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“Holy Grail” 1948 International Harvester Metro Shorty

The seller describes this 1948 International Harvester as the “Holy Grail of Metros.” I’m not sure if delivery vans have a “Holy Grail” but this one is certainly cool! It is apparently the shortest of this style van and would make a great rat rod build. It can be found here on eBay with a current bid just over $1,100. Located in Everest, Kansas, I imagine this truck has made countless deliveries over the years. If you haven’t seen one of these vans done in a rat rod/hot rod style, they are really cool. Let’s check it out!

The images in the ad aren’t the best, but there are a few photos of the cargo area. It is pretty much a blank slate with bare metal. This think would make a cool camper, retail space or pretty much whatever the new owner decides. What would you do with it if it was yours?

This thing has great lines and overall, a really good look! There is no engine and transmission installed, so yet another blank slate for the new owner. With most projects, bigger is better when it comes to powerplants, but how about a small diesel engine for this one? Either way, this is going to be a fun ride.


  1. misterlou Member

    Another great Raymond Loewy design

    Like 5
  2. Coventrycat

    I’d bang two coconut halves together to get that puppy going.

    Like 0
  3. canadainmarkseh

    What would I do with it…? Well I sure would NOT rat rod it…! I find that go to statement on this site to be rather irritating. So what would I do with it? Well I would restore most of it, but since theres no engine or transmission I’d up grade that with a a more modern SBC and 700r. I’d convert front brakes to disc. I’d paint the top half cream coloured and the bottom half forest green. I’d panel in the interior and put in a bench seat behind the front seat. To avoid cutting in windows I’d mount a small camera on each side and feed the signal into the interior where I’d have a tv monitor on each side showing you what’s going outside. The beauty of that idea is the monitors could also be used for movies or Video games while traveling to your favourite car show. It will keep your kids out of your hair while you travel. Again I live in the land of rust buckets and as a result rat rods are about as unappealing as you can get. In fact rat rods are a cheeped out way of having a vintage auto. I can’t stand them they are lame. JMO.

    Like 15
    • Bill Beames

      Thank You Thank You Thank You. I agree 100% that rat rods are offensive to me too but that is my PERSONAL feeling. Restoring this International would be quite a project but in the end a diamond in rough would appear.

      Like 12
    • John

      That rat rod in the link is disgusting!

      Like 4
    • D

      current bid at $8,000, to me is stupid money and a complete waste for a “Rat Rod”…..but, Rat Rods originally started out for those of us who don’t have the funds to make a Barrett Jackson grade street rod, but love cars…..I’ve seen some pretty stupid, over the top rat rods, but I’ve see some great back yard rods that show heart and love of the owners…..jmho

      Like 2
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi D. Hot rods, or rather, street rods began as low budget backyard concoctions. But they evolved into multiple thousand dollar trailer queens—for some. I grew up in a time when the vast majority of hot rods were built by ambitious lads who worked at various common labor jobs. They found a Model A roadster pickup body and frame in a farmer’s field and started collecting parts from cast-off piles all over town. He boxed the frame and built all his own brackets. The job was finished with rattle cans unless he had access to a paint gun, where he would go to the local hardware store and buy a gallon of Allis-Chalmers orange paint and spray the car in the backyard or the driveway. Most of them were rough around the edges but they were all the owners could afford. And they supplied 100% of the labor. They were proud of their rides and no one dared call them rat rods, but eventually that’s what they were called. Today people are going out of their way to build rat rods. IMHO they have lost focus on what rodding was all about.

        Like 3
    • Tricky

      I’m with you on the rat rod comments there champ. Hate the very thought of them – its like a hot rod for those with a frontal lobotomy!

