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Chevy V8 Power! 1955 International S-100

International Harvester, long known for its work in agricultural and construction equipment, was also in the truck business. Pickup trucks were part of the sales portfolio from the early part of the 20th Century through 1975. This 1955 S-100 is a half-ton model that has outgrown its original drivetrain, powered now by a Chevy V8 and an AOD transmission, both rebuilt. Unless patina is your thing, the body and paint would be the next thing to tackle. From near Bakersfield, California, this old workhorse is available here on craigslist for $13,000 (firm). Another cool tip from T.J.!

For three model years (1955 to 57), the S-100 would be International’s entry-level pickup. They were powered by a 221 cubic inch inline-6 that produced 108 hp. Optional was a 240 CI motor than added 23 horses to the mix. Buyers could choose from a 3-speed synchromesh manual transmission or the Metro-Matic 3-speed automatic. All of International’s S-100 trucks were built at their plant in Springfield, Ohio. One of these transports could be had for less than $1,500 in 1955.

We’re told that a bunch of money has been spent on this truck, most of which would have been in the mechanical department. A short-block Chevrolet engine lives under the hood now, though we’re not told if it’s a 327, 350, or something else. But the motor has only 500 miles on it having been recently treated to a refurbish. The same can be said for the AOD transmission and the truck’s brakes. The rear-end is out of a 1969 Chevelle and new shock absorbers and tires were also added.

The original color of this truck appears to be some version of orange, although traces of blue can also be found. The S-100 looks as though they were built as solid as a Sherman tank, so whatever rust there may be is of the surface variety. The interior looks to be fine although spartan as you would expect from trucks of the 1950s. Vintage trucks have become popular in collector circles, and you’ll seldom see an International in a sea of Fords and Chevies.


  1. Howard A Member

    Another BFTP( blast from the past). Very similar to my R110, that I titled as a ’53( in the 80’s it was no big deal getting a title).I bought it from a golf course that used it as a grounds vehicle, had very low mileage. Mine had the SD220 ( not 221, sorry Russ) and 1st gear on the 3 speed was not a synchro. I’m surprised no 4 speed was offered. ( Geo ?) I never saw’r an automatic on these, a version of the Hydra-matic, I read.
    The “S” model is kind of the “forgotten” IH, not much about it, even though, it was just a R ( and L) model with a new front clip. To be clear, the S model was only 2 years really, mid ’55 to mid ’57, when the “all new” A model came out, also a rare 1 year only as ’58 went with stacked dual headlights.
    Telling what I paid for min back then has little, if any relevance today, you want to spent 5 figures on a gas hog hot rod, that looks terrible, by all means have at it. Oh what the heck, it was $100 bucks, I fixed a broken brake line( that apparently sidelined it for years), got it running and the golf course was glad I came along, they were about to scrap it, a fate of many of these. A stinkin’ hundred bucks, mind you, and I drove that truck as a DD for a couple years. It’s still a cool find.

    Like 5
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi Howard. Actually the 4-spd was offered right through until Binder stopped building smaller trucks. I was surprised to find the Warner T-9 “Crashbox” offered through the R-models, even though the T-98 was a better fit; at least it was synchronized. IH actually started to offer an automatic in early ’54 With the R-100 and up through the R-130. The first version was a GM-sourced Hydramatic. It built just over 200 with those before switching over to the Borg-Warner automatic which would be its mainstream until the early 70s when it started using the Chrysler-based Torqueflite. The Hydramatic is especially rare; you won’t even find it in the parts books…

      Like 6
  2. geomechs geomechs Member

    From ’55 to ’57 International morphed its trucks from one year to the next. Officially 1955 was the last year of the R-models which is reconizable because it was when IH went from the dual rear windows to the single unit. I caution people to watch it because the doors changed along with that, offering larger side glass. The last R-models also streamlined the steering column, finally incorporating the shifting mechanism into the column itself. And of course it was all S-series through ’56. Of course, come ’57 and things got out of whack again with the introduction of the “A” Series and especially the Golden Anniversary edition.

    This truck is part of a growing number of modified Binders. I’m finding a lot of customers performing engine swaps similar to this one. And the SBC is about the most adaptible modern engine out there. Personally I would’ve stayed with the original six and driven 55 mph. IMO these trucks are every bit as appealing as anything else available at the time…

    Like 4
    • Howard A Member

      You’re a brearth of fresh air, my friend. We’ve discussed the “dual back windows” before. I think I remember R model semis having them into the 60’s. I was unaware of the different doors, they look similar. The column shift, in all its forms, was always clumsy, at best. Like shifting an old cabover,,grind and find.
      I think back in our day, a SBC was a viable alternative in many applications. I’ve told of the guy that had a M series tractor with a SBC, that worked great. Here too, EXCEPT,yep, here it comes, the old SD( or BD) got relatively good mileage, an O/D would help even more, aside from a valve adjustment( that would baffle some folks today, “whats a feeler gauge, grandpa?”) it literally was bulletproof. Clearly over-built. I liked the A series, but lost me with the stacked headlights.
      This setup is a good restomod, not some fire-breathing motor, and the O/D helps greatly, but still, teens at best, if that works for you, I guess.
      And PAINT THE DANG THING, sheesh, your pics look so much nicer,,

      Like 3
      • RKS

        You two remind me of Statler and Waldorf.

        Like 6
      • Howard A Member

        Statler: The internet is an entirely different culture,,
        Waldorf: You said it, everything here is immediately followed by sarcastic comments and nasty reponses,,
        Statler: Yep, we’re finally where we belong,,

        Like 5
      • Jerry A

        I have to take exception to your “grind and find” description of the three on a tree transmission. my very first vehicle in high school was a ’54 International Harvester L100 in 1976. After replacing 1st gear, and a combined gear-shaft and a couple bearings (using just an exploded diagram as reference) it drove and shifted smooth as silk, thereafter. After moving out of state my folks wanted it gone back in 1990. At that time I had trouble GIVING it away, sigh…

  3. Michelle Rand

    I want the pink one.

    Like 1
  4. Rw

    Cool truck, where is all negative comments because it has a SBC ?

    • Howard A Member

      Not negative, really, sad, and I’m the biggest follower of small block V8s, I have one in my squarebody, but as much as we kick and scream, the poor V8s days are numbered, especially, older carbureted ones. Granted, in an application like this, it’s pretty much a toy, so the V8 is fine, but I’m telling ya’, with this $5+/gal. crap, living through the 1st gas crisis ( 70s) it’s going to change everything. It’s a major expense just to get to work in a gas sipper, and not much left for the toys. No matter what happens, the small block V8, to me, is the best motor ever. It’s just horribly out of date, is all, and that, my friend, is a tough pill to swallow.

      Like 3
      • Rw

        Let’s go ,fill in the blank

        Like 2
      • luke arnott

        Don’t complain at $5 a gallon! In the UK we pay $3 a litre!

      • RKS

        The small block V8 isn’t a motor, it’s an engine.

        Like 1
  5. Morley Member

    No sarcasm from me, this truck is not a Ford but I still like it. Looks like a great body and reasonable priced so you could throw away that Chevy stuff and put in a nicely detailed nail head Buick. Why , I like those engines. So how do you get in touch with the owner????

    Like 1
    • RKS

      Click on the CL link at the top of the article, then hit reply at the top of the ad. Copy and paste the address into an email.

  6. Morley Member

    Canadians are now paying abou 9 dollars a gallom. Anybody want a 427 Ford?????????

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