Midas Package Survivor: 1980 International Scout

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Occasionally, we profile vehicles that blow my mind as to why someone would sell. This Midas-package equipped 1980 International Scout looks like one of those unrepeatable finds that won’t pop up again in one’s lifetime. Still, if the seller gets his number, he’ll have a nice payday given bidding opens up at $20K for this preserved 1980 Scout here on eBay. The Midas package components are in nice shape and the engine is a replacement Nissan turbodiesel. 

International didn’t have a diesel offering small enough for the consumer-friendly Scout trucks, so they sourced a Nissan-built SD33 mill for its high-torque application. Later, they would upgrade this to an SD33T turbodiesel, which is what we see here. The seller says this is a replacement engine, which I don’t know means if it has no miles on it, or simply a lower mileage example of the original engine. Either way, it’s a desirable feature to have and will likely outlast the body around it.

The Midas package was truly the way to go if your Scout was a four-seasons vehicle. Equipped with this wicked cloth pattern and swivel bucket seats, it added a level of luxury you wouldn’t expect to find in a utilitarian vehicle like this. Other Midas-specific equipment included shag carpet, a headliner that matched the upholstery (still intact here), reading lights, tinted windows and woodgrain trim around the instrument binnacle. All of that looks preserved in this example.

The Midas edition Scout II was only offered from 1977 to 1980, and the Nissan turbodiesel was only available in 1980. Put that together and you have a one-year only Scout with features that probably weren’t selected by many consumers. The preserved condition and untouched bodyside graphics seem to indicate the seller’s claims about originality are accurate, and with all of these factors under consideration, the asking price suddenly doesn’t seem so crazy.

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  1. Bill

    THIS is a cool truck! Well worth the investment.

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  2. r spreeman

    I had a 1980 Scout II Turbodiesel. I will never own another diesel vehicle ever, period. ( I know diesels have gotten better but they still run on that nasty smelly diesel fuel. )

    It was a fun truck in a way, very ‘trucky’ and good economy for the day (20mpg no matter what) but it topped out at 74mph after a long run on a level surface. A run of zero to 60, you might want to be wearing a calendar watch. Even with the turbo I think it was only rated 101 hp. On the open road you had to build up to ‘top speed’ if you were heading for an upgrade and didn’t want to end up doing 40mph in 3rd near the top.

    My earlier 80’s Scouts with the V8’s were so much more fun to drive. SO much more. The one with the 345 and the timing gears made the most beautiful music on a cold morning start with that beautiful whirring sound.

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    • Theodoric

      Funny, I have had diesels for years – starting with the venerable Chevy Luv (Mitsubishi), and I love them! The problem nowadays is cost vs benefit, since diesel fuel now costs more than gas.

      I’d love to have this Scout, but the price is a bit high for my budget. Cool truck, though.

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    • WildBill63

      When I looked at/bought my first scout figured the alternator was going out of it. Wasn’t a deal breaker for me and brought it home. Not the alternator!

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    • Pete

      I am with you on the lack of desire on my part to ever own a diesel. I have driven many not ever owned by me so I have a point of reference. I had didn’t know till about 5 years ago what a following the Scouts had. Not quite the jeep or bronco following, but they sure have a dedicated fan base. I always thought they were excellent vehicles, just not in diesel. LOL.

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    • xrotaryguy

      I bet this scout is a lot heavier than the truck this Nissan diesel would normally have powered.

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      • Mark Farragher

        Tow motors, not trucks.

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  3. Red Riley

    Always fun to see one of these end of line Scouts being well preserved. I worked on the assembly line when these were built in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. I could probably still take it apart and reassemble it blindfolded.

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    • Dwight

      I have a 1989 scout turbo Diesel ,
      Desperately trying to find some pistons for the engine..
      Can you help me to locate ?.

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      • geomechs geomechsMember

        I always thought those had the same pistons as the SD22 in the Nissan truck.

        Like 1
  4. alphil

    A friend had a 75′ Scout,loaded,V8 automatic,I loved every aspect of that thing.OTOH,I never been in nor drove a diesel powered manual trans Scout so no comments from “me” about performance.But not long ago,possibly on another auction site,a comment was made to the effect that with some tweaks,the Diesel Scout can be made to perform well even at highway speeds.The opening bid price may be fair,i don’t know,but two things stick out to me.I may be wrong about this,but is that clutch pedal and seat worn more than 83K? Also a repaint,which may or may not be a negative to Scout lovers,but it kinda bothered me.I’d rather end on a positive note.It is rare and beautiful,probably stay that way,and no doubt go up in value?

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    • r spreeman

      I’m not sure how much better that diesel Scout could be made to perform, you had limits of gearing and diesel engine rpm’s and it’s already got a turbo. What’s left to improve it much? I can’t think of anything, and specs indicate 93hp. That’s not much and easily explains the 74mph top speed.

      My V8 Scouts were simply a ton better to drive, though the gas mileage wasn’t great. This diesel in such great shape is still a fine time capsule, though I’ve seen others for far less (with gas engines) I’d much sooner buy.

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      • TriPowerVette

        @r spreeman – good information. Thumbs up.

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    sold 22k

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    • whmracer99

      Yup, didn’t last long.