      Like 1
  4. Ken Carney

    Would make a great wheelchair van for
    Mom. Just slip in a 3.8 GM V-6 and a 700R4 tranny and call the driveline done.
    Next, mount a manual folding ramp at the rear for the chair and the locks to
    hold it in place, and presto! One really
    cool wheelchair van! We built one that way for a friend of mine in highschool
    who really needed it. We put a Ford 240
    6 cylinder in his that was mated to a C-4
    auto tranny and equipped it with hand
    controls so that he could drive it himself.
    Then, we sprayed a butter yellow paint job on the body and capped it off with
    a set of slot mags similar to the ones on this truck. You should’ve seen the look
    on his face when we gave him the keys
    and told him to take it for a spin!
    Absolutely priceless! Guess that’s why
    I’d want to build this one for Mom but
    my health won’t allow it.

    Like 11
  5. geomechs geomechs Member

    Good unit to do almost anything with. You’re kind of limited to an in-line engine unless you wanted to do some heavy restructuring. A Chevy 250 or even a 292 and a TH350 would be a good economical power train to use.Installing a 700R4 would not recover the added expense. Of course you are free to run anything you want. You might even want to run a Binder combination…

    Like 4
  6. BeeMoe

    If you are ever in DC, track down the Goodies sweet treats Metro. It’s a sweet ride, literally and figuratively. Brandon, the proprietor, serves up some fantastic home made treats. I painted up a model just like his truck to display at his pop-up kiosk at National Harbor. The model was a fun project, but the real one is a beauty. When he spun a bearing in the original straight six, he replaced it with a 350/700r4 combo.

    Like 1
  7. Oldog4tz Oldog4tz

    Sorry, but I think the “holy grail” is the “D” series with its “teardrop” headlights and sculptured front – the original Loewy design

    Like 5
    • John

      Oh yeah, the D is way cool. Thanks for the education.

      Like 1
  8. Bellingham Fred

    Definitely has the cool factor. I thought the body looked pretty good until I looked at the pics on eBay, there is a lot of rust and rot around the lower edges. BTW the bidding was up to $8000.
    The interior is just waiting for someones artistic talents to create a masterpiece to suit the new owner. I keep looking at the dashboard/gauge pod and thinking something round instead of rectangular. Like Montana Danford said ” A blank slate.” I think it would also require a blank check.

    Like 4
  9. Mike S

    I think you guys are too hard on Rat Rods. There’s a lot of old nasty cars that would otherwise be junked that are being driven as a result of this trend. I have five collector cars and actually have the most fun in the (only) one that’s a rat rod!
    The best part is I never have to wash or wax it, and I never worry about getting scratched or dinged! Just saying.

    Like 1
  10. Mike h

    Rat rod all the way. Just like they did kato’s On Texas metal.

    Like 1
  11. Johnny Bad

    Okay, I’m jus as ‘Merican as the next guy, but I’m thinking an 80’s Toyota drive train is the perfect match for this for a low budget “make it cool” project.

    Use all the components off a reasonable low mileage rusted out truck and you’d have reliability, disc brakes, and more
    Power than this Binder ever imagined.

    I’ve ridden in an over powered Metro Mite…it was not a happy feeling, then it flipped over…ugh, that sucked really bad.

    Like 1
  12. Del

    Holy Grail ?

    Isn’t that what caused Monty Python to dis-band ?

    Holy Money pit.

    Hidden rust is the scariest part.

    Like 2

    The American Pickers found one like this that was owned by Aerosmith!

    Like 2
    • Mountainwoodie

      I saw that episode. Kinda embarrassing seeing those senior citizens clambering around the inside of the van, Steven Tyler would scare a blind child. lol

      Like 1
  14. TimM

    Cool but I’m not sure if I’d use the term “Holy Grail” just seems to me that there use to be quite a few of these on the road!! Use from everything from flower delivery to construction vehicle!!! It seems to me that there must be more out there but the desirablity isn’t there like a COE truck or a shorty Chevy, Dodge or Ford van from the era!!! Just my two cents!!!

    Like 2
  15. stillrunners

    Not….most made were the short wheelbase single wheel…..the big dualie wheeled long wheelbase are a little harder to locate as most were crushed…..

    Like 1
  16. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    I H still makes some nice Diesel engines for medium duty trucks with optional transmissions that could be man handled into this rig.
    God bless America

    Like 1
  17. Sean

    Be really weird and probably dangerous, but a straight axel gasser would be cool

    Like 1

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