BF AUCTION: 1963 International R-185

Asking: $24,999Make Offer

International Harvester built everything from farm equipment to the Scout, and all the way up to long haul semi-tractors. In the early 1950s, they were well known for their medium to heavy-duty trucks, such as this R-185 that is being offered as a Barn Finds Auction. Many were built into fire trucks, as they were dependable and could be outfitted for a wide range of applications. This example started life as a fire engine but was converted to a work truck by its second owner. The seller, its third owner, put it to work hauling compost but their business has changed recently the truck is no longer being used. It’s been well cared for though and is in great working condition, it simply needs a new owner that will drive and enjoy it. So, if you’d love to have it, you can find it in Providence, Rhode Island and you can bid below!

As with most fire engines, this truck didn’t see much use during its time as the fire truck for a small Rhode Island town. Since it was kept in service well into the 1980s, it was updated with an International DT-466 turbo diesel engine, Dana front, and rear axle, an air brake, and an Eaton 5-speed transmission. It was also equipped with a two-speed auxiliary transmission, but that was removed due to a bearing failure. A new driveshaft was made and installed by the seller to get it back on the road and they state that the gearing is enough to cruise at 55 miles per hour with a full load in the bed.

After it was retired as a fire truck, the second owner purchased it and converted it to a dump truck. The seller purchased it from them in 2013 and it had just 12,000 miles at the time. It is currently showing 67k miles, which is still extremely low for one of these trucks, especially one with a diesel engine. Fitting the 12’ Beau-Roc dump body apparently required shortening the frame a bit. Everything is said to work as it should and appears to have been completed nicely. The seller provided us with a hefty list of service, repairs, and upgrades they have done to the truck during their ownership, which you can view below.

Six new wheels and tubeless tires
New air brake canisters for all four corners
New front and rear brake drums and shoes
New rear springs and cross-link
New double-disc clutch
Re-cored radiator
Resealed expansion tank
New belts
New start/stop electronic solenoid
New muffler
New main seal in the transmission
Rebuilt wiper motor
Installed a second hydraulic pump at PTO
Reupholstered bench seat
New side-mounted toolbox

As you can see, the interior is in nice condition and looks ready for the road. There are a few add on gauges, plus controls for the two PTO driven hydraulic pumps. The heat is said to work and features a three-speed blower motor, plus there is a large scoop vent to bring in fresh air on those hot days. Both searchlights are said to function but the driver’s side doesn’t move easily. Hopefully, it just needs to be taken apart, cleaned, and properly greased. The truck is also equipped with an air horn and a city-friendly horn. All of the gauges are said to work except the tachometer, but the seller believes replacing the ending unit would resolve that issue.

I’m going to let the seller tell you more about the truck’s hydraulics in their own words. From the seller – There are two separate hydraulic pumps, running off two separate PTOs, one is air controlled and powers the dump bed, the second is manual and used to power a bin lifter that is no longer installed on the truck. This second pump is available to run a separate hydraulic system that the buyer may wish to add at a future date.

The seller notes that there is some rust in the lower corners of the front fenders, but they treated and patched those areas. The cab has some bubbles starting to form in the passenger side corner and there is some rust around the windshield. They note that the windshield is leaking, so when you have that out to reseal it, you may want to address the rust issues. The floors were showing some surface corrosion when the seller bought it, but they treated it with POR-15. The frame and dump both look to be in good condition, the seller notes that the floor of the dump is solid. They also point out that there’s a dent in the back of the cab and on the driver’s side front fender. Both look like they could be popped out without damaging the paint.

Talk about a beast of a truck! While it might not all original, the engine is a serious upgrade that would make this a truck you could drive in modern traffic. The seller says it’s a blast to drive and I believe it. Since it’s located in Rhode Island, who doesn’t issue titles for older vehicles, it’s being sold with a bill of sale and the current registration. Titling it in another state won’t be an issue. So, if you’d love to give this truck a new home, be sure to bid and if you have any questions leave them in the comments below!

  • Location: Providence, RI
  • Mileage: 67173
  • VIN: FD15570F
  • Title Status: Clean

