ambulances. The ’62 had made it’s way to TX all the way from Baker, MT and had served Baker Ambulance Service in Odessa from 1965 until my standby ambulance service bought it in 1972. It had standard shift and got decent gas mileage and ran well, but had problems with the rear end. The other,a ’63, came from Metropolitan Ambulance in Amarillo, TX and was a TV star. It had been featured in the early ’70s in the RoundUp herbicide TV commercials. We got it in ’75 but in ’77 it was stolen, and I haven’t run across it since. I must say, though, that a few months ago a local TV station had done a story from Marfa, TX and someone there has the “twin” to that Suburban, from the white over red color to a small light over the back. The only difference is ours had rear doors and this one had a tailgate (sigh)! The short time we had this one we got very good service out of it. A good friend of mine in NJ collects International TravelAll ambulances, most of which were special-builds by the Springfield Co. Nice old trucks regardless of where they came from

  8. speedo

    I drove a well used ’63 in a previous life on an Indian Reservation. It had a much nicer dash and with a 304/4 speed was unstoppable in sand, mud, towing, etc. With rubber mats we just hosed it out every week or so. I grew to really appreciate IH trucks.

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