Marine Patina: 1963 International Harvester Travelette

International Harvester – of tractor fame – also produced trucks nearly throughout its history. We all know the Scout and maybe even the Travelall, but here on eBay we have a 1963 International Harvester Travelette, formerly owned by the Marine Corps, with one bid of $9,500, no reserve. This truck is located in Village, Ohio. The Travelette was the first four-door crew cab truck on the market, with seating for six. Military trucks use paint scheme conventions. Usually, gray is Navy, blue is Air Force, forest green is Marines, and olive drab is Army. This one wears its original forest green paint.

The Travelette was offered with three motor options – an inline six-cylinder, and two V8s. The base V8 displaced 266 cu. in. and developed about 155 bhp. a 304 cu. in. was also offered. We aren’t told which V8 this is, but given the thrifty nature of government procurement, I’m going to guess it’s the 266. These trucks were heavy at over 4100 lbs, so performance was not sterling. This truck has a three-speed automatic with column shift, but most Travelettes were delivered with a three-speed manual. The truck could be had in two-wheel drive, like this one; or four-wheel drive. The seller indicates that he originally planned to convert this Travelette to four-wheel drive but didn’t get around to it. He says the motor will turn over and the truck will run off a gas can, but it will take some work before you can drive it home.

The interior was spartan until the 1970s when seats became cushy and carpet was standard. In the early 60s, you got rubber mats on the floor and minimalist bucket seats. Still, the basics are here: the dash is not cracked, and the gauges look sharp. Upholstery can be fixed and a good cleaning will improve the rest.

The truck retains its Marine Corps number and as we noted the paint is likely original. The seller indicates that the roof was painted in a checker pattern because the truck was used on an air base, but research can’t turn up support for that idea. (Any experts out there with an explanation?) It’s a great feature, though, along with the rest of the patina. Someone is already willing to pay the opening bid, and previous sales of running, and driving Travelettes seem to be in the mid-teens. What do you think?


  1. Classic Steel

    Nostalgic military vehicle

    I can picture it stuffed with young Mariannes
    driving on an old military base back in the day👍😎

    I hope it stays with the same paint (washed) and driven.

    Like 6
    • angliagt angliagt Member

      ….and Gingers too.

      (Sorry,couldn’t resist)

      Like 8
      • Nick8778

        Maybe a bunch of Mariannes out for a joy ride with some marines, lol?

        Like 2
  2. JustPassinThru

    The location is “Bay Village” which is a suburban city on the west side of Cleveland. It’s an area of high-value homesteads, and such an earthy vehicle would be less welcome in a driveway or parked on one of their picturesque curbed residential streets.

    That could work well for bidders, and would explain, should this have turned up in the sellers hands…due to inheritance, loss of storage space, etc…why he wants to move it to the next caretaker.

    Like 1
    • Chris

      I live in a suburb of Cleveland . Bay Village isn’t all that bad , but this vehicle needs to stay just like it is ,it tells its own story . But for this area, yes there are some nice houses but not everyone in that area is like that.

      Like 1
  3. Eric B

    Love it, especially the plethora of super detailed undercarriage photos and videos of it running. I’m still astounded that people are willing to spend this sort of money on something with a presentation like this. More money than brains? In my experience, if you politely ask for said photos and videos, the response typically isn’t kind. Hopefully the buyer lucks out and it’s a solid truck. It’s certainly ridiculously cool.

    Like 3
  4. angliagt angliagt Member

    This is the definition of “Drives like a truck”.

    Like 1
    • Nick8778

      That’s for sure! I learned to drive on a truck like this–a ’64 C-1100 (not a Travelette, just a regular 2WD pickup with an 8-foot bed.) My dad bought it new for his masonry contracting business when I was 11. He had a bunch of Internationals–they were always tough and dependable–just like the farm tractors that IH is so well-known for. And they rode kinda like the tractors, too! A long way from the luxurious car-like pickups of today. It had the BG-241 straight six and a monster 4-on-the-floor (the transmission hump was easily a foot high!) with a creeper first. That thing could never be described as “quick” but with the low-end grunt of that long-stroke six and that tranny it could pull trees out of the ground!