Bid On This Vehicle

High Bid: $5,000 (Reserve Not Met)
Make An Offer
Ended: Nov 3, 2020 1:00pm MDT
Top Bidder:
Buyer Premium: 5%
  • bid $5,000.00Nov 3, 2020 7:01pm
    bravenrace bid $4,900.00Nov 3, 2020 6:48pm
    bravenrace bid $4,800.00Nov 3, 2020 6:47pm
    bolecv8 bid $4,600.00Nov 3, 2020 5:14pm
    bravenrace bid $4,500.00Nov 3, 2020 1:41pm
    bolecv8 bid $4,200.00Nov 3, 2020 1:17pm
    bravenrace bid $4,100.00Nov 3, 2020 12:57pm
    bolecv8 bid $4,000.00Nov 3, 2020 12:36pm
  • bid $3,600.00Nov 3, 2020 12:18pm
    bravenrace bid $3,500.00Nov 2, 2020 8:41pm
  • bid $2,900.00Nov 2, 2020 6:59pm
    bravenrace bid $2,800.00Nov 2, 2020 2:30pm
  • bid $2,700.00Nov 1, 2020 8:27pm
    56NOBRAKES bid $2,600.00Nov 1, 2020 5:08pm
  • bid $2,100.00Nov 1, 2020 2:57pm
    tomhartzelt bid $2,000.00Oct 31, 2020 5:46pm
    Overthere bid $1,600.00Oct 29, 2020 10:05pm
    56NOBRAKES bid $1,500.00Oct 29, 2020 1:19pm
  • bid $850.00Oct 29, 2020 11:50am
    Boomerdjc bid $700.00Oct 29, 2020 4:25am
  • bid $600.00Oct 28, 2020 7:18pm
    w8n4fri bid $500.00Oct 28, 2020 6:58pm
  • bid $350.00Oct 28, 2020 6:14pm
    fjt226 bid $250.00Oct 28, 2020 3:56pm

Like This? Get Our Daily Email


  1. Jeff

    This TRUCK is in BETTER SHAPE than (90) percent of all the rust bucket Mustangs, Chargers, Cuda’s and Challengers combined. Not only that. there are no lowball mileage claims in the advertisement, Thank You.


    Like 10
  2. cidevco Member

    Does this truck have strong arm steering or power steering? What is the GVW and Total Load capacity of the bed? What are the age of the tires? Any maintenance due or coming soon? Very nice truck!!!

    Like 3
    • Nat Harris

      Thanks for the kind words! The truck has power steering. GVW is 25,500 lbs so no CDL required to drive it. Dry weight is about 15,500 lbs. We used to haul a max of 8 yrds of compost with it which was right around 10,000 lbs. We upgraded the front tires and rims from tube to tubeless in 2016 and the rears in 2018. No maintenance needed or due at this time.

      Like 3
  3. veggiewagon Member

    The truck is equipped with power steering. GVW is 25,500 lbs so no CDL is required to drive it. Empty weight is about 15,500. We used to haul a max of 8 yards of compost which was about 10,000 lbs. We upgraded the front tires and rims from tube to tubeless in 2016 and did the rears in 2018. No maintenance due or coming soon.

    Like 2
  4. Howard A Member

    Again, where’d this come from? Seems the staff sticks these willy-nilly in the lineup. Brings back memories for me. The 1st heavy duty dump truck I drove was a similar ’63 R190 tandem, 185, I believe, being the lighter duty model. The DT update is a welcome addition. The truck I drove had the old Red Diamond 450 in-line 6 and a set of sticks. I read, the Fleetstar came in 1962 as a replacement for the 190, and while the R light duty was replaced in the 50’s, the 190 went well into the 70’s. This is a great find, properly updated with tubeless tires, and S cam brakes( I hope) and would make a great addition for any farm or ranch detail. IH made the best trucks, bar none!

    Like 4
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      This one showed up out of left field. There were lots of these around when I was a kid. Winch trucks and rig movers, the oil fields were thriving and I think that Binder fairly well led the way. Anything from a 185 to a 230. Oh there were some Macks too but International R and V-series had a commanding presence…

      Like 2
  5. Robert Burwell

    Will you be able to to include the 2 spd aux trans and accessories, mounts, linkage etc ?

    Like 1
    • Nat Harris

      Hi Robert, I’m afraid the auxiliary transmission and associated parts are gone. According to the shop where we had the majority of the work done on the truck, parts were no longer available for it so I didn’t think of keeping it. The cross mount still exists on the frame where the auxiliary trans bolted up but that’s it.

      Like 1
      • Wayne from oz

        Easy fix. Fit a 2 speed diff.

        Like 3
  6. Dave

    nice change after the endless Mustangs. Best looking thing on BF.

    Like 2
  7. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    The weight limit is right, but here in Texas air brakes require a CDL. I notice the e-brake on the dash is for air brakes. I’ve owned International dump trucks when I was in the sand and gravel business. These medium duty trucks are fine for light loads, but the transmission will likely start jumping out of gear if you haul more than about 8,000 lbs consistently. In addition the 20″ tires wear out quickly when loaded heavily.
    I wouldn’t work this truck as it’s old enough and pretty enough for show purposes.
    God bless America

    Like 2
  8. chrlsful

    yeah, this one may B small enuff to get in tight spaces.
    Air brakes, modern wheels & the ultimate – 4 WD and
    as landscaper I can well use it…

  9. PJ

    LOL I sent this listing to my son in law who is a truck nut – new, old, antique, I think he likes them all. He’s drooling for this one, but alas, it’s not gonna happen for him.

    He’s still having fun looking at its photos though, and so am I :)

    PS – right now he’s babysitting MY ’57 Chevy LOL.

    Like 1
  10. Nat Harris Member

    This truck has brought a smile and a wave to everyone who has seen it! For what it’s worth, it’s over on eBay with 19 hrs remaining to bid! Thanks for the note, Nat

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks. Don't post your car for sale in the comments. Click here to get it featured on the homepage instead.


Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.