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    • TriPowerVette

      Lessee… I could have a xtra clean Z06 Corvette AND a same-year Camaro V8 for daily knocking about, ooorrrrrrr… I can have a 20 year OLDER 4X4 diesel truck… Same money. Hmmmm… Tough decision.

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  6. txchief

    They’re a rare truck, and buyers for them are pretty rare too.

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    • TriPowerVette

      @txchief – Apparently not on this particular day. But I agree completely with you. That’s my thumbs up.

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  7. stp

    I realize “survivor” and “original” are terms often used loosely, so not sure if the evidence of repaint around the ID plates disqualify it as such. Still, a nice truck and no apparent rust which, as I understand, virtually makes it a unicorn among Internationals.

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  8. Beemoe

    Looks like it was a solid buy. The Midas editions are very desirable, especially in this market. I picked up a ’76 Traveler this past year. It was wrecked on graduation night by the owner’s son. He bought (purportedly) second to last new tub made to fix it. He worked on it off an on over the next 30 years, but never finished it and it sat in their dry barn all that time. I just need to clear out my other projects to finish what he couldn’t.

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  9. geomechs geomechsMember

    The Nissan diesel wasn’t a bad engine; it lacked power but it could still move the truck, as long as you didn’t get in too much of a hurry. The engine itself was essentially a 6 cyl version of the SD 22 that was in the Nissan pickups. As long as you kept it up to temperature and kept the oil changed there wouldn’t be a lot of problems. I found that the worst problems were with the timing advance unit that was incorporated into the drive gear of the injection pump itself. It would get fouled up by sludge and quit functioning. Consequently you had a mosquito killer that would rival any Big Cam Cummins when cold. The naturally aspirated engines had a combination pneumatic/mechanical governor that was relatively trouble free unless the diaphram blew. The turbo version had a governor on it that could get really touchy. The engine itself, I don’t think you could work it to death; you had to kill it with a stick. Most of those engines (Nissan pickups too) were torn down and rebuilt mostly because of the aforementioned advance mechanism.

    As far as the truck itself is concerned, I wouldn’t mind having one of these. I see that the ad says: SOLD.

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  10. HoA Rube GoldbergMember

    I was intrigued when I saw this, but turned off by the diesel, as well. Not because it wasn’t dependable, just the gas motors, which I’m not fond of either, were just more civilized. Sadly, this was the last year for ANY small IH truck ( the pickup discontinued in 1975) These, as you can see, were very classy trucks. Some say, the 1st real luxury SUV. Toward the end, IH tried several versions of Scouts, but competition from other makers spelled doom for the smaller IH’s, and they concentrated on the heavy-duty market. A rare truck, especially like this for sure, diesel or not.

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  11. XMA0891

    Every time I see an ‘80 Scout I think of my dad. He only bought one new car in my lifetime – A ‘72 Datsun. He was negotiating on an ‘80 Scout but came home one night and announced to the family that we wouldn’t be getting the car because, “the company had gone out of business”. Back to the junkers for the rest of his life.

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    • TriPowerVette

      @XMA0891 – I dunno. As I have said many times on Barn Finds, my brother and I have had practically every one of the desirable muscle cars of the 1960’s and ’70’s. Hemi and Six Pack ‘Cudas and Super Bees (440 & 340 AAR), GS 455 and 400 Stage 1 Buick convertibles, 442 coupes and convertibles, Tri-Power 427’s and 396 Corvettes, ’70-’74 Trans-Ams, ’67 Shelby GT500, ’69 CobraJet Torino, etc… The list is long. They used to be called ‘junkers’, too, back in the day.

      I have NEVER walked into a dealership and driven out with a new car and I am 65 years old. The last new car in my family was a 1968 Impala wagon.

      The world is awash in interesting cars, with more being developed every day. Just because a 383 ‘Cuda is now selling for $40K and more, doesn’t mean the joy is gone. To the contrary; there are ZR-1 Corvettes available for $15,000. There are 200(7-10) Shelby GT500’s for Early-mid $20’s. There are late Hemi Challengers and ZR-1 Camaros (even in convertible) priced very reasonably. Heck, you can get a fire-breathing Viper for early $20’s. All of them will chew up and spit out the best of the old muscle. All the while, with the A/C and DVD player both keeping you cool in different ways.

      I am sorry your your father was so disappointed. But look around and breathe deep. The automotive world has has never offered anything like the selection we have at this moment.

      The old stuff is art, for sure. It is history. It was a damned sight easier to work on than the new stuff. But, the muscle era was a harbinger.

      The time is now.

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  12. JW

    Bought a new 78 Ford F-150 4×4 with the Midas Touch, it was the fanciest 4×4 around our town of 125K. Chicks loved that truck just not me so much at the time. I love the Scouts but would prefer a V8.

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  13. Frank

    I love it and would gladly fork over all the money. Had a 1975 Scout II in college. Don’t remember which V8 it had but gas mileage was not good….8-12 mpg? Lots of rust on it, but I LOVED that truck. Thanks for posting this!

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  14. Pa Tina

    And the passenger seat even waves to you!

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  15. OA5599

    Like the Scout but not the primitive Diesel version…gimme the V8.

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  16. chad

    good find Jeff, & I C U did ur research (unless U R a ‘IH man’).
    Luv that ‘indented box’ tailgate started w/the 80 and carried on. I never figured Y it’s there (strength?).

    Like 0

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