      There are a couple of anomalies about this truck. First of all, the series badges on the side indicate that it originally came with a six–factory-installed V-8s would always have a “V” under the series badge. Plus, that front seat is in no way original–if you look at the pictures of the back seat you can see what the original factory upholstery looked like–(it looks just like the one in my dad’s truck.) And the dash would have been gray on a ’63 or ’64–they went to a beige color for the interiors in ’65. (That blue looks hideous to an IH guy like me.)

      I hope someone buys this and keeps it alive. These were great trucks–they never pretended to be cars–they were built to WORK and work hard.

      Like 3
  5. Gil Davis Tercenio

    As an old Marine, I’d love to have this one!

    Like 1
    • Bryan


  6. MKG

    I had a 71 with a 304 V8. Ran great but didn’t want to stop. 4 wheel non power drum brakes, lol. It also was a Marine truck from Ojai California.
    They were component vehicles, an AMC engine, Chrysler trans, etc. Horrible ride but a great hauler.

    Like 1
    • jrmedsel

      Only the later 401 engine was from AMC. The 266, 304 and 345 V-8s, as well as the straight 6s, all were made by IHC. Both Borg-Warner and Chrysler automatics were used, but I believe the manuals were in-house IHC transmissions.

      Like 2
      • Nick8778

        Yes, sir. That information is accurate. And automatics were extremely rare in Internationals of this era–which is probably why they outsourced them. I doubt that there was enough demand for automatics in their trucks to justify spending the money to develop their own. I know that, given the use (abuse) that we subjected our Internationals to in construction duty, my dad would never have wanted an automatic–he would have been certain that it would never have held up.

        Like 1
    • Nick8778

      The International 304 was NOT the AMC 304. Completely different and a TRUCK engine all the way, as were all International engines; very rugged and built for low-end torque to pull loads and not for high speed. The International 304 is part of a family of International V8s including the V-266, V-304, V-345 and V-392. There was even a slant 4-cylinder called the 4-152 which was essentially one bank of the 304 that was the standard engine in the original Scout as well as some small Metro delivery vans. International always were equipped with International-built engines, except for a brief few years at the very end of light duty truck production.

      I grew up with International trucks that my dad owned in his masonry contracting business, including a 1964 C-1100 pickup with the BG-241 six (the vehicle on which I learned to drive) and a 1966 1300A low-boy dump truck that had the V-266. The cabs would eventually rust out after years of tough construction use but they would never stop running.

      Like 4
      • MKG

        Aha! I did not know that, obviously, lol. Thanks for the info! I’ll read again and do little research. I was going by what I was told at that time, I didn’t do a total research as I should have. Thanks again.

        Like 1
  7. Geoff

    While I don’t deny that this is a cool truck, I’m not 100% sold that this was an actual military vehicle. I don’t see any pictures of the data plate, and it looks like the original color was yellow underneath the olive drab. The bright blue dash also raises my suspicions that this was probably painted to look like a military truck for a movie or TV prop. Still rare and cool but I would like to see some actual military provenance.

    Like 5
    • Eric B

      The interior made me wonder as well.

  8. JustPassinThru

    That’s actually a valid point/question.

    First, Kaiser Jeep had the bulk of military contracts in those days. Pickup duties were mostly done by some variant of the M715, which was a beefed-up Gladiator.

    Second, the relatively-few trucks purchased from other makers, were mostly used Stateside…but had military-specific tags on the dash, with purchase orders, date of order, date of delivery. The dash would have military-specific instruments on it, and would have been painted olive drab.

    Like 1
  9. David G

    Has a Base access sticker (for DOD employees) from China Lake, Ca. Many Marine Corps trucks also have checker painted roofs for use on Marine Corps Air Stations. Not seeing a nomenclature tag to positively verify it as an original Military vehicle. Interesting vehicle, though.

    Like 1
  10. Gunter

    Interior looks like a set of 1964-65 Pontiac LeMans seats were installed, together with a 1963-64 Ford Galaxie console that once house a manual shifter.

  11. Howard A Member

    Gollllly, Sgt. Carter, I’m pretty sure this is a military vehicle of some sort. I think,the blue interior and roof may indicate it was an AF truck, repainted for the Marines. Most vintage 4 door military trucks were Dodges, that I saw and NEVER had A/C. I doubt it’s a prop of any kind, as I think the military has strict rules about copying their vehicles.
    Quick note on the AMC motors. The in line 232 and 258, AMC 6 were used starting in 1969, and the 304 V8 wasn’t until 1968. It can be distinguished by the thermostat housing. The AMC 401 was used when 392 IH motors weren’t available( every freakin’ school bus had one) and IH never made their own transmissions. IH used all after market parts, and the 4 speeds were BW, I believe.

    Like 2
    • Nick8778

      That blue looks to me like it was just sprayed over the original gray. You can see the real color on the steering wheel where the blue has worn off and on the door panels which were never painted. Somebody unbolted the original front bench seat and threw in something that probably came out of a junkyard somewhere–not from any International. That bolted on A/C unit is not an International item either–they did offer one, however. I do not believe any AMC six was ever used in any International truck. The BG 241 that was in our ’64 C-1100 was an OHV International engine–they had made a series of both flathead and OHV sixes for decades; (various color “Diamonds”–Blue Diamond, Green Diamond, etc.) the IH logo was cast into the block. I know the trucks from this era, we owned a bunch. (1946 KB-5 dump truck, two 1954 R-100 pickups, a ’58 A-110 pickup in addition to the ’64 and ’66 I mentioned earlier.) I also know the AMC sixes, I had a ’73 Gremlin (my first new car, purchased for $2500) that had a 258 with a floor mounted three speed manual. Pretty sure there was a 199 CID six used in some Ramblers going back to the 50’s. All these engines are of the same general family and the last product from that line was the Power Tech 4.0L six found in Jeeps until the 2004 model year. I have a 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the 4.0 and it’s remarkable how much it sounds just like my Gremlin!

      You are right about the 392 being the engine of choice in school buses before they stopped making gas engines in the mid 80s and went over to the 6.9 and later the 7.3 and T-444 diesels. (These V8 diesels were the basis for the Ford Power Stroke engines for a couple of decades.) I had an ’83 S-1700 dry freight van in my courier business that had a 392–I had to replace the engine when one of my drivers drove it without oil and we got one out of a junked school bus. I know IH never made automatics–I don’t think it’s fair or accurate to say they used “all after-market parts” like they were some sort of kit car manufacturer. They made their own chassis and engines and all bodywork. Obviously on cab and chassis trucks you might have a dump body made by Aristocrat or Galion or Heil; a truck tractor might have a fifth wheel made by Fontaine or Simplex or Silver Eagle or Jost. This is very common in the truck manufacturing industry. Like most truck manufacturers they would often source major components like axles from specialty suppliers like Dana and Spicer and transfer cases from New Process, brakes from Bendix, etc. But most manufacturers do that to some extent, and more so now than ever before. I believe their manual gear boxes for the light duty models were either made in-house or sourced from Borg Warner. But AMC’s “Shift Command” automatics were built by Borg Warner, too, and the “Torque Command” units were Chrysler Torqueflites.

      Like 1
      • Nick8778

        I took another closer look at that A/C and I stand corrected–it is the factory offered bolt-on International unit–you can tell by the oval shaped “International” badge on it that is the same one used on the glove compartment door. I think these might have been a dealer installed item. I doubt there were many trucks that came with them.

        Speaking of the glove compartment–I loved that IH put the fuse box right there in the glove compartment on these trucks–so easy to get to and more convenient than reaching down under the dash.

        Like 1
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Having spent a lot of time with GM and then being involved with International and Ford, you can bet that they all used common components sourced from several places. Ford, GM, Dodge and International all bought from the vast array of suppliers. In the business I’m in right now, I’ve sent clutch kits out for Fords and GMC/Chevys and they bolt right up.

      I remember a customer ordered a pair of GMC 6500 tandem trucks. They both had 427 engines, and 5 x 4 transmissions; 9,000 lb front axles and 34,000 lb rears. They came in at the same time and the VINs were less than 50 apart (kind of surprised they weren’t sequential). They were both painted maroon and they were definitely equipped with 427 engines but–one had a Rockwell steer axle and the other had an Eaton; One had Rockwell rear axles and the other was running Eaton. But had Spicer 4-speed auxilary transmissions but one was running a 385 Clark main while the other was running a Spicer 5000.

      I wasn’t aware that Binder started using AMC six-cylinder engines until 1972 when it could no longer get the 264/265 engine past the emission nazis. The 401 was a real shot in the dark which I never saw in anything but light trucks, and they were rather scarce at that. All the buses I worked on were either 345/392 or 360/466 diesels. The smallest units ran 6.9/7.3 and then the T444E. I don’t think I ever saw a bus with a 404/446…

      • Nick8778

        Given that they stopped producing light trucks after the 1975 model year (talk about the worst possible timing–just as the pickup craze was about to take off like a rocket) and what you say about the old six not being able to meet emissions regs, by ’72 it was probably already in the cards that the light duties were on death row and IHC saw no point in bothering to engineer a new gasoline engine for a truck line that was doomed. That’s probably why they turned to AMC. And AMC was no doubt grateful for the business. International stopped producing any gas engines by the mid-80s and by the time what was left of Harvester became Navistar, all International trucks were diesels. In my FedEx Ground business I had four of them; a 1986 6.9, a 1990 7.3, a 1999 T-444E and a 2001 T-444E. all on the 1652SC (stripped chassis) with walk-in van bodies. All my Internationals were solid reliable trucks.

        Sad to say, Navistar is no longer an independent American-owned company, having become part of Traton (which is part of Volkswagen) last year. Today they produce only one in-house manufactured engine, the A26, which is itself a re-engineered European MAN diesel. The only other choice is Cummins–not that there’s anything wrong with Cummins, but the company management’s ill-fated decision to try to meet the 2009 diesel emissions regs without going to SCR systems very nearly put them out of business. In my mind there is little question that this gigantic mistake seriously damaged what used to be the #1 heavy truck maker in the world and made them ripe for a takeover. I’m sure the people responsible for that decision all were “retired” with generous separation packages. What had been the mighty International Harvester, a company with roots going back to the 1840s and one of the titans of American industry, (long a component of the Dow 30 industrials)– is now “just another truck brand” struggling to compete. Sad.

        Like 1
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        There were a lot of factors that hurt International, and other companies at the same time. This is just my opinion but Binder’s problems started in the 30s. GM, Ford, Cat, John Deere, just to mention a few, really tightened their belts and kept all their assets tight. Companies like IH and Studebaker tried the brave face approach, paying out generous dividends and trying to act like nothing was wrong. John Deere put everything it had back into the company, rebuilding factories and upgrading equipment. When conditions improved, it could go back to work. The 70s were high profits and everyone could sell everything it could produce. IH continued to pay the dividends.

        Enter the 80s and extortionate interest rates. JD had state of the art facilities while IH suddenly realized that it’s facilities dated back to the Titanic and were falling apart. Follow that up with a couple of crippling strikes and you had the proverbial recipe for disaster. International could see the writing on the wall in the early 70s. As far as building new engines was concerned, IH had the technology but could see that diesel was surging ahead. It built totally compliant engines until the EPA came out with regulations that were completely insane. Cat quit in disgust and Cummins almost threw in the towel itself. To this day emission equipment costs more than the engine.

        There’s a real good book: International Trucks, by Patrick Foster. He told the International story very well. I recommend reading it…